2009 Champagne Pol Roger, Brut
Stephan Reinhardt - 29/06/2018
Anne Krebiehl MW, winemag.com (Dec 2018)
Drink 2017 - 2022
Jancis Robinson, jancisrobinson.com (Dec 2018)
Roger Voss, winemag.com (Jan 2018)
About this WINE
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.
Brut denotes a dry style of Champagne (less than 15 grams per litre). Most Champagne is non-vintage, produced from a blend from different years. The non-vintage blend is always based predominately on wines made from the current harvest, enriched with aged wines (their proportion and age varies by brand) from earlier harvests, which impart an additional level of complexity to the end wine. Champagnes from a single vintage are labelled with the year reference and with the description Millésimé.
Non-vintage Champagnes can improve with short-term ageing (typically two to three years), while vintages can develop over much longer periods (five to 30 years). The most exquisite and often top-priced expression of a house’s style is referred to as Prestige Cuvée. Famous examples include Louis Roederer's Cristal, Moët & Chandon's Dom Pérignon, and Pol Roger's Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill.
Recommended Producers : Krug, Billecart Salmon, Pol Roger, Bollinger, Salon, Gosset, Pierre Péters, Ruinart
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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The 2009 Brut Vintage blends 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay from 20 grand and premier cru villages in the Montagne de Reims and the Cte des Blancs. Fermented in stainless steel with each variety and each village kept separate and malolactic completed, the 2009 aged eight years in the cellars before being hand-riddled and disgorged. Disgorged in October 2017 and tasted in June 2018, the 2009 shows an intense, concentrated, pretty vinous and profound bouquet of ripe fruit, chalk, brioche and nutty/almond notes. Full-bodied and rich but fresh and even refined on the palate, this is a very elegant, round, charming yet well-structured and vinous Vintage Brut with a clear, fresh, structured and remarkably persistent finish. It drinks already very well today, but its aging potential is most probably stunning.
Stephan Reinhardt - 29/06/2018
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