The New Year is mere days away. And with it comes the annual frenzy of picking a Champagne or Sparkling Wine for the big night. Champagne is clearly a great way to mark a festive occasion but it’s also a great wine to enjoy with a meal or often times on its own as well. I recently took part in an online tasting of some Champagnes from Pol Roger. Their history in France dates back more than 160 years. Three of the Champagnes we sampled really stood out to me and I’ll provide my impressions of them. First up is the Pol Roger Brut Reserve “White Foil” (NV). This wine is a blend of equal parts Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. All the fruit was sourced in sub appellations of the Champagne region. After crushing the grapes are fermented separately at cool temperature. When the final blends are assembled at least 2 vintages are represented and the wine ages a minimum of 3 years prior to release. This offering has a suggested retail price of $55. A host of aromas leap from the nose of this Non Vintage Brut; candied ginger, clover honey, almond, hazelnut, citrus and a hint of yeast are the most prominent. The full flavored palate is loaded with character and flavors such as lemongrass, hints of peach and a nice wallop of spices. The finish is crisp, layered and gentle with light yeast notes and continued spice that lingers persistently. This is a terrific example of NV Brut that blows away its price point by a fair clip.
Next up is the Pol Roger 2002 Brut Rosé. This wine is a blend of Pinot Noir (50%), Chardonnay (35%), and Pinot Meunier (15%). The fruit for this wine was sourced in specific areas within Champagne. Each lot was pressed and fermented of separately. Final blending took place before bottling where the secondary fermentation took place. This wine has a suggested retail price of $115. This Rosé starts out with a classic and beautiful salmon hue. Aromas of candied raspberry and wild strawberry are prominent in the inviting nose. Cherry, strawberry, raspberry, pomegranate and rhubarb are all present throughout a juicy and berry-driven palate. This wine has firm structure and crisp acidity. The finish is lengthy and impressive. This wine is perfect foil for a wide array of foods.
Finally we come to the Pol Roger 1999 Brut Blanc de Blancs. This offering was produced from 100% Chardonnay sourced in Grand Cru vineyards around Champagne. Each lot is aged separately in stainless steel followed by blending and bottling. It then ages in the Pol Roger cellars for 7 years prior to release. This Vintage Champagne has a suggested retail price of $130. This wine has a gorgeous straw color. The nose is welcoming with hints of smoke, brioche and flowers. Apple and orchard fruit in general emerge on the palate which is creamy and ethereal. They’re joined by hazelnut and almond flavors as well as spice. The finish is amazingly layered and complex with minerals, spice, yeast and more. After swallowing a sip the flavors seem to continue forever. This wine is fresh and vibrant and really at the very beginning of its drinkable life cycle. There are champagnes in this price range that have bigger names, this selection from Pol Roger may not be quite as well known to the general consumer but it should be. It’s got impressive flavors, depth and complexity to spare. In short a lot of wow factor going on here. Value in my opinion is relative to quality provided. In this case the 1999 Blanc de Blancs from Pol Roger is a relative steal at $130.
Taken as a lot the Champagnes from Pol Roger are an excellent collection. When considered individually you’ll find a lot to like about each of them. If you drink Champagne regularly (and why wouldn’t you) keep the Pol Roger wines in mind, they’re worth your attention and your dollars.