Marie-Noelle Ledru is known to passionate Champagne lovers as a vigneron who creates wines with true soul - and is sadly disappearing from the landscape rapidly, having had two thirds of her vineyard sold out from under her by her sisters in 2010, and now quietly retired from commercial wine production. Ledru never made a great deal of wine from her home in Ambonnay, nor was it propelled to great notoriety as those who fell in love with it kept the name close to the chest selfishly, wanting the bottles to never find an undeserving home.
In Ambonnay, Pinot Noir is king, being one of the finest Grand Cru villages for the grape. Known as a perfectionist, in 1984 Marie-Noelle took the helm of the family estate that existed as far back as 1946. Once consisting of five hectares - most in Ambonnay, with one hectare in Bouzy - Ledru always farmed organically, paying close attention to her vines’ health. In the cellar, the wines were hardly interfered with: allowed to ferment with native yeasts in enamel-lined tanks, they went through Malo-lactic naturally. She ages her wines on their lees for a minimum of three years, while for the vintage cuvées she allows about five years’ lees aging. She disgorges everything by hand, and usually utilizes very little dosage.
Sadly, about half her production was sold to negoce houses like Pol Roger, so even when a larger amount of wine was made, very little of it escaped France. Treasure these.
All rarities, there are several different labels to have left the house over the decades. Most commonly seen are the Brut. Extra Brut and Brut Nature (black and gold label), exactly the same wine but released with different dosage levels. Generally 85% Pinot Noir with 15% Chardonnay, all Grand Cru fruit. Next is the Millesime (tan label with single vintage denoted), a single vintage from Ambonnay, mostly Pinot Noir with a splash of Chardonnay, only made in the finest vintages. Cuvée Goulte is the Tête de cuvée here, only made in the very best vintages, and of 100% Ambonnay Pinot Noir. While often not as rich as her other wines, it is ethereal, lifted, elegant.
Other extreme rarities include two different rosé wines - a saignée and an assemblage version, as well as a demi-sec. Run, don't walk away with these!