Why is this Wine so Yummy?
Champagne Pol Roger created their Prestige Cuvée in homage to Sir Winston Churchill mindful of the qualities that he sought in his champagne: robustness, a full-bodied character and relative maturity. The exact blend is a closely guarded family secret but it is undeniable that the composition would meet with the approval of the man to whom it is dedicated: “My tastes are simple, I am easily satisfied with the best”. Pinot Noir predominates, providing structure, breadth and robustness whilst Chardonnay contributes elegance, finesse and subtlety. Composed exclusively of grapes sourced from Grands Crus Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards which were already under vine during Churchill’s lifetime. Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill is only made in the very best vintages and is always released later than the other vintage dated Champagnes from Pol Roger, marking Churchill’s appreciation for older wines.
The must undergoes two débourbages (settlings), one at the press house immediately after pressing and the second, a débourbage à froid, in stainless steel tanks at 6°C over a 24 hour period. A slow cool fermentation with the temperature kept under 18°C takes place in stainless steel with each variety and each village kept separate. The wine undergoes a full malolactic-fermentation prior to final blending. Secondary fermentation takes place in bottle at 9°C in the deepest Pol Roger cellars (33 metres below street level) where the wine is kept until it undergoes remuage (riddling) by hand, a rarity in Champagne nowadays. The very fine and persistent mousse for which Pol Roger is renowned owes much to these deep, cool and damp cellars.
Tasting Note from the Winery
The opulent golden colour of the wine is enlivened by a fine, harmonious stream of bubbles. At first, the rich nose boasts notes of white owers and freshly baked brioche aromas. As the wine warms in the glass, it exudes scents of dried fruits and toasted almonds and hazelnuts, combining with a hint of orange zest. On the palate, the wine is immediately powerful and yet exquisitely well-balanced; refreshing flavours of citrus fruit, notably grapefruit, are coupled with creamy notes of pastry. This wine combines the fullness of the much-celebrated 2008 vintage with the unparalleled and much-loved style of the Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill. A long, lingering finish indicates that this wine has fantastic ageing potential.
The images below, courtesy of Pol Roger, from left to right. 1. A bottle ready to be riddled, you can see the yeast on the side of the bottle. The bottle is ‘Sur Lie’ on yeast lees. 2. A riddler at work, he’ll turn 30,000 bottles a day 1/4 turn for 30 days, slowly lifting the bottles to a vertical position upside down. 3. The end result: all of the yeast lees are in the very neck of the bottle ready to be removed in the process of disgorging. The bottle is now ‘Sur Point’ on point.