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|Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 2000
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Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 2000 ChampagneMore vintages: 1996, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004Churchill's relationship with Pol Roger dates back to 1945 when, during a luncheon given by the British ambassador to France after the liberation of Paris, Churchill met the charming and captivating Odette Pol-Roger and began a friendship, indulged by his wife Clementine, which lasted until Sir Winston's death in 1965. Each year on his birthday, Odette would send him a case of vintage champagne. So close was his relationship with the family that, on Churchill's death, Pol Roger put black-bordered labels on the bottles destined for the UK. In 1975, Pol Roger went one step further and named their prestige cuvée after him, making it in the robust, mature style that he liked so much.
The exact composition of this cuvée is a family secret but it is likely that Pinot Noir dominates 70-80% of the blend with the rest being Chardonnay. The grapes are all from Grand Cru vineyards which were under vine during Churchill's lifetime. The year of the millennium provided plenty of challenges with a dry May and severe hail in July, but a fine Indian summer helped the vintage "come right" at the last minute.
The wine has a mid golden yellow colour, a continuous stream of delicate bubbles and an elegant powerful nose of peach and apricot. A balanced palate of fine lemon and grapefruit has weight and complexity characteristic of both the terroir and the 2000 vintage. This is a cuvée that appreciates plenty of time in a large glass to unravel and will continue to improve over time.
Second fermentation takes place in the coolest Pol Roger cellars some 33 metres below ground level where it's 9°C, some 2-3°C below the temperature of other Champagne cellars. The cooler cellars slow down the bottle fermentation which ultimately produces a Champagne with finer bubbles for which Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill is renowned.
Grape Varieties: Family secret, likely 70-80% Pinot Noir, 20-30% Chardonnay
Dosage: 8 g/L
Disgorged: June 2012
Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 2000 Champagne: same day delivery in London, next day UK mainland & free delivery on 6+ bottles. Pol Roger Overview Vintage Overviews Grand & Premier Crus Explained
“Dedicated to the memory of the British wartime Prime Minister, who regularly drank Pol Roger, this is always a superlative Champagne. This 2000, at 14 years old, has developed a pal gold color and toastiness. That intensifies the mature flavours and rich texture, while allowing the tight mousse and acidity to keep a sense of structure. It will age much further, although it is perfectly ready to drink now. ”
“There's a sense of quiet elegance and grace to this harmonious Champagne. Refined and lacy in texture, with finely wrought acidity lending focus and length to the spice- and graphite-laced flavors of ripe apricot and blackberry, lemon meringue pie, chopped almond and briny mineral. Drink now through 2029.”
“Wonderful complexity. Seems to combine the great finesse of the Blanc de Blancs with the richness of the Vintage, and the aldehyde aromatic complexity of an aged wine. Almost sherry-like aroma notes, and fathomlessly charming. And very dry without being austere. It's so dry it's almost like a brut zero.”
“Smoky, with firm structure and a minerally base note, this offers a fine, creamy texture and hints of dried apricot, lemon curd, cassis, biscuit and blanched almond. The lingering finish echoes the minerality with a touch of oyster shell. Drink now through 2018. 375 cases imported”
“The first thing that is evident about the 2000 Brut Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill is its finesse and total silkiness. The 2000 is a rich, creamy and deeply expressive Winston Churchill. I don't see the 2000 being an especially long-term ager, but it is wonderfully radiant and open today. Hints of pastry, spice, apricots and succulent ripe pears blossom on the expansive, broad-shouldered finish. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2030.”
International Wine Cellar,
“Light yellow-gold. Spicy, intensely perfumed aromas of lemon curd, blood orange, anise and jasmine, with a toasty overtone. Supple and concentrated, with dried citrus and hazelnut flavors complemented by ginger and buttered toast. A long, subtly floral finish shows a hint of smoky minerality and impressive energy. This is drinking well now, but I suspect that this expressive Champagne, which is probably based heavily on pinot noir (they won't say), will be at its best over the coming ten years.”
The Busy Wine Lovers Guide to Pol Roger wine-searcher.com, 7th May 2015
Pol Roger Overview
Champagne Pol Roger has been producing exceptional champagne for over 165 years. To this day the house remains small, family-owned, fiercely independent and unrivalled in its reputation for quality. Indeed, it is this quality which brought about Sir Winston Churchill's lifelong attachment to Pol Roger, who famously insisted "In defeat I need it, in victory I deserve it".
The first sale of wine was in January 1849 when family circumstances forced Pol Roger to set up a business; his father a Notary, had contracted an incurable disease and could no longer carry on his practice. The customer was a merchant in Aÿ the native village of Pol Roger. The firm developed rapidly, from Aÿ it moved to Epernay in 1851. In 1899 the founder died by which point the brand had acquired enviable recognition - it had only taken about thirty years! On 23rd February 1900 disaster struck when part of the cellars and buildings collapsed. Over 500 casks and one and a half million bottles were lost. Maurice and George who had taken over from their father had to work tirelessly to get back on track.
Great Britain is, and always has been, the premier export market for Champagne Pol Roger, a tradition dating back to the 1860's. Even as early as 1855, Pol Roger was making Brut Champagne as he knew that Britain favoured this style of Champagne.
Maison Pol Roger owns 91 hectares of vineyards on prime sites in the Vallée de la Marne, the Montagne de Reims and on the Côte des Blancs and is 55 per cent self-sufficient in its grape requirements. The cellars run for 7km and are on three levels, the deepest known as the 'cave de prise de mousse' at 34m below street level. As the name suggests this is where the wine undergoes its secondary fermentation in bottle. The fact that this deep cellar is at 9°C or less, rather than a normal cellar temperature of 11-12°C, prolongs this fermentation and contributes to the quality and particular style of the wines and their famously fine bubbles.
The Pol Roger range starts with a non-vintage Brut Réserve and the rest of the champagnes are vintage-dated: Brut Vintage, Brut Rosé and Blanc de Blancs as well as the prestige Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill.
Sir Winston Churchill's predilection for Pol Roger was sealed in the immediate aftermath of World War Two, when he met and formed a lasting friendship with the captivating Odette Pol-Roger, who encapsulated Churchill's romantic vision of France. For the remainder of his lifetime, Pol Roger was to remain Sir Winston's Champagne of choice, supplied to wherever his engagements demanded from what he described as 'the world's most drinkable address', 44 Avenue de Champagne, Epernay. The friendship between the Churchill and Pol-Roger families endures to this day.
Created in tribute to Pol Roger's most illustrious devotee, the Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill is appropriately composed of only the best grapes, from only the best vineyard sites to which Pol Roger have access and from only the finest vintage years declared by the House. As Sir Winston himself once declared: 'My tastes are simple. I am easily satisfied with the best!' The precise formula is a family secret, but invariably true to the style that Sir Winston himself preferred: robust, full-flavoured and mature; we suspect Pinor Noir is dominant most releases with 30-40 per cent Chardonnay.
» Pol Roger Cellars at their Home on the Avenue de Champagne in Epernay
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