Pol Roger has released a 2008 vintage rosé Champagne – a style only produced in the very best years.
Pol Roger’s 2008 Brut rosé was launched on 1 March
The independent Champagne house does not make a non-vintage rosé Champagne, preferring instead to release its rosé expression only in vintage years. The 2008 vintage is made from a blend of 50% Pinot Noir and 35% Chardonnay, harvested from some 20 premier and grand crus in the Montagne de Reims and Côte des Blanc.
A further 15% of Pinot Noir, produced from grapes harvested from selected vineyards in Bouzy, Ambonnay and Cumieres, is vinified “en rouge” and added to the blend prior to the second fermentation to achieve a delicate colour and “subtle nose”. Disgorged in July 2015, the 2008 rosé has been left to rest on its lees for nearly seven years, far longer than the minimum three-year requirement, in cellars that stretch for 7km some 30m beneath Pol Roger’s headquarters in Epernay.
As Pol Roger continues to build on its reputation for vintage rosé Champagnes, Axel Gillery, the house’s brand ambassador, believes blanc de blancs Champagnes will experience a surge in popularity in coming years.
“I think in the next five years we are going to see many more blanc de blancs”, said Gillery speaking to the drinks business on a recent trip to the region. “People have the impression that you are talking about a higher quality wine which is not the case, it’s a style. If you only use Pinot Noir or even only Pinot Meurnier you can achieve something great too. It’s not about quality, it’s just about the grape variety that is selected.”
Pol Roger’s latest blanc de blancs vintage Champagne release is the 2008, vinified from Chardonnay grapes selected from grand cru vineyards in the Côte des Blancsm including Cramant, Le Mesnil, Oger, Avize and Oiry.
Continuing, Gillery pointed out that blanc de blancs Champagnes were rarely made 30 years ago, with those that were typically labelled as Chardonnay.
“The perception of the concept was not working very well, but today blanc de blancs gives you an idea of purity and quality”, said Gillery. “I think Ruinart has been responsible for that. They have been communicating a lot on blanc de blancs. It’s also fashionable right now but I don’t think Champagne should be about fashion.”
Pol Roger currently sources 55% of its grapes from its own grand cru vineyards, with the remaining 45% sourced from vineyards close to where its holdings are already located in order to maintain the wine’s sense of terroir.
The house owns 90 hectares of vines, however Gillery is unsure if Pol Roger will ever set out to produce a single vineyard Champagne. This year, Lanson will release its first single vineyard Champagne produced from its Clos Lanson in the centre of Reims.
“I don’t think so but never say never”, said Gillery. “I have tasted wonderful single vineyards Champagnes, but first of all Champagne is about blending and blending different terroirs. In each you will find something specific and when you get it right it gives you something better than just the one. The second thought that I have is that these single vineyard Champagnes have really been the specificity of smaller wine growers from the very beginning. It’s something that is typical of wine growers from Champagne. Champagne is not about the big names but small wine growers and co-operatives. These are the three big players and they each specialise in specific things.”
Pol Roger’s Brut Rosé 2008 was released on 1 March and carries an RRP of £70 a bottle.