1999 Pol Roger, Sir Winston Churchill

1999 Pol Roger, Sir Winston Churchill

Product: 19998007892
Prices start from £1,700.00 per case Buying options
1999 Pol Roger, Sir Winston Churchill

Description

Toasted gingerbread, stone fruit and a hint of smoke on the nose. Broad and rich on the palate. This is another great example of Pol Roger at their finest. Drinking beautifully now, this would make a decadent treat with fish and chips!


A serendipitous luncheon with his soon-to-be muse Odette Pol Roger, proved to be the start of a very happy relationship between Churchill and the famous Champagne House, a relationship now in its twelfth vinous commemoration with the launch of the 1999 Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill, a wine made only in very special years. Challenging is perhaps an equally appropriate epithet for 1999, some untimely rain in September taking the edge off what hitherto looked set to be an excellent vintage, which has had to settle for recognition as merely a very good one. Very good indeed, in point of fact for the Pinot Noir, which dominates this blend, outweighing the Chardonnay by a factor of three to one.

1999 was the first vintage vinified by Dominique Petit, formerly of Krug, and perhaps it is not entirely whimsical to detect a trace of the Krug power and concentration here. But above and beyond that of course is the supreme elegance and harmony for which Pol Roger is famous, the wine demonstrating an almost baletic elegance on the tongue to belie its ten years of cellaring.

The mousse is generous and the fruit is both pure and powerful, backed up by a subtle minerality and gentle hints of ginger and spice. A long finish presages ageing potential until 2018. All in all a very worthy wine to celebrate the 150th anniversary of this great House.
Simon Field MW, Champagne Buyer
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About this WINE

Pol Roger

Pol Roger

Pol Roger is perhaps best known as Winston Churchill's favourite Champagne. The house remains family-owned and has a reputation for producing champagnes of finesse and elegance which age very well. Pol Roger Brut Rèserve Non-Vintage, made from equal parts of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, is consistently one of the very best on the market, largely due to the high proportion of aged reserve wines in the blend.

Pol Roger vintage wines, made from at least 60% Pinot Noir and up to 40% Chardonnay, are soft and fruit-driven in youth but, after ten years or so, develop great complexity and finesse. The Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill, launched in 1984 and made from a secret blend, is a Champagne of exquisite finesse and balance and one that rivals the very best of the region.

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Champagne

Champagne

Our wine buyers leave no stone unturned in their quest to find the best Champagnes, and Berry Bros. & Rudd takes particular pride in its eclectic range of artisan Champagnes that represent a real sense of terroir, original winemaking, labour-intensive viticulture (often organic/biodynamic) and the uncompromising excellence of the end product.

Grand Marques Artisan Champagnes
 Ayala Perrier Jouët Alfred Gratien Lancelot-Pienne
 Billecart-Salmon, Pol Roger Bonnaire Lahaye
 Bollinger Pommery Cédric Bouchard R&L Legras
 Dom Perignon Louis Roederer Gaston Chiquet Marguet
 Krug Ruinart Guy Larmandier Paul Bara
 Lanson Salon Eric Rodez Pierre Péters
 Laurent-Perrier Taittinger Janisson Baradon René Geoffroy
 Moët & Chandon Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Jacquesson Vergnon
    Larmandier-Bernier Vilmart & Cie


How Champagne is made 

In 1668, in the village of Hautvillers, the monk turned cellar master, Dom Pérignon, is said to have discovered how to make sparkling wine; while the same technique is used all over the world today, the region of Champagne continues to make some of the finest.

So what makes wine sparkle? Adding a solution of sugar and yeast to a white wine starts another fermentation in the bottle which results in the bubbles. Once the yeasts have done their job, a sediment known as ‘lees’ collects on the side of the bottle; contact with this deposit during maturation gives the wine its characteristic flavours of freshly-baked bread, toast and biscuit. Once this sediment is isolated (remuage) and removed (dégorgement), the Champagne is topped up with a sugar solution to make it dry or sweet

The Champagne Wine Region

Champagne is the most northerly wine region in France and is situated north-east of Paris. There are three main vineyard areas: Côte des Blancs, Vallée de la Marne and Montagne de Reims.
 
Ripeness of the grapes is often a problem, which is one reason why a blend of grape varieties is usually used: the white Chardonnay to give fruit and elegance, and two reds – Pinot Noir (particularly to provide a ‘backbone’) and Pinot Meunier.

In Champagne there are around 15,000 growers and 290 Champagne houses. Traditionally, growers have sold their grapes to the Champagne houses which account for 70 percent of production and 90 percent of exports. Recently, increasing numbers of growers are making growers’ Champagnes themselves, using their own grapes.
 
The Champagne houses used to be organized into a Syndicat des Grandes Marques, which had 28 members, not all of them of equal quality. That has now been superseded by the Club des Grandes Marques, with 24 participants: Ayala, Billecart-Salmon, Bollinger, Canard- Duchêne, Deutz, Dom Pérignon, Heidsieck & Co. Monopole, Henriot, Krug, Lanson, Laurent-Perrier, Moët & Chandon, G.H. Mumm, Perrier Jouët, Joseph Perrier, Piper-Heidsieck, Pol Roger, Pommery, Ch. & A Prieur, Louis Roederer, Ruinart, Salon, Taittinger, Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin.
 
