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1921 Pol Roger ’Brut’ – dégorgement ’77 24 augusti 2015

Some days I love my profession more than other days! I just got offered a bottle of 1921 Pol Roger ’Brut’ (Disgorged 1977) …

(mer…)

champagne spring trip – day 2 – Pol Roger 1 maj 2014

Bus left and took us to Winston Churchill´s favorite Champagne Pol Roger. we had a visit and lunch at Champagne Pol Roger with president Laurent D´Harcourt and some amazing rarities.

10 Downing Street

RJ ON POL ROGER The foremost ambassador for Champagne, Christian Pol-Roger, has unfortunately retired from the scene. Nowadays the firm is run by Christian de Billy’s son Hubert. He was very doubtful for a long time as to whether or not he should dedicate his life to the family firm, but feels completely at peace now that the choice has finally been made. Winston Churchill’s favourite domain was established in 1849 by Pol Roger, who was succeeded by his sons, Maurice and Georges.

At the turn of the century the Roger family changed its name to Pol-Roger. Maurice was the mayor of Épernay during the week-long occupation of the town by the Germans in September 1914. Despite German threats to shoot him and burn down the town, he remained defiant and was later hailed almost as a saint in the town. He was voted honorary mayor for life. England has always been the main export market for Pol Roger, and when the wartime prime minister Sir Winston Churchill died the label of the Champagne was black-edged in memory. After a suitable period of mourning, the 1975 Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill was launched, in magnums only. The wine is made in a style they believe Sir Winston would have appreciated. His favorite vintages were 1928, 1934, and 1947.

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TODAY Nowadays the firm owns eighty-five hectares of vineyards, most of them close to Épernay: Mardeuil, Chouilly, Pierry, Moussy, Chavot, Cuis, Cramant, and Grauves. They meet 45 per cent of the firm’s needs, and the rest is taken from Pinot villages to give the wine backbone. Pol Roger’s vinification is quite normal, which leads me to the conclusion that the secret lies in the quality of the grapes and, above all, in the skill in assembling the cuvées. The wines are medium-bodied, with a lovely fruit balance and perfect dosage. The mousse is exemplary, with smaller bubbles than usual because of a cellar temperature half a degreee below the average.

Pol Roger had more wines and more older wines in the Millennium Tasting than almost any other Champagne domain, which is completely natural because Pol Roger’s champagnes are extremely high class and are so long-lived. They are normally most famous for their Pinot-dominated cuvées today made by Dominique Petit, but at Villa Pauli they were rewarded for the best blanc de blancs ever made, with their powerful 1959. My only 100-pointer is a blanc de blancs from Pol Roger. I love the entire range of the firm’s products, from the regular non-vintage all the way to the Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill, and I guarantee you that every sound bottle you drink will impart a life-enhancing experience of pure joy. Just at present the best bargain is the 2000 Blanc de Chardonnay if you can wait at least two more years after release. The wines from the 2002 vintage are destined for the cellar.

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APÉRITIF IN THE GARDEN  | 2004 POL ROGER ’BLANC de BLANCS’ | Epernay | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJ 87(92)

TASTING NOTE It’s a bit early to predict whether this will be a bestseller or just a very nice Champagne. Anyway, we again have to do with a classic Pol Roger Blanc de Blancs with strong mineral character and lemon overtones. The roundness verify that we have to wait for a while.

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1988 POL ROGER ’BLANC de CHARDONNAY’ | Epernay | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJ 94(96)

TASTING NOTE This label is very consistent through the years. Already from the start, the ’88 was charming, and distinguished with a faint note of citrus and a soft aftertaste. Delightfully complex bouquet, with a nutty tone and classic purity developed in the beginning of the twenty-first century and by 2003 the wine had broken all barriers. Now it’s sensationally voluptuous and rich, with a Comtes-like exotic mint-toffee sweetness and layers of butter toffee and fat Chardonnay.

