Champagne Pol Roger

Elegant, Dryish, Medium Bodied Wines that Age Well


Champagne Pol Roger, sometimes accidentally called Pol Pogers, makes some kick ass wines! Their wines tend to be elegant, on the dry side, medium bodied, and they age well. Very popular especially in both the UK and USA, Pol Roger was reportedly a particular favorite of Winston Churchill who drank a bottle plus a day, as well as a few others things (he was known as a heavy drinker, and a lover of Champagne). They produce a mere 1 1/2 million bottles a year, making them one of the smallest Grandes Marques.

Although they were founded in 1849, they originally just made wines for others although they have long qualified as a great house on their own. In 1955 they bought 55 hectares on vineyards, now up to 87, and situated in Montagne de Reims, the Vallée de Ia Marme, Vallée d'Epernay and the Côte des Blancs. Some of these are simply in superb Grand Crus, such as Ambonnay, Bouzy and Verzy in Montagne de Reims and Cramant, Chouilly and Avize in The Côte des Blancs. We are talking the best vineyards here, and these are supplemented by long term contracts with growers in the region.

Their wines include:

Brut Reserve - A Non Vintage wine which rewards a year plus of aging (the UK version gets an additional 6 months of aging before release). It's reliable, a great deal, and a relatively easy drinking wine made of 1/3 each Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay.

Rich - This is the same as the Brut Reserve but with 34 g/l of dosage, making it a relatively sweet wine.

Pure Brut - A zero dosage Non Vintage wine composed from 1/3 Pinot Noir, 1/3 Pinot Meunier, and 1/3 Chardonnay. Subtle, light, and elegant, with a lovely minerality. A fairly new wine.

Brut Rose - Their rose and a vintage wine. Approximately 50% Pinot Noir and 34% Chardonnay with 16% still Pinot Noir wine added.

Vintage Chardonnay - At 100% Chardonnay this is a Blanc de blancs although they do not label it as such, and it is 100% Grand Cru grapes. It's very nice on its own and also a great match with seafood. I find it a tad bit sweet to my taste (most people disagree with me on this), although superb. Tasting note below.

Vintage Brut - This wine is usually 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay and really sings with a few years of aging. The 1996 as an example is pretty good in 2012 but will improve for a while and last for decades. It is a powerful wine, a long ager (some have lasted for 90+ years like the 1914 vintage), and an awesome deal if you are going to stash them away for a few years, as I often do. It is absolutely one of Champagne's great wines!

Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill, - This is simply of the the best Champagnes made. Its composition is a secret, but it is clearly Pinot Noir dominated. It resembles Churchill himself: large, powerful, authoritative, rich, complex and a long ager. The first vintage was only 1975. Available in magnums as well as 750s, and magnums are the perfect size for stashing away for a few decades.Pol Roger Chardonnay 1998

Tasting Note: Pol Roger 1998 Blanc de blancs - Dec 2012, Rated B+

The nose is immediately whole wheat bread dough, yeast, and lime with some minerals.

It's quite crisp on the palate. Some red apple, it's sweet and long. A touch of apple cider. Some minerals. Fairly powerful for a Blanc de blancs.

Consistent notes - I've had this before. Personally I'd prefer it a bit more if it were less sweet, although many people disagree with me on this point.

An extremely good wine. A good price is around US$90-$100.