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The Ultimate Award:
Seven Stars and Stripes ™

Traveling to the sparkling stars

Champagne is the elixir that is known all over the world as a symbol for taste, luxury and class. American Dream Magazine was invited for a 'dégustation' to one of the leading houses of Champagne, Duval-Leroy.

We traveled through miles of prodigious vineyards, only temporarily interrupted by the picturesque villages of the region called Champagne.

Arriving at Duval-Leroy in Vertus, a charming village nestled in the heart of the Côte des Blancs, we were welcomed by the friendly representatives of Duval-Leroy. We started with a quick visit of the production facilities and cellars.

Our guide explained that creating Duval-Leroy Champagne is a combination of tradition, highest level of quality production and the courage of a modern and entrepreneurial woman, Carol Duval-Leroy:
Duval - Leroy
Carol Duval-Leroy
President of Champagne Duval-Leroy
Carol Duval-Leroy, President of Champagne Duval-Leroy, joined the very select group of women involved in running champagne houses in 1991. After the sudden loss of her husband the same year, she became the company chairwoman before the age of 35.
Carol decided to take on the challenge because Champagne is a personal passion and it is a feminine product, she explained in her own unique charming way.

As we discovered the exclusive manufacturing process from one of the world's finest champagnes we meet Ms. Duval in person while she was observing the production process, optimising every detail to perfection. During our visit Ms. Duval shared with us that she'd dreamed of being a chef and running her own restaurant.

A woman who is leading a famous company is taking charge and keeps close contact with all her team members, which we felt, were almost like a family to her.
For the past 10 years, the modernization of the production process, the development of traditional distribution channels, the increase of product range and expanded exports are all objectives that Carol Duval-Leroy had set for her company. Today her brand's entire image carries the mark of her passion for her profession.
While we were trying to discover the secrets of creating Duval Leroy champagne in all its variations, we learned the importance of the details that separate this world-class Champagne from others.

The subtle balance of three exquisite grape varieties gives the champagne its characteristic. Due to the fact that we were in the Côte de Blancs, a unique area of the Champagne-region where only the world-best Champagne is celebrated, Chardonnay predominates.
Duval - Leroy
Not only the exquisite vines, the sun and the rain each year determine the quality of the grapes but also man humbly takes part in this symbiosis, and his involvement is essential to ensure that the harvest reveals all of its potential.

At Duval-Leroy, more than 35 year round employees manage the vineyard, giving each vine the personal attention and loving care that it needs. At harvest time 350 additional grape pickers join the permanent staff for the major event in every wine grower's calendar.


What is champagne? What is a sparkling wine? All wines that undergo a second fermentation are sparkling wines. The United States never signed the universal wine agreement with regards to labeling.
Caves From January to June the wine is then bottled and at this stage sugar and yeast are added. After the addition of these ingredients, the yeast ferments the sugar in the wine inside the bottles.

This leads to an increase in the volume of alcohol in the juice as it changes to wine and develops carbonic gas, which is called bottle fermentation, creating the bubbles.

Then bottles are stacked horizontally in the cellars where the temperature varies from 9 to 13°C.
Bottles remain lying on lees for several years, with a minimum of 15 months for brut non-vintage and 36 months for vintages. During this period of time, yeast slowly dissipates and wine acquires its bouquet and all its aromatic complexity.

This operation consists of getting all the remaining sediments of the wine into the bottleneck in order to eliminate it. The way of doing it is rather simple; someone must slowly and consistently riddle (or turn) the bottle to position it vertically, on the neck. Manual riddling usually takes 3 weeks whereby automatic riddling will take just one week.

This involves pulling out the original cap together with the remaining sediments. Using a very precise tool that measures temperature, the wine in the bottleneck is frozen, creating an ice cube containing the impurities. Once this ice plug is ejected due to the pressure in the bottle, the wine will then receive the dose of liquor that will determine whether it becomes brut or demi-sec champagne. As a finishing touch the characteristic champagne cork and traditional cork wire can be added.


As we were going so deep into the world of top class Champagne we "woke up" in the middle of our Duval-Leroy Champagne tasting. Guided by Carol Duval-Leroy and her pleasant representatives we tasted the following brands of Champagne:
  • Femme Millésimée
    Freshness and silky taste with aromas of spring and summer. Extremely fine bubbles. Elegant. Our favorite! (76% Chardonnay - 24% Pinot Noir)

  • Paris
    Well-balanced, full flavored and original, with a rich, elegant and sleek long finish. (40% Chardonnay - 60% Pinot Noir)

  • Blanc de Chardonnay Millésimé
    Racy and elegant wine, very fine with a tight finish. (100% Chardonnay)

Cécile Schneid and Carol Duval-Leroy
during the ‘dégustation’
  • Rosé de Saignée
    Supple, round, well structured. Traditional method of winemaking only used by few Champagne houses! (100 % Pinot Noir)
It is important to mention that all of these stars are extraordinary Champagnes with an always-surprising dry and fine taste that enable them to be pared with some of the finest gourmet recipes one can imagine.
In addition, Duval-Leroy continues its tradition together with the American painter LeRoy Neiman who evokes Paris as a symbol of "art de vivre" and luxury painted on each bottle of Champagne "DESIGN PARIS"

American Dream Magazine rates Femme de Champagne with Six Stars and Stripes.
Femme 1990
American Dream Wine ™

Awarded: Champagne Duval-Leroy
Femme 1990

6 Stars & Stripes - Award
Society - Six Stars & Stripes Award

The ultimate Award: Seven Stars and Stripes ™
Champagnes from Duval-Leroy have been awarded dozens of times in the last two years and we are honored to have discovered the "Crème-de-la-Crème" in this beautiful warm-hearted almost cozy, laid back region of France.
Cecil Schneid - European Sales Manager
Cécile Schneid
Sales Manager
We recommend when traveling through this particular region of France to take some time to visit and discover the many estates. It may heighten your passion for wine. Many chateaus with their own pretty vineyards have their own stories to tell.

The history of Duval-Leroy is an extraordinary example where wine making and the spirit of a brave woman have lit the fire in the heart of her exceptional Champagne.

Rolf Staehler - Senior Executive Sales & Marketing
Rolf Staehler
Senior Executive
Sales & Marketing
When we had to leave we felt that the time has been running too fast and we promised each other to come back soon to the

…Heaven of Champagne.

The silkiness and rare elegance of the "FEMME DE CHAMPAGNE" was represented to us at the VAU-Restaurant in Berlin to us in fine European crystal stemware, which supported the golden color and tiny sparkling bubbles of amazing finesse.

We tasted the promise of spring flowering honeysuckle combined with dried fruits and another pleasant roasted aromas as yet unidentified and quite elusive.

On our palates, it felt both very mature and wonderfully fresh, a dichotomy that fits perfectly with a Montauk lobster.
Duval Femme 1990

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Although the above information was accurate at the time of publication, it can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all pertinent information with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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