After studying economic sciences, Richard Leroy settled in Germany where his wife Sophie run a shop selling french products including wine. The future winegrower gave her a hand with the business that went well. Richard though wandered what to do next and therefore could see himself go to Paris to discover tasting clubs. He settled there in 1980 and tasted great wines, foreign wines as well as more modest vintages, all with the same curiosity. Wine tasting became his favourite hobby. He met people, well known winegrower families, mainly from Bourgogne. Those exchanges induced a strong urge to go looking for a domaine to manage. Not easy considering dissuasive prices until he focussed on the “coteaux du Layon”. With the help of a bunch of winegrowers, he dug for information about best local terroirs. Against all expectations he chose plots at Rablay-sur-Layon, just under 3ha spread over 2 spots : the Noëls at Montbenault, 2 hectares on top of the hillside overlooking the Layon and made of shallow and rich rhyolite type volcanic rocks soil. His south exposure and windy situation are a real asset to dry grapes all year round and prevent diseases. And the 0,70 ares “Clos des Rouliers” at the bottom of the hillside with similar type of soil, but less wind. Richard Leroy is aware his terroirs have no reason to be envious of prestigious local appellations. He banned chemicals right from the beginning, the vines are ploughed and manual labour performed by the new-winegrower is colossal. Richard Leroy had in mind to produce sweet wine but was caught up by Sulphur dilemma. Wines with sugar residuals are almost impossible to produce without the use of SO2.
He then tested dry chenin in his garage converted into a winery and had a brainwave ! He selected the best of his vines and year after year his vintages were appreciated. Since 2008, Richard Leroy chose to downgrade his cuvées to wine of France, deliberately coming out of the appellation, tired of endless certification and administrative authorisation conflicts. Three years later and despite himself, the winegrower became the Star of a Etienne Davodeau ‘s cartoon “The Ignorants”. It was a success. He got calls from all over the world from people wanting to buy him wine and congratulate him. A bit overwhelmed at the time, that episode was the chance for thousands of people to discover his work, his philosophy and personality. Richard Leroy’s wines offer the best of their terroir, they express themselves with elegance, minerality, salinity, righteousness but in limited quantity unfortunately. We have here a great winegrower indeed.