Louis Roederer launches first biodynamic champagne

Louis Roederer has announced this week the release of its 2012 Cristal, the first to be made from 100% biodynamically farmed grapes. The house has been implementing biodynamics in its vineyards for the past 10 years and so far has converted 50% of their plots, while the remainder is 50% organic.

Louis Roederer has hailed the release as the “first-born from this new viticulture”. The 2012 vintage is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay with a dosage of 7.5g/l.

The 2012 vintage was described in a statement as “one of the most challenging and complicated years ever experienced in Champagne”, and while yields were low, warmer weather towards the end of the season led to “unusual levels of maturity” and with that, “full-bodied and structured wines”.

Website:  https://www.louis-roederer.com

 

Louis Roederer Releases Cristal Vinothèque

Champagne Louis Roederer has released the first of its limited edition, extra-aged Cristal, known as ‘Vinothèque’.

The release covers both the 1995 brut and 1996 rosé, which were disgorged over 10 years ago but then kept back in Roederer’s cellars for further aging.

The Vinothèque wines have a slightly lower dosage of 7g/l compared with the usual 9g/l for the standard Cristal expression due to longer lees ageing.

Just 400 bottles of the brut and 200 bottles of the rosé have been released meaning global allocations are extremely tight.

No larger formats have been released – this time. Both wines were introduced by the house at a “surrealist spectacular” at their head office early October to celebrate their 241st anniversary.

Although Roederer’s executive vice-president, Michel Janneau, conceded that the amount of wine released was “infinitesimally small”, he added, “fear not – it is not without sequel; other vintages will follow this.”

Happy International Chardonnay Day (May 25th) and What is Blanc de Blancs Champagne

First of all Blanc de Blancs is a French term that means “white from whites”, and is used to designate Champagnes made exclusively from Chardonnay grapes.

Secondly – Champagne Geography – the key districts for Blanc de Blancs are the Côte des Blancs and Côte de Sézanne. The Côte des Blancs is particularly famous for its Chardonnay and yield the best examples of this style. The six grand cru villages include: Avize, Chouilly, Cramant, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Oger and Oiry. In Champagne, unlike Burgundy, the grand cru classification is linked to its villages and not vineyards. The designation denotes not only the highest-quality grapes—but also, generally, those that command the highest prices.

Thirdly, the differences in aromas and flavors are attributable to terroir. For instance, the Côte de Sézanne tends to yield riper fruit, hence riper wines. Other differences are the result of winemaking techniques, the degree of dosage, and other variables.

A classic Blanc de Blancs is restrained and elegant when its young, yet with ageing, it develops a mouth-coating brioche richness that overlays an intense expression of fruitiness.

Blanc de blancs Champagne is vibrant in its acidity it wants nothing more than to throw itself into comfort foods, seafood, and fried foods.

Producers include Salon, Billecart-Salmon, Jacques Selosse, Dom Ruinart, Krug, Guy Larmandier, Champagne R&L Legras, Champagne Henriot, Pol Roger, Krug, Louis Roederer, Dom Ruinart, Vilmart, Taittinger, and J. de Telmont  – also seek out smaller producers, you will be surprised and delighted.

Roederer launches Brut Nature 2006 in Toronto

Louis Roederer Champagne, known for its tête du cuvée Cristal, has launched its first new cuvée “Brut Nature 2006” in more than 40 years.

The new cuvée was created in collaboration with world-renowned French designer, Philippe Starck and is the first non-dosage for Louis Roederer.

This non-malolactic, zero dosage vintage champagne was unveiled by Roederer’s Chef de Caves, Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon, during a launch event in Toronto a few weeks ago. In attendance was a select number of wine journalists and members of Authentic Wine & Spirits Merchants.

According to Lecaillon, his team carried out a series of bottling trials for 2003, 2004, and 2005 (extra-brut cuvées – 3-6 g/l of sugar). These wines were fine-tuned and culminated in the selection of the 2006 vintage and marked the birth of Louis Roederer Brut Nature.

“Before 2003 we didn’t have the raw materials…the grapes, the terroir, sufficient ripening with this texture—the natural ingredients that would allow uw to go further with [lowering the dosage] in Roederer’s non-malolactic style.”

“The land and soil are the keys to great wines” says Lecaillon in between sips of champagne.

The 2003 growing season was ideal – it was an excessively warm, sunny and a dry year. The grapes come from 10 hectares of south-facing, biodynamically-farmed vineyards in Cumieres. Lécaillon says “You have a higher ripeness with biodynamics, different texture and fruit,” he said. “This wine might not have been possible without biodynamics.”

