Champagne NV Brut Premier
Type Sparkling Vintage Region Champagne Producer Louis Roederer Wine Advocate 90 Wine Spectator 92 Available: 30
Just the right amount of reduction here, holding lemon, white peach, wild cherries and more savory notes of spice and grilled nuts really fresh. The palate delivers punchy impact with impressive build and a nicely honed textural thread. Acidity, as ever, is paramount. Drink now. - James Suckling
Louis Roederer was founded in 1776, although its rise to fame was inspired under Louis Roederer himself from 1832 until 1870, when it began to be exported around the world. It was in 1876 that his successor, Louis Roederer II introduced the iconic "Cristal" cuvée for Tsar Alexander II, which began a fruitful relationship that resulted in Tsar Nicholas II ordaining Louis Roederer as official champagne suppliers to the Russian Imperial Court. In order to distinguish the champagne from others, Roederer commissioned a Flemish glassmaker to design a unique bottle with a flat bottom.
Louis Roederer has always striven to maintain a degree of independence by ensuring that at least two-thirds of the fruit is sourced from its own vineyards. Today, 200-hectares are under vine, including 65 hectares in the Côte de Blancs (mostly Chardonnay), 60 hectares in the Montagne de Reims (Pinot Noir) and 75 hectares in the Vallée de Marne (again, Pinot Noir).
Each parcel of vines is vinified separately in either 240 small stainless-steel tanks or a few wooden tuns, in order to maintain the nuances and characteristics of each terroir. After the first fermentation, Rouzard and his team taste and assess each one to select which has the qualities for Cristal, Vintage or Brut Premier. The specially selected "Reserve" wines are aged in 150 French oak vats for 2 to 6-years, in order to enhance and heighten their complexity and subtleties. Like Gosset, they prefer not to incorporate malolactic fermentation in order to maintain freshness, that green, apply character.
Blending is of course, a crucial stage since it is vital to maintain the style of each cuvée. The Brut Premier is blended from four vintages, three of them reserve, Vintage naturally from a single year and Cristal only in exceptional years from the most prestigious vineyards. After blending, the liqueur de tirage is added to the bottles, which are stacked horizontally sur lattes for the development of the mousse to take place. There is then a long period of maturation on the lees to enhance both stability and complexity: three and a half years for the Brut Premier and six to seven years for Cristal. Riddling is fairly orthodox, as is disgorgement, after which the liqueur de dosage is added (a blend of reserve wines and cane sugar) its amount dependant upon which cuvée it is being used for. Cristal is bottled in its famed clear, rather than green glass, wrapped in its yellow cellophane to protect it from the light.
Cristal is a blend of 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay, aged for five years on the lees plus another six months after disgorgement. The liqueur de dosage is about 11-12gms per litre. The Blanc de Blancs is of course, entirely made from Chardonnay and undergoes 4 years lees ageing, as does the Brut Vintage which is usually a blend of 66% Pinot Noir and 34% Chardonnay. The Brut Premier undergoes 3-years of lees ageing and is a blend of 56% Pinot Noir, 34% Chardonnay and 10% Meunier whilst the Rosé is made from extended skin-maceration of the Pinot Noir in the press. A blend of 70% Pinot Noir (mostly from the Cumières vines that are more aromatic and intense in flavor) and 30% Chardonnay, it is aged for four-years on the lees with a further six months after disgorgement.
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