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1999 POL ROGER ’CUVÉE SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL VINOTHÈQUE’ by magnum | Epernay | Champagne | France | secret blend | RJ 91(93)

TASTING NOTE Young and immature directly after degorgement. A bit closed at that time, but nothing that makes me think of anything but a very good future. As I expected early, harmony appered when I tasted it again at the beginning of 2012. Very nice on jeroboam and magnum.

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1993 POL ROGER ’MILLÉSIME VINOTHÈQUE’ by magnum | Epernay | Champagne | France | 60PN 40CH | RJ 92(92)

TASTING NOTE A wine that was surprisingly similar to the fruity and charming nonvintage Champagne when it was released on the market. In a very short time the character has gained depth—we are already dealing with a classic but as-yet light and rapidly maturing Pol Roger. To be drunk in great, refreshing gulps. Because the house-style is intact, it will surely mature handsomely. No great depth, but still a good piece of work.

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1996 POL ROGER ’ROSÉ VINOTHÈQUE’ | Epernay | Champagne | France | 65PN 35CH | RJ 92(96)

TASTING NOTE This issue of this wine follows the trend of recent years’ rosé wines, which is somewhat lighter, more floral and simultaneously creamier than previous vintages. Gorgeously, romantically summery just at present.

Pol Roger

2006 POL ROGER ’ROSÉ’ | Epernay | Champagne | France | 65PN 35CH | RJ 84(87)

TASTING NOTE Clearly better than the alarming weakness in 2004. Pure fine fruit, but still somewhat neutral in style and now the rosé from PR is always the only vintage wine from Pol Roger, I do not acquire my own winecellar.

15 champagne lovers | 6 champagnes | 5 vintages | 75 glasses | 4 dishes

 

champagne spring trip – day 2 – Diebolt-Vallois 29 april 2014

The bus left from Hotel L’Assiette Champenoise for Champagne Diebolt-Vallois @ 84 rue Neuve in Cramant. A huge tasting of Fleur de Passion and vintages down to 1953 Vinothèque conducted by Jacques Diebolt himself.

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RJ ON DIEBOLT Jacques Diebolt and his family are some of the nicest people I’ve met in Champagne, and the fact that they produce Chardonnay wines of world class doesn’t hurt either. Several producers in the village make supremely enjoyable Champagnes, but personally I think Diebolt gives the cru another dimension, especially with those wines that haven’t gone through malolactic fermentation, and which were harvested from the sixty-five-year-old vines in Les Pimonts or Les Buzons. There is a thought-provoking depth reminiscent of Le Mesnil, combined with Cramant’s creamy structure. Unfortunately, the demand for Diebolt’s wines is so great that they are forced to sell the Champagne far too early. Diebolt was an unknown name before the firm was awarded Champagne Producer of the Year in 1992 by the magazine Gault Millau, but since then the connoisseurs of the world have fought over their bottles.

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RJ ON FLEUR de PASSION Jacques’s most recent inventions are Fleur de Passion some of the foremost young Champagnes I have tasted, and the ’53 and ’61 are already legendary. Terribly close to five stars because everything Diebolt does is perfect in its way. 2002 Fleur de Passion will become a legend.

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2008 DIEBOLT-VALLOIS ‘FLEUR de PASSION’ | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJ 92(96)

TASTING NOTE Pre-release-tasting. Despite its extreme youth a great wine today full of beautiful pear-dominated fruit and delightful oak-oriented Montrachet tones.

2007 DIEBOLT-VALLOIS ‘FLEUR de PASSION’ | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJ 92(96)

TASTING NOTE Pre-release-tasting. Pre-release-tasting. Slightly more rustic and today it feels more oaky than normal at this stage. Here are some nice acidity and one for the vintage impressive richness of extract, but the balance is not what would be expected.

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2006 DIEBOLT-VALLOIS ‘FLEUR de PASSION’ | magnum | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJ 90(94)

TASTING NOTE Considerably weaker oak influence than usual. Throughout the entire experience is a steel like purity and a delicate youthful aroma of yellow plum and yellow apples. Beneath the surface lurks a depth of vanilla and spices . Certainly this enjoyable, but given how rare these bottles are, they should be stored at least five years after the launch to convert the volatile floral unit to classical nuttiness. 

