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Average Review Score: 4.9
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Average Review Score: 4.9
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Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 2002
Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 2002 Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 2002

Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 2002

Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 2002 >
Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 2002 <

Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 2002 Overview

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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 2002 vintage shaped up magnificently over the spring, with no significant frost and near-perfect flowering. Then followed a summer marked by long, sunny periods interspersed with regular cloudy and rainy spells. The vines were in good health and the dehydration of the grape berries helped them reach new heights of ripeness. Generally considered one of the best harvests in the last twenty years.

Technical Information:
Vineyards: 100% Grand Cru
Grape Varieties: Family Secret | Likely 70-80% Pinot Noir, 20-30% Chardonnay
Ageing: 10 years on the lees
Disgorged: January 2014
Dosage: 8 g/l
Drink: Now to 2030+

Tasting Note: An intense golden-yellow hue and a lively stream of bubbles. Aromas of freshly squeezed lime are reinforced on the palate, boasting the powerful and rich structure that Churchill so loved. Given its youth, this champagne still holds a lot in reserve but it has a masculine structure and phenomenal length. The only downside with this vintage from Pol Roger is that they selected much less than normal to go into this cuvée, so it's soon going to be a very scarce vintage.
Champagne Pol Roger History
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Expert Reviews
18/20
Jancis Robinson MW
“Tasted blind. Creamier, richer than its pair (which turned out to be the 2004) but also a little softer. Good wine but in this context just a little weaker than its pair in terms of impact.”
97/100
William Kelley
“The 2002 Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill is the stunning 2008's closest challenger in the decade, bursting with aromas of confit citrus, stone fruits, mandarin, sweet dried fruits, smoke and iodine. Full-bodied, layered and vinous, it's deep and multidimensional, with broad shoulders, terrific concentration and a long, resonant finish. In style, this shares all of 2012's breadth and flesh but brings more structure and tension to the equation. Still youthful today, the 2002 will drink well for the next two decades from a cold cellar.”
17/20
Jancis Robinson MW
“Disgorged January 2014. RS 8 g/l. Assemblage a family secret but likely 70-80% Pinot Noir, 20-30% Chardonnay. Direct from Pol Roger UK.
Tasted blind. Sweet blackcurrant fruit on the nose. Sweet fruit and rather flattering and easy. Upmarket lemonade. Pommery Cuvée Louise?”
17/20
Jancis Robinson MW
“Tasted blind. Orangey straw. Rich and round on the nose. Rather sweet start and with much less energy than the 2004 vintage. A tiny bit heavy.”
95/100
Richard Juhlin
“More about structural fascination than aromatic pleasure. With its high acidity and simultaneously rich and impressive depth, this is reminiscent of the heroic 1996, and is equipped to develop far into the future.”
95/100
Antonio Galloni
“The 2002 Brut Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill is wonderfully open, expressive and resonant. The richness of the vintage comes through nicely, yet the more overt elements are very nicely balanced by a good deal of freshness. Baked apple, pastry, candied lemon, dried flowers and warm, toasty notes shape the generous, resonant finish. With time in the glass, the 2002 takes a on a striking, vinous character. Readers might want to consider opening the 2002 a few hours in advance, as it really blossoms with air.”
94/100
Josh Reynolds
“Light yellow-gold. Deeply pitched aromas of poached pear, fresh fig, orange custard and honey, with smoky mineral and buttered toast nuances adding complexity. Stains the palate with ripe citrus and orchard fruit flavors that are given spine and focus by juicy acidity. Closes taut, sappy and extremely long, with an echo of toastiness and wonderful clarity. All Grand Cru fruit.”
95/100
Alison Napjus
“There's a sense of quiet elegance and grace to this harmonious Champagne. Refined and lacy in texture, with finely wrought acidity leading focus and length to the spice- and graphite-laced flavors of ripe apricot and blackberry, lemon meringue pie, chopped almost and briny mineral. Drink now through 2029”
97/100
James Suckling
“Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill was just recently released in Italy where I have been spending most of the summer, and after trying some, it underlines just how great the 2002 vintage is for Champagne. It's the last of the great cuvée Champagnes to be released on the market following Salon a few months earlier, and I think it is one of the best ever from Pol Roger. The 2002 Sir Winston shows surreal aromas of dried apples, cream, mangos, and ginger that follow through to a full palate with a velvety texture and a lively finish. It opens with air, which suggests decanting. (Yes. You can decant Champagne!) It's extremely enjoyable to drink now, unlike a number of the top 2002 Champagnes at the moment that still need more bottle age. Don't miss this one if you love Pol Roger. It's a classic.”
18/20
Jancis Robinson MW
“Pale coppery gold. Gosh, amazingly developed and surely a little oaky on the nose. And then extremely refreshing on the palate - much more so than the nose suggested initially. Very dry finish - a substantial, muscular wine!”
98/100
Derek Smedley MW
“Apricots and fresh limes the nose has richness yet a racy freshness and the palate has power, depth and structure. The layers of fruit the honeyed sweetness and richness yet citric freshness give lots of complexity the apple at the back giving a leanness and attractive elegance to the long finish.”
See All Reviews
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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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