Pol Roger founded his Champagne house in 1849 and is still proudly independent, under family control. it owns 88 hectares of the vineyards on prime sites in the Vallée d’Epernay and on the Côte des Blancs. Its cellars run for 7km and are on three levels, the deepest known as the ‘cave de prise de mousse’ at 33m below street level. As the name suggests this is where the wine undergoes its secondary fermentation in bottle. The fact that this deep cellar is at 9 degrees or less, rather than a normal cellar temperature of 11-12 degrees, prolongs this fermentation and contributes to the quality and particular style of the wines and their famously fine bubbles.
The Pol Roger range starts with three non vintage champagnes (Brut Réserve, Pure and Rich) which are images of the Brut Réserve, the Rich with a slightly higher dosage and the Pure, at the other end of the scale, being sans dosage. Non vintage champagnes are a blend of several vintages (in Pol Roger’s case rarely less than three or four). The advantage offered to this style is that a skilful winemaker can balance the strengths and weakness of individual harvests to create a consistent blend. By contrast Vintage Champagne, the wine of a single year, must rely entirely on the character and relative success of that harvest alone.
Rich NV is a precise replica of Brut Réserve but with an increased dosage of 34 g/l of sugar which makes it the perfect drink fir occassions when something a little less dry is called for.
The nose opens with beguiling hints of beeswax and apricot which are repeated on the palate and reinforced with notes of acacia honey. Despite the sweetness it is remarkably refreshing and the acidity cuts right through the heart of the champagne leaving the palate cleansed. This would be the perfect toast to serve with wedding cake but equally it complements tarts and crumbles.
With the introduction of this Pure Brut non vintage style, Pol Roger sought to craft a wine in its most natural state, without the addition of any sweetening dosage, an achievement which is only possible by blending carefully selected wines drawn from much the same sources as the Brut Réserve.
An expression of the diversity of terriors, this non vintage champagne is born of the perfect balance of the three traditional regional grape varieties, blended in equal proportion. Pol Roger carefully selected reserve wines drawn across at least three years to gain the right balance of flavour and structure necessary for an undosed Champagne.
The result is a champagne which is subtle, light and elegant, with a refreshing taste of minerality. Mid yellow in colour, it has a high toned and aromatically spiced nose, with some elements of crushed apple, revealing good fruit intensity and weight. It is stylish and bright on the palate, with good length and very pure acidity.
Its inherent freshness combined with mature and concentrated bouquet makes it particularily suited to shellfish, crayfish and seafood in general.
Point of Interest: Pol Roger non vintage Champagnes destined for the UK market are aged for a minimum of 3 years in the cellars and have an additional 6 months' post disgorgement ageing.
2000 was a vintage that 'came right' at the last minute , thanks to a fine Indian summer. Contrary to widespread fears, the resultant crop was healthy as well as abundant, and Pol Roger was able to declare the vintage.
Made in only limited quantites this champagne is marked by a very striking Pinot nose, huge ripeness and complexity, with great weight and richness. It has serious backbone with fine length and smoky spiced concentration.
2002 is acknowledged to be a year which has produced some excellent vintage champagnes. A cold, bright winter followed by a warm, wet and windy spring led to early budding. Violent hailstorms in early summer caused isolated vineyard damage but were followed by warm sunshine and vigorous flowering. July and August kept the growers in suspense with rain and thunder and limited outbreaks of botrytis, but ideal conditions set in during September with the wide differences between day and night time temperatures concentrating the sugars in a mature, healthy crop.
Very pretty pale red orange colour with a wild strawberry nose - great underlying vintage capacity. Huge fruit weight and great intensity with spiced pepper notes. Fine length with impressive backbone and long acidity. Very serious indeed.
Although Pol Roger is often recognized for its Pinot Noir dominated vintage champagnes, its 100% Chardonnay is also very highly respected, and the 2000 vintage gained a Coup de Coeur in the Guide Hachette des Vins 2011.
Pale straw shot through with delicate green. Ripe or candied fruit dominates the nose underpinned with a subtle backbone of freshness and minerality. The palate has a warm aspect typical of this vintage where the fruit sits happily alongside notes of vanilla, cinnamon, and marshmallow giving a lovely complexity to the whole. The wine is round and mouth filling with great balance.
Sir Winston Churchill's predilection for Pol Roger was sealed in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, when he met and formed a long lasting friendship with the captivating Odette Pol-Roger, who encapsulated Churchill's romantic vision of France.
For the remainder of his lifetime, Pol Roger was to remain Sir Winston's champagne of choice, supplied to wherever his engagements demanded from what he described as 'the world's most drinkable address', 44 Avenue de Champagne, Epernay. The friendship between the Churchill and Pol-Roger families endures to this day.
Created in tribute to Pol Roger's most illustrious devotee, the Cuvée is appropriately composed of only the best grapes, from only the best vineyard sites to which Pol Roger have access and from only the finest vintage years declared by the House. As Sir Winston Churchill hinself once declared: 'My tastes are simple. I am easily satisfied with the best!'
The precise formula is a family secret, but invariably true to the style that Sir Winston himself preferred: robust, full-flavoured and mature (the Sir Winston Churchill Cuvée is always released later that other Pol Roger vintage champagnes).
Previous vintages have included 1975, 1979, 1982, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1995, 1996 and 1998.
Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill 1999
The composition of the blend is a closely guarded family secret but is dominated by Pinot Noir with the remainder made up from Chardonnay. The grapes are all from Grand Cru vineyards which were under vine during Churchill's lifetime and it is only ever made in the very best vintages. It is made in a style which Churchill himself favoured: robust, mature and long-lived.
1999 was characterised by higher temperatures than the norm and a higher rainfall. The growing season from May until the harvest passed without notable incident and rains that fell during the vendange, which were more than double the avergae, did not prevent the harvest from breaking records. The results were nonetheless exceptional, combining very healthy grapes from an abundant crop with good maturity and an average alcohol level of 9.9 degrees. Intense, yellow gold, sparking with a myriad of fine bubbles - the Pol Roger trademark. The nose is structured, forceful but with subtle mineral notes and hints of lemon white pepper and ginger. Four-sqaure on the palate, mouth filling robust and powerful. Touches of minerality, even saltiness, with balance, stucture and finesse. A long, lingering finish.