Pol Roger releases 2008 Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill

Champagne Pol Roger has released its 2008 Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill, which it described last year, ahead of its release, as “the most investible Churchill we’ve ever made”.

Speaking to the drinks business during a visit to the maison last year, Paul Graham, director of business development at Pol Roger Ltd, said the 2008 cuvée was the “best vintage since 1988 and the most investible Churchill we’ve ever made.”

Now, that cuvée has finally been released in the UK, marking the 17th release of the prestige cuvée, which is priced at £175 a bottle

The prestige cuvée is made predominantly with the first pressings of Grand Cru Pinot Noir and Chardonnay which were under vine during Churchill’s lifetime, though the exact blend is a closely guarded family secret.

It’s only made in the best vintages and is always released later than the other vintage dated Champagnes from Pol Roger, in recognition of Churchill’s appreciation for older wines.

“Following some frost in December, the beginning of 2008 was marked by mild and humid weather conditions,” the house said of the 2008 vintage.

“However by contrast, March and April were cool and rainy, even hit by spells of snow and frost. Good temperatures in May rapidly boosted growth. The summer months were characterised by extremely variable weather, with storms in July, cool weather and limited sunny periods in August.

“Véraison started in early August and by this point, the conditions in the vineyard were outstanding. September brought excellent weather, and the picking started on 15th September in sunny conditions. The grapes were healthy, and the sugar/acidity balance, perfect.”

It is described as a Champagne with a rich nose with notes of white flowers and freshly baked brioche, dried fruits and toasted almonds and hazelnuts, and a hint of orange zest.

On the palate, the wine is “powerful and yet exquisitely well-balanced” with notes of  citrus fruit, notably grapefruit, coupled with creamy notes of pastry.

The inaugural 1975 vintage, created a decade after Churchill’s death, was launched exclusively in magnums in 1984 at Blenheim Palace to coincide with the 40th anniversary of D-Day.

Churchill was a friend of the Pol Roger family and a fan of its Champagnes – so much so that he named one of his racehorses after the brand.

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