This week sees the release of a new vintage of a great Prestige Cuvee, Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 2012. Pol Roger release their vintage champagnes only in top rated vintages, the last being 2009. Today Pol Roger are launching the latest vintage, Sir Winston Churchill 2012. This cuvée marking the 19th release since the inaugural vintage of 1975. Pol Roger created their Prestige Cuvée in homage to Sir Winston Churchill mindful of the qualities that he sought in his champagne: robustness, a full-bodied character and relative maturity. Sir Winston Churchill was a lifelong champagne enthusiast. However, his loyalty was undoubtedly sealed at a lunch given by the British Ambassador to France, Duff Cooper, on November 12th, 1945.
As always the exact blend is a closely guarded family secret; we can at least guess, my best guess is the vintages will differ, I suspect Churchill 2008 was more than 86% Pinot Noir, perhaps the 2009 a little lower and 2012 seems more Chardonnay dominant, PN 70% CH 30% and I wonder perhaps Chardonnay might even be a little higher. It is unlikely Meunier is in the blend, although it is a grape that has very pretty fruit, it tends to mature faster than PN and CH. Pinot Noir dominance allows Sir Winston Churchill to express greater body with a broad and impressive nose and a distinctive Pinot Noir character that is so familiar of the Cuvée.
2012 weather has been hallmarked by many as very challenging but has created some stunning Champagne. Relatively low yields, often at least 15% below average due to various weather conditions throughout the year and a very dry end to the season. Winter months brought some frosts and hail which damaged the early stages of bud burst. Following cool and rainy weather in early spring, unseasonal warm weather prevailed in late March, favouring an advanced budbreak. August and September were very warm and this helped rescue and give the grapes a stunning maturity. Climate conditions in 2012 are considered to have slightly suited Pinot Noir more than Chardonnay. Though many of the Blanc de Blancs are already disproving this generalisation!
Tasting Note Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 2012
This afternoon Champagne Pol Roger launched the new vintage of Sir Winston Churchill 2012. No hesitation a solid 19/20. Like many 2012’s the aromatics are powerful and forward, there is a blend of tropical notes, particularly pineapple and a rich zesty lemon sherbet going to buttery pasty. This all suggests there is a reasonable slug of Chardonnay in the 2012 blend! The Pinot Noir element seems more recessive at this point. Grapefruit comes through on the palate and a creamy lemony pastry, bundles of fruit, underlying freshness on the palate and the lees and fruit have given a creamy soft texture. Zingy lemon, grapefruit and twist of raspberry hang on the finish. A stunning 2012, forward and very seductive.
Nick Baker TFB Founder 9th March 2021.
Disgorged: July 2020
Lees Ageing: 7.5 years
The 2012 vintage of Churchill was produced in relatively modest quantity, as we the case with many Houses, their grape yields were lower than normal and so the resulting number of bottles is smaller than normal. This means Churchill 2013 will come out in just over a years time. A handful of magnums will be available, so grab those when you can. Laurent d’Harcourt the Managing Director of Pol Roger mentioned they have a run of great future vintages of Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill in bottle from 2015, 2018, 2019 and 2020. The last three being the next best future vintages after 2012 and 2013. Both 12 and 13 are super great, with 2013 having the potential to be greater than 2012. The last time there was a trio of great vintages was 1988, 1989 and 1990 and it is currently thought that 2018, 2019 and 2020 are three potentially spectacular vintages.
What the Critics Are Saying:
93 → 95/100 Essi Avellan MW EssiAvellan.com March 2021
“Medium-deep lemon-gold colour. Soft and overt nose of spicy, yeasty complexity meeting a lovely charred gunpowdery whiff. Crisp pristine fruitiness of ripe yellow apple, baked pear, candied lemon and vanilla, developing tropical nuances. The palate echoes the 2012 vintage’s hallmark vivacity, but is mellow, round and textured, as Winston ought to be. There is instant charm and drinkability to this well-built wine that finishes with a refreshing chalky-mineral bite. A fine Sir Winston vintage.”
Sir Winston Churchill was a close friend of the Pol Roger family, prompting the house to name their prestige cuvée after him. The great man himself, once commented: “My tastes are simple, I am easily satisfied with the best”.
The Eighteen Previous Vintages of Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill are:
|Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 1975||Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 1996|
|Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 1979||Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 1998|
|Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 1982||Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 1999|
|Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 1985||Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 2000|
|Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 1986||Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 2002|
|Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 1988||Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 2004|
|Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 1990||Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 2006|
|Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 1993||Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 2008|
|Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 1995||Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 2009|