The still wines of Champagnes, vins clairs, very seldom leaves the cellars of Reims. and equally seldom outsiders from the Champagne industry have the opportunity to taste them. Under the guidens of Chef de caves Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon I had the opportunity to go through rhe parts that ends up in the final blend of Brut Premier.
It’s always great to see Jéan-Baptiste Lécaillon. read about mine & Richards visit i April. The tasting took place at Operakällaren in Stockholm & Chef Stefano Catenacci had prepared a biliant lunch to match the Champagnes.
RJ ON LOUIS RODERER Roederer did not get its present name until 1833, but was in existence as far back as 1760 under the name of Dubois Père & Fils. Louis Roederer was a hardworking man who succeeded in selling his Champagne in several important export markets. Roederer’s real ace was, as with Clicquot, the Russian market. Tsar Alexander II wanted a more impressive label to show his guests, and in 1876 he made a special order for the first transparent Cristal bottles, which at that time actually were made of genuine crystal. The wine was stunningly sweet and gave Roederer had some problems with disposal after the Russian revolution, when the firm was stuck with unpaid invoices and stores full of sweet Champagne that no one else wanted. The company recovered in the 1930s, when Camille Olry-Roederer took the helm. She invested the money earned from sales in some exceptional vineyards: in Aÿ, Hautvillers, Cumières, Louvois, Verzy, Verzenay, Vertus, Avize, Cramant, Chouilly, and Le Mesnil. Roederer also owns several well-respected vineyards in other locations: Roederer Estate, Ramos Pinto, Haut-Beauséjour and Château de Pez. Today the firm is the most financially successful in the region, thanks largely to these vineyards, which supply Roederer with some 70 percent of its grapes. The house is now run by Frédéric Rouzaud who works according to the same principles as those applied in past decades. Winemaker is the increadible Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon. All the wines ferment separately, cru by cru, in small steel vats or small barrells, while the reserve wines are stored in large oak barrels. This is said to give the company its special ‘vanilla touch.’
HORIZONTAL BLENDNING OF 2013
- Tank 562 – Reuil – Pinot Meunier – malo
- Tank 403 – Aÿ – Pinot Noir – non-malo
- Tank 117 – Hautvillers – Sous Bois – Pinot Noir – non-malo
- Tank 106 – Verzy – Pinot Noir – non-malo
- Tank 550 – Verzenay – Pinot Noir – non-malo
- Tank 431 – Verzenay – Sous Bois – Pinot Noir – non-malo
- Tank 208 – Avize – Chardonnay – malo
- Tank 159 – Le Mesnil-sûr-Oger – Chardonnay – malo
- Tank 146 – Chouilly – Sous Bois – Chardonnay – malo
- Blended Base Wine – sample of last years blend that will be released in 3-4 years.
VERTICAL BLENDING – 7 samples of réserve-wines
- Assemblage blanc 2012 – Chardonnay – non-malo
- Tank AJ02 – Assemblage noir A12 – malo
- Tank F129 – Cramant 2011 – Chardonnay
- Tank F128 – Mareuil 2010 – Pinot Noir – Sous Bois
- Tank 61 – Verzenay 2009 – Pinot Noir
- Tank 62 -Verzy 2008 – Pinot Noir
- Tank F132 – Cramant 2006 – Chardonnay
- Tank B314 – Final Blend with Base wine from 2010 & reserve wines.
To taste vins clairs are not supposed to be fun or even enjoyable. They are hardly wines you will enjoy drinking with your dinner. They all have their individual characters and is much like the colors on an artist’s palette. The winemaker can blend them into beautiful harmony. A vins clairs wine must have a high acidity, good flavor image and clear structure in my view. But they will vary in their expression depending on origine and which grape used. Chef de caves Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon says that tasting the vins clairs is the most important part of his work at Louis Roederer.
Interestingly reflection; Champagne is fascinating and I enjoy learning its many facets. I am fascinated by the concept of terroir. Terroir – is definitely a term that comes to voice when discussing the great Champagnes like great Burgundies. The term is French and translates roughly to ”the combination of grape variety, location, climate, weather and soil conditions.” We can briefly say ”sense of origin” and the character of the wine to be characterized by growing site. However, this is a term that one can apply on many wines around the world, but what usually separates a good wine from Bourgogne is the centuries-old tradition of producing great wines from classified vineyards.
I certainly understand the attraction of the cellar master’s work like an artist have all these base wines at their disposal. He tries on the basis of its specific style Champagne to paint the same picture over and over again, year after year. Champagne is the core of it all. It has everything one would expect from the wine. It is a wine that makes very little attention to itself. It does not play with it’s muscles to show what it can. Champagne has an elegance and detail that can only be compared with the largest Burgundies. When you have drunk a glass, you always desire for another sip.
