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Ledru Extra Brut: Grower Champagne Value

Posted by Joe Salamone on April 12, 2010

"Some of the best wines in Ambonnay." -Peter Liem
Marie-Noëlle Ledru Extra Brut
Thrilling Grower Champagne

Andrew Jefford begins the Champagne chapter of The New France with this oft-quoted sentence, "Champagne is on the verge of profound change."

In recent years, this change has been most apparent with the rise of the grower Champagnes. If you've been reading our emails, you know the biggest names: Anselme Selosse, Vouette et Sorbée, Cedric Bouchard, Prevost, Vilmart and Lassaigne.

Today, we offer one of our most exciting discoveries of 2009: Marie-Noëlle Ledru and her Extra Brut. We're elated to have finally secured enough of this limited wine to do an email offer.

If it wasn't for their super limited quantities, Ledru's wines would undoubtedly be better known. They are simply superb expressions of Champagne. Peter Liem, none other than the Champagne guru, writes, "Marie-Noëlle Ledru’s tiny, perfectionist grower-estate is known only to a handful of Champagne connoisseurs, yet today she is making some of the best wines in Ambonnay."

But beyond value, this is just fantastic, life-affirming fizz. Extra Brut is Ledru's non-dosage NV cuvee that is composed of a blend of 85% Pinot and 15% Chardonnay - this particular rendition has 50% of the stunning 02 vintage as the base wine. Working without a dosage is no small feat in Champagne's northern precincts. The results, when not expertly handled, can be a tooth-chattering austerity.

Ledru absolutely nails the category, delivering something pristine with a resonating medley of red fruits and textured and refined minerals.

What's startling for a non-dosage Champagne is how the fruits come across as so ripe that the wine feels perfectly calibrated, even without the balancing sugar solution that's often used in this northern region. Part of the secret must lie in Ledru's meticulous vineyard work: She farms nearly all organically and her vines average 40 years of age (about twice the average for the region), which helps to reduce yields, thereby producing riper fruit.

There is a vividness of fruit and clarity of expression that's exceedingly rare and must be at least partially attributed to its being without dosage. Ripe lemon and orchard fruits offer a backdrop for the flamboyant red fruits. The palate displays a regal, tightly coiled energy with polished chalk and hints of smoke.

To call Marie-Noëlle small is a major understatement. She owns a scant six hectares (five in Ambonnay and one in Bouzy), but this figure is deceptive because she sells half of this off to large Champagne houses. What's left is essentially three hectares. To put this in context, this is half the size of Burgundy's Grand Cru La Tâche vineyard, and for Ledru this is spread over seven different wines! And when we speak of the best of Ambonnay, we're speaking of the best of Champagne. To quote Terry Theise, another keen intelligence on Champagne, "There’s a consensus among fizz-heads that the 'top-5' Grand Crus are Aÿ, Ambonnay, Verzenay, Cramant and Mesnil."

Though a tiny amount of Bouzy juice finds its way into the cuvee, the Extra Brut is Ambonnay through and through with its dense, perfumed strawberry and raspberry fruit and its sleekly elegant chalky texture.

While Ledru's Extra Brut is absolutely captivating to have on its own, one shouldn't neglect how it excels at the table: Rich fish dishes and younger goat cheeses (Capriole's Wabash Cannonball is a current favorite) pair phenomenally well.

Ledru offers the unique opportunity to engage with some of the most lovingly made Champagne around - each bottle is even hand disgorged! This commitment shows in the individual expression and sheer quality of the wine. We can't recommend this wine enough.

Please email us at or call the store at (212) 980-9463 to place your order.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits

NV Marie-Noëlle Ledru Extra Brut

Ledru is pre-arrival
NET | No further discount

In stock: Wines that we have in our warehouse or 57th Street Store. While our inventory is 'real-time' and we do our best to provide accurate information, please understand that mistakes can and do occur. The best way to confirm a wine's specific availability is to call the store +1 (212) 980-9463 and ask to speak to a sales representative. Exact quantities, when provided should be used as a general guideline and may vary +/- 1 bottle.

Out of stock: Wines that we have sold out of, but that we may able to re-acquire to fill your order. Please note that you may place an order for an out of stock wine and we will try to obtain it for you at the advertised price. While we will obtain a CC authorization, your Card will not be charged until we have confirmed a wine's availability.

Pre-Arrival: Wine we have purchased that is on its way to us. Due to a number of factors, transportation times vary. If an arrival date is not specified, please call +1(212) 980-9463 for an approximate delivery timeframe.
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