Roederer's newly released 2013 Brut Vintage is showing brilliantly, unwinding in the glass with a youthfully reserved but incipiently complex bouquet of crisp yellow orchard fruit, citrus zest, fresh bread and honeycomb. Medium to full-bodied, deep and concentrated, this is a tightly coiled, elegantly muscular Champagne, its layered core of fruit built around an incisive spine of acidity. Seamless and complete, this is an over-performing vintage that puts many prestige cuvées to shame. Built to age, it will reward patience.
Drink 2023 - 2048
William Kelley, Wine Advocate (Mar 2021)
To be launched October 2019. Disgorged January to March 2019. 80% Verzy Pinot Noir. Plus 20% Chardonnay from an east-southeast-facing site in Chouilly. This was the last October harvest and the malic was quite high so they did 25% malo. Lécaillon described this 80:20 as his favourite blend.
Very winning and glamorous. Beautifully balanced. A powerful thread running through it. Creamy texture.
Drink 2018 - 2028
Jancis Robinson, jancisrobinson.com (Jul 2019)
The palate here is very expressive and voluminous. Plenty of pinot-noir, sliced-strawberry flavor. Very rich and round and very assertive, this is so long and complete already. Pink fruit and berries in abundance and a sizzling, mineral finish. Fresh resolve here. Impressive! Drink now or hold.
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (Sep 2019)
About this WINE
Founded in 1776, Louis Roederer is a family-owned, independent Champagne house with a well-deserved reputation for quality. It is managed by Frédéric Rouzaud, the seventh generation to be at the helm.
In 1876, Louis Roederer created the now-famous Cristal at the request of Alexander II. This once intensely sweet wine is now one of the most luscious, deeply flavoured champagnes available, with the '88, '89 and '90 among the greatest Cristals ever released.
Louis Roederer’s best-selling non-vintage blend for almost 40 years, Brut Premier, has recently been replaced by Collection 242. This new multi-vintage blend was created by Chef du Caves Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon in response to increasingly warm vintages. The cuvée aims to capture freshness and is based on a perpetual reserve which focuses on acidity and minerality.
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.
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.