Engaged with Leroy Chambolle Musigny 2004
I can’t believe I got engaged but here I am. And what wine did I choose to celebrate with it? Leroy, of course, but not just any Leroy. Specifically the 2004 vintage where Marcel Bize (the husband of Lalou Bize-Leroy and then co-owner of Auvenay) died and where she declassified the vineyards into Bourgogne, Vosne Romanee, Chambolle Musigny and Gevrey Chambertin. Romanticists, like myself, like to think that she combined all the wines together because of her grief but truthfully 2004 was not a great vintage marked by pyrazines (from the lady bugs), powdery mildew and hail. Nevertheless, I jumped at the chance to get a bottle after coming across it by chance in Hedonism, London.
Why get the bottle at all then?
Firstly the bottle is near impossible to find, mostly because it was sandwiched between great vintages 2002 and 2005 and before Asia’s enormous appetite for Burgundy began. Therefore, I presume very little were cellared and mostly drunk. Most importantly, it would be the closest I will ever get to Musigny, which the 2015 vintage commands almost $300,000HKD for single bottle — if you can find it that is. Finally for its beautiful story, in which Leroy’s grief was so intense precisely because they had beautiful relationship. From Wine Spectator of their Marcel Bize obituary:
"We never left each other since we met in 1958," said Bize-Leroy, who married the Switzerland-born Bize two years later. "He was un être de lumière, a man of light."
And how wonderful would it be to share the same intensity of their relationship in mine. They were inseparable partners both in business and in love, supported her when no one believed in her after she left DRC. I teared up as I retold the story to my now fiance.
Despite the urging of many friend, I decided to open the bottle up to celebrate us, our new milestone as couple, together as soon as we got the chance after the bottle arrived in Hong Kong. There really is no the perfect place to open a bottle and I (still?) don’t think we should treat wine too preciously.
Gorgeous signature floral bouquet in full bloom immediately upon opening. Truly a Leroy no doubt (though only my second bottle after drinking Leroy NSG 1er Cru Boudots a while back). The palate didn’t take much to open, which was only about an hour later — somewhat of a surprise and a relief considering the type of vineyard mixed into this wine (Chambolle 1er Cru Fremieres and Charmes along with Musigny). The weak vintage made this is an approachable wine that gave lots of delicate violet and dark plum notes with a hint of spice and tobacco. It is surreal in its elegance and effervescence, even with a long mild finish. The bouquet held up strong after opening (2hrs+) and even though it became less noticeable after, the palate stayed complex and lush.