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2005 DIEBOLT-VALLOIS ‘FLEUR de PASSION’  | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJ 88(93)

TASTING NOTE Naturally a very difficult wine to assess when we kidnapped it on its third birthday. The structure and the rich, fluffy fruitiness make me convinced that this essence-like wine is going to be wonderful. Rich and fresh. Slow development for being a 2005.

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2004 DIEBOLT-VALLOIS ‘FLEUR de PASSION’  | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJ 92(93)

TASTING NOTE Young and graceful with chiselled elegance and floral beauty. Some oakiness starting to emerge. Suddenly grand and a year later rocky and mineral salty.

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2002 DIEBOLT-VALLOIS ‘FLEUR de PASSION’ | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJ 94(96)

TASTING NOTE Extremely young and floral with a massive oakiness and great seriousness at present. Tough acidic. Beautiful roundness started to develop summer 2010. Later more toasty, almost pinot-like smokiness.

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1979 GUY VALLOIS ‘BLANC de BLANCS CUIS’  | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJ 90(90)

TASTING NOTE  Disgorged Dec10th’04. One of the vintages that Jacques has bought from Guy Vallois—in other words, a pure Cuis disgorged by Diebolt during 2003 and dosed with three grams of sugar. Up until now, the wine has behaved completely differently on the occasions I have tasted it. The first time, elegance and floweriness were the focus and the points were way over 90. The second time, the Champagne was unattractive and slightly clumsy, with certain coarse mature notes, despite a medium-deep color and good mousse. The trilogy of ’85, ’79, and ’76 is fascinating because the wines are still undisgorged and they truly allow the taster to see how individual bottles develop after this much contact with the yeast residue.

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1976 GUY VALLOIS ‘BLANC de BLANCS CUIS’ | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJ 93(93)

TASTING NOTE  Disgorged Jun17th’05. This is a great wine that comes from Guy Vallois in Cuis, but which has been disgorged and dosed by Jacques Diebolt and thus carries his name—that’s how strange the laws in Champagne are. The wine is deliciously butterscotchy and exotically rich with tons of browned butter and créme-brûlée tones. Big and impressive, as you would expect from this warm year. In regular bottle a bit up and down but in magnums really great and consistent.

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One of our members catched the cork with …. This bottles was disgorged à la Volée. But as You can see it went wrong … 

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1961 DIEBOLT- VALLOIS ‘VINOTHÈQUE’ | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJ 97(97)

TASTING NOTE I’ve been present several times when a producer has opened a new bottle of the same vintage because he wasn’t satisfied with the first. Jacques, on the other hand, is the only one I know who opens a new bottle in order to show how bad the wine can be! At its best the ’61 has a fantastic, almost Pinot-like nose of truffles, decaying autumn leaves, barrels, and boiled vegetables, while the other he opened was more like mushroom soup. The structure was impressive in both, however.

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1953 DIEBOLT- VALLOIS ‘VINOTHÈQUE’ | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJ 96(96)

TASTING NOTE This bottles was disgorged à la Volée. One of the best Champagnes I have tasted. Drunk newly disgorged, undosed, in Diebolt’s cellar. The wine was made in oak barrels without malolactic fermentation. The color was brilliantly, beautifully golden. The bubbles continued to wind their way up the glass two hours after the wine was poured. The nose was given the maximum numbers of points! The entire wine was like a grand symphony by Sibelius—full of sadness, joy, nature, and romance. The freshness and playful ease, combined with the wine’s length, were exceptional, but the nose’s complexity was probably the most impressive part of the Champagne: coffee, treacle, bergamot oil, brioche, walnuts, limes, and passion fruit were the clearest aromas. A disappointment at the Millennium Tasting. Large bottle variation.

15 champagne lovers | 10 champagnes | 10 vintages | 150 glasses