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Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 1996

Mix 6
£445.95
Per Bottle
£449.95
Description & Technical Information
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Pol Roger was just nineteen when he founded his estate in 1849. Still a family-run enterprise, fifth generation Hubert de Billy is one of the descendants who manage the House today. With 89-hectares of vineyards supplying half of their grape requirements and illustrious premises containing immaculate facilities including pristinely polished stainless-steel tanks. Today they own 92 hectares of vineyards and its cellars in Epernay, just off the Avenue de Champagne run for 7.5 kms, 34 metres below the ground at a constant 9 Celsius.

Remarkably, a small team of less than ten complete everything in the cellar by hand and Pol Roger boast four of the region's remaining fifteen riddlers, who impressively turn over 60,000 bottles a day. Indeed, it is this style and their respect for tradition that initiated Sir Winston Churchill's lifelong attachment to Pol Roger, who famously insisted: "In defeat I need it, in victory I deserve it." Today, their prestige cuvée is named in honour of the great man.

Sir Winston Churchill'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. A friendship began which, indulged by his wife Clementine, lasted until his death in 1965. Each year on his birthday, Odette would send Churchill a case of vintage champagne. So close was his relationship with the family that upon his death, Pol Roger put black-bordered labels on all of their bottles destined for the UK. In 1975, Pol Roger went one step further and named their prestige cuvée after him, producing it in the robust and 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 remainder being Chardonnay. The grapes are all from Grand Cru vineyards which were under vine during Churchill's lifetime.

Weather: The 1996 vintage was a standout year: one of, if not the, best of the last twenty. A warm beginning to June followed by a cooler end provided favourable growing conditions and the weather fluctuation resulted in staggered flowering of the Chardonnay grapes. September was sunny but mild with light scattered showers creating incredible grape maturation with high sugar and acidity levels. This unique sugar/acidity balance combined with small, concentrated berries revealed an aromatic depth rarely seen in Champagne.

Technical Information:
Vineyards: 100% Grand Cru
Grape Varieties: Family Secret | Likely 70-80% Pinot Noir, 20-30% Chardonnay
Ageing: 10 years on the lees
Dosage: 8 g/l
Drink: Now to 2030+

Tasting Note: A clear yellow-gold with a fine stream of bubbles. On the nose initial notes of nuts and butter. On the palate the initial freshness leads onto a full-bodied flavour with heady notes of violet and some light citrus fruits. The finish is superb and very long with a lasting balance of ripe fruits.
Champagne Pol Roger Overview
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Expert Reviews
17.5/20
Jancis Robinson MW
“The tenth vintage of Pol's prestige cuvée (1975 was the first).
Very sturdy, powerful and dry. Savoury again and with the green streak of this high-acid vintage, which Pol assessed as having 'the hallmarks of a Churchill vintage. Early comparisons were drawn with 1955.' More youthful than the 1999.”
18/20
Julia Harding MW
“From a Berry Bros private client. Disgorged 2007. Tasted blind. Deeper gold than the 2004 in magnum. Mousse is still fresh but not as lively as the 2004. High acid. 1996 bottle? Very tight even though it has quite a bit of development and richness and some bruised apple on the nose – more oxidative. But has great length and intensity. I like the combination of complexity and crisp acidity. Demonstrative rather than elegant but needs drinking in the next few years. ”
95/100
Antonio Galloni
“Pol Roger’s 1996 Winston Churchill is fabulous. One of the most expressive, complete 1996s today, the Winston Churchill is in a great spot. Butter, spice, almond and lemon oil notes meld together effortlessly in the glass. In 1996, the Winston Churchill is a clear overachiever. Best of all, it remains reasonably priced vis-à-vis its peers.”
News Articles
  1. Churchill Connection: Pol Roger

    Churchill Connection: Pol Roger

    September 23, 2017

    Sir Winston Churchill's relationship with Pol Roger dates back to 1945 when a friendship began between Churchill and Odette Pol-Roger..
  2. Pol Roger: '02, '04, '06, '08, who do we appreciate?

    Pol Roger: '02, '04, '06, '08, who do we appreciate?

    March 7, 2017

    To celebrate the release of Pol Roger Brut Vintage 2008, we put it to the test in a blind vertical tasting of the last four vintages of Pol: 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008. We also threw in the non-vintage for good measure.
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