Lecaillon further states that all the grapes were picked on the same day and pressed together ‘I didn’t want any varietal taste. The idea was to eliminate the varietal characters and let the terroir speak’.

The grapes were picked much riper than usual and as a result, the lower sugar level of the wine-making process was altered. Fifty percent of the wine was aged in 9,000 litre oak casks and bottling at the lower pressure of 4.5 atmospheres versus the widely used 6 aided the wine’s texture. “Pressure and texture interact,” explained Lécaillon. “If you’re too high in pressure, you lose the texture.”

‘This is a small production with 60,000 bottles. The next warm year to expect a no-dosage cuvee will the 2009 vintage’ says Lecaillon.

Brut Nature 2006 contains 56% Pinot Noir with equal parts Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier.

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Tasting Notes:

Brut Nature 2006   

This cuvée is ample, elegant, and pure.

The deep golden color with lively bubbles.
Layers of fruit with hints of lemon peel, pear, flowers with some hints of
hazelnut and spice.
On the palate – stones, fruit, mineral freshness with a creamy texture,with a
long powerful finish.

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“It’s a very good Champagne – definitely for foodies and sommeliers! “ Liz Palmer

 

Other Champagnes Tasted:

 

Brut, Blanc de Blancs, 2008       
Pale yellow with active bubbles and soft effervescence.
Roasted nuts, orchard fruits, with white flower aromas.
On the palate – elegant and fresh with a creamy texture, refined acidity with
hazelnut, slight minerality with a long finish.

 

Brut Vintage 2007

Pale gold with lively bubbles and soft effervescence.
Toasty, apple, pear, hazelnut, and vanilla aromas.
The palate is characteristic of Roederer’s vintages with the attack
being ample and dense with apple, pear, subtle citrus, almond, white chocolate and caramel flavors, ending with a long finish.

 

Brut Rose Vintage 2008   

Salmon color with active tiny bubbles.
Intriguing complex red fruits, orange peel, subtle spice, floral with chalk aromas.
On the palate –   full-bodied, creamy, well structured, cherry, raspberry, orange peel, some spice flavors with some minerality ending with a Long finish.

 

Cristal 2006

Pale gold color with plentiful lively bubbles.
Layered aromas of lemon, orange and toasted nut aromas, followed by apple, peach, ginger and mineral aromas.
On the palate – creamy delicate mousse with some pear, apple, citrus zest flavors and spicy notes, with some minerality, ending with a long finish.

 

Cristal 2002

This 12-year-old wine comes from 30-year-old vines.

Brilliant yellow with some amber highlights.
A beautiful mousse with fine beads
Intense and delicate on the nose, revealing hints of Biscuit, honey, cocoa, toasted hazelnuts and candied citrus.
One the palate – savory explosion of ripe fruit on the attack, revealing red fruit, white chocolate, caramel and pastry.
Intense, powerful, beautiful balance with a long finish.

 

Cristal 1995

Tasting this was another special treat – there is only a few hundred bottles left in the world.
This 19-year-old wine has been 10 years on lees.

“Time on less is powerful and important” says.. says Lecaillon

Bottles were opened two hours before serving in order for them to breathe.

Light golden color with a very strong mousse, with lively bubbles.
Deep, yeasty aromas which are dominated by toffee, butterscotch and toast.
Fresh in the mouth, with hints of yellow fruits, strawberry and toasty flavors.
Finishes long and lean with some mineral.

 

Liz Palmer

WIN dinner for 20 at Michelin-starred ‘nahm’ restaurant Halkin Hotel London

The Halkin has launched a series of celebratory events to commemorate its 20th Anniversary which focuses on cuisine, Champagne, culture, and design throughout the month of September.

First in the series of events, The Halkin has teamed up with Louis Roederer Champagne to create an exclusive ‘Halkin at Twenty’ celebration dinner. One lucky Halkin guest can expect to win a gourmet experience with 20 of their friends at London’s acclaimed Thai restaurant ‘nahm’. The dinner includes a menu created by Head Chef Matthew Albert, a selection of fine wines and Champagnes by Louis Roederer Champagne along with a Master of Wine (MW) to guide you through the menu and wine pairings.

About nahm
nahm is the first Michelin-starred Thai restaurant in Europe, and is for serious gourmands who value originality and tantalizing cuisine. The venue is decidedly modern and chic.

To become eligible, make your hotel reservation online between July 20th and August 20th. The lucky winner will be drawn on The Halkin’s anniversary on Tuesday 20th September 2011.


Tel +44 (0)20 7333 1059
Email res@halkin.como.bz
http://www.halkin.como.bz

Liz Palmer
Wine and Travel Writer