Champagne Styles

Vintage Champagne
Made exclusively from grapes grown in a single year, this is produced only in the best years, and is released at about six years of age.
 
Non-Vintage Champagne
Most of the Champagne produced today is Non-Vintage, comprising the blended product of grapes from multiple vintages. Typically grapes from a single-year vintage will form the base of the blend, ranging from 15 percent to up to 40 percent.

Rosé Champagne
Typically light in colour, rosé Champagne is produced either by leaving the clear juice of black grapes to macerate on its skins for a brief time (known as saigneé), or by adding a small amount of Pinot Noir red wine to the sparkling wine cuvée. The saigneé method is more elaborate and costly, requiring highly-skilled winemaking, hence only a few houses still use it – among them Laurent Perrier and Louis Roederer.

Luxury (Prestige) Cuvée
Top of the range, this is vintage-dated. Famous examples include Louis Roederer's Cristal, Laurent-Perrier's Grand Siècle, Moët & Chandon's Dom Pérignon, Duval-Leroy's Cuvée Femme and Pol Roger's Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill.

Demi-Sec (Rich) Champagne
Demi-Sec or Rich is a medium-dry to medium-sweet style which occupies the other end of the spectrum from the standard dry "Brut" style. Brut Natural or Brut Zéro contains less than three grams of sugar per litre, Extra Brut has less than six grams of sugar per litre, and Brut less than 12 grams of sugar per litre. 

Recently Disgorged Champagne
R.D. (Recently Disgorged) style was introduced for the first time by Madame Bollinger in 1961, on the 1952 Bollinger Grande Année vintage. Late disgorgement allows the Champagne to retain its freshness, vivacity and fruity expression, despite the ageing.

Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Blanc de Blancs denotes a Champagne made exclusively from Chardonnay grapes.

Blanc de Noirs Champagne
Blanc de Noir Champagnes are made exclusively from black grapes, Pinot Noir (typically) and Pinot Meunier grapes. Bollinger's prestige cuvée Vieilles Vignes Françaises is the lead example.

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Champagne Blend

Champagne Blend

Which grapes are included in the blend, and their proportion, is one of the key factors determining the style of most Champagnes. Three grapes are used - Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier.

26% of vineyards in Champagne are planted with Chardonnay and it performs best on the Côtes des Blancs and on the chalk slopes south of Epernay. It is relatively simple to grow, although it buds early and thus is susceptible to spring frosts. It produces lighter, fresher wines than those from Burgundy and gives finesse, fruit and elegance to the final blend. It is the sole grape in Blancs de Blancs, which are some of the richest long-lived Champagnes produced.

Pinot Noir accounts for nearly 40% of the plantings in Champagne and lies at the heart of most blends - it gives Champagne its body, structure, strength and grip. It is planted across Champagne and particularly so in the southern Aube district.

The final component is Pinot Meunier and this constitutes nearly 35% of the plantings. Its durability and resistance to spring frosts make the Marne Valley, a notorious frost pocket, its natural home. It ripens well in poor years and produces a soft, fruity style of wine that is ideal for blending with the more assertive flavours of Pinot Noir. Producers allege that Pinot Meunier lacks ageing potential, but this does not deter Krug from including around 15% of it in their final blends.


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Reviews

Customer reviews

Wine Advocate94/100
jancisrobinson.com
Will Lyons

Critic reviews

Wine Advocate94/100
The 1999 Brut Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill, from magnum, is wonderfully rich and expansive, proving yet again just how well suited the big bottle is to Champagne. Smoke, peaches, mint and flowers are just some of the nuances that flow from this textured kaleidoscopic Champagne. The wine continues to gain focus and breadth through to the enticing, brilliant finish. Disgorged July, 2009. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2030.
Antonio Galloni - 23/12/2010 Read more
jancisrobinson.com
This was made in the 150th anniversary of Pol Roger and represents a fine celebration. Very firm and dense, probably best kept for a few months (I tasted it on release in the UK). That said, the haunting nose filled the room as soon as the cork was popped. Solid food wine. I honestly think it would be wasted poured at a busy reception; it needs some contemplation. Still quite chewy on the finish. Very persistent. All Grand Cru vineyards that were under vine during Winnie's lifetime. Very much Pinot-dominant. Supposedly only 1,200 bottles made. Almost a champagne to have with a cigar, appropriately enough. This was the first vintage of their de luxe champagne made by the new team at Pol Roger.
Jancis Robinson MW, jancisrobinson.com - Feb 2010 Read more
Will Lyons
A serious, grand Champagne that deserves to be savored. I have tasted this golden wine with a bright, white mousse several times and am always surprised by its bite and power. With layers of complexity, it has mature, spicy notes and a long, concentrated finish.
Berry Bros. & Rudd wines featured in The Wall Street Journal by Will Lyons - 21 June 2013

Will Lyons writes a weekly column for The Wall Street Journal. His humorous, informed, down-to-earth writing has been recognized in both the Glenfiddich and Roederer wine writing Awards. He began his career in London, as a wine merchant in St. James’s where he developed a love for the classic wines of Europe. He has written for a variety of publications including The Scotsman, Reader’s Digest, The Spectator and Decanter. Read more