It should come as no surprise that Pol Roger have delayed the release of their 2002 Vintage Champagne until 2012, in defiance of all commercial logic and the dictates of cash-flow. The reason is simple; 2002 is the best vintage in Champagne since 1990, a vintage which has not been equalled since and a vintage where the rewards of patience are and will continue to be very fine indeed. The wine was aged for nine years in Pol Roger’s famously deep cellars, kept at a constant 9 degrees, the perfect natural ambiance for gentle autolytic ageing and the nurturing of an exemplary equilibrium and a very fine and persistent mousse.
And as with all great things, fools rush in and the winemakers at Pol Roger, needless to say, are far from foolish. Indeed Cellar master Dominique Petit, formerly of Krug, is regarded as one of the greatest winemakers in the region and he knew from the out-set that the wine would need an unusually long cellaring before release. This, to borrow a phrase from another friend of Pol Roger, is his finest hour, thus far… The blend is a traditional one of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay; after the double-débourbage (cold-settling) the first fermentation is in stainless steel, kept relatively cool. A full malolactic fermentation ensues, followed by the second fermentation in bottle and then the lengthy slumber beneath Avenue de Champagne in Epernay. The bottles are hand – tuned by remueurs, the prestidigitatory efforts of whom ensure the completion of yeast autolysis and ensure a blameless richness and length on the palate.
Simon Field MWPol Roger
Beyond the impressive colour, the 2002 is, quite naturally, still relatively restrained on the nose, with whispers of gunflint, acacia and orchard fruit evidenced; the palate is magnificently poised, with a nascent honied richness deferential to the power and ripeness of the vintage, but very fine stony acidity holding it together in a tight and adamantine structure. The finish is clean and pure, amazingly refreshing for its age, elegantly tapered and very long. Finely poised and full of potential, this really is a great vintage Champagne which will age extremely well.
(Simon Field MW, Berrys' Champagne Buyer)Pol Roger