Louis Roederer ‘Brut Premier’ (10 base) │62PN8PM30CH│TASTING NOTE ‘Invariably praised, nonvintage Champagne with a high proportion of reserve wines that had been stored in big oak barrels. Four years in the bottle before disgorging only the first pressing is used. For several years, an appley, storable, and decently good nonvintage Champagne. Today, a Cristal-like Champagne with outstanding finesse. Fantastic in magnum.’ RJ 84(91)
A VOYAGE INTO THE ESTATE OF LOUIS ROEDERER
2009 LOUIS ROEDERER ‘BRUT ROSÉ’ │70PN30CH│TASTING NOTE ‘A classical Roederer Rosé with pale colouring, a lovely buttery elegance that is typical of the house, and a substantial portion of strawberries and whipped cream. Refreshing and gorgeously summery with undertones of grapefruit. A wonderfully pleasurable wine for us romantics..’ BJ 90(93)
1996 LOUIS ROEDERER ‘BRUT ROSÉ VINOTHÈQUE – FAMILY COLLECTION’ │70PN30CH│TASTING NOTE ‘This rosé takes the biscuit for paleness! I was served the wine blind and absolutely thought I’d gotten a young Blanc de Noirs in the glass before I felt the house-typical, ultra-elegant bouquet that can only come from Roederer. The entire wine is “white” in its aromas. For the moment, crispy Chardonnay actually dominates with its crackling freshness. When aired you catch a whiff of strawberry and whipped cream. Luxurious and handsome..’ RJ 89(93)
2008 LOUIS ROEDERER ‘BLANC de BLANCS’ │100CH│TASTING NOTE ‘It is easy to be fooled by the wine’s softness and gentle aromatic profile. Far too many of these bottles will be drunk early. A sublime aroma of white lilies, vanilla, lemon pie, coconut and acacia. Pure and elegant with a satiny caress from start to finish.’ RJ 90(94)
1999 LOUIS ROEDERER ‘BLANC de BLANCS VINOTHÈQUE – FAMILY COLLECTION’│100CH│TASTING NOTE ‘Wonderfully generous and developed already with masses of lemon biscuit tones and delectable notes of meringue. At the same time extremely fresh and delightfully caressing. A bull’s eye.. RJ 94(96)
2007 LOUIS ROEDERER ‘BRUT VINTAGE’ │66PN34CH│TASTING NOTE ‘Creamy caramel round and fine. Classic Roederer with slightly more force than usual, perhaps because of the 40% oak. The elegance comes sneaking.’ BJ 90(93)
1997 LOUIS ROEDERER ‘BRUT VINTAGE VINOTHÈQUE – FAMILY COLLECTION’ │62PN8PM30CH│TASTING NOTE ‘Not exactly one of my favourite vintages, but of course a very stylish and delicious wine. This wine feels to me like a distinct continuation of Brut Premier with a dominance of apple aroma and segregated toffee elements as its most distinguishing characteristic.’ RJ 85(88)
2006 LOUIS ROEDERER ‘CRISTAL’ │60PN40CH│TASTING NOTE ‘Just fantastic from the start. A colossal power and beautiful rumbling pinot maturity. It’s like chewing on the ripest grapes from Aÿ and Verzenay. At the same time ultra stylish down all the unmistakable cristal essence, peach and mango sweetness, pineapple coconut, vanilla and unreal sprightly acidity and citrus flowery. Many similarities with 2002, but with a clearer pinot touch.’ RJ 95(97)
2002 LOUIS ROEDERER ‘CRISTAL’ │55PN45CH│TASTING NOTE ‘A slowly evolving magnum that probably should be decanted. I respect however to fully Jean-Baptiste’s fear of losing mousse and choice to open the bottle two hours in advance. Today we know that five hours had been perfect. Initially closed nose with reductive, almost rubbery roast aroma. Glued and tighter fruit than in regular bottling. Incredibly beautiful at the end.’ RJ 95(97)
2006 LOUIS ROEDERER ‘CRISTAL ROSÉ’ │60PN40CH│TASTING NOTE ‘Peel contact from very old Pinot vines at Aÿ! Apart from this leading village one notices Cumières, Verzy and Verzenay as well as Chardonnay from Le Mesnil, Oger and Avize. The dosage with 11 grammes of sugar is stored in oak barrels as usual. An incomparably beautiful Champagne of brilliant attributes—the wine literally radiates aristocratic elegance and seductive charm. The colour borders on white Champagne and the nose has the same unsurpassed complexity as earlier vintages of this magnificent creation. I am immediately utterly lyrical! ‘ RJ 96(97)
mv LOUIS ROEDERER ‘DEMI-SEC’ │62PN8PM30CH│TASTING NOTE ‘Always one of the best sweet champagnes. Richer and more mature than Grand Vin Sec, which is good because the ripe, chocolate Pinot aroma is the only one that has the strength to carry such gruesome amounts of sugar.’ RJ 60(70)
TERRINE OF FOIE GRAS, CHAMPAGNE JELLY & ROSTED BRIOCHE
SEARED SCALLOP FROM FRÖYA, RAVIOLI, BAKED TOMATO & BEURRE BLANC
WHITE ASPARAGUS, HOLLANDAISE, BLEAK ROE FROM KALLIX
ARCTIC CHAR FROM LANDÖ, VEGETABLES & CHAMPAGNE SAUCE
‘SEMIFREDDO’ MADE FROM KIM APPLES, APPLE CREAM, & FUDGE CRISP