Sir Winston Churchill is the most famous customer of Pol Roger’s Champagnes. The well-spoken statesman was noted for his love of the house, with his daily bubbles regimen starting at midday and going long into the night. It is estimated he drunk roughly 42000 bottles in his life!
To thank him for his rather excessive custom; Pol Roger’s finest vintage Champagnes carry his name. Going well beyond a simple homage, Pol Roger has funded many restoration projects of Churchill’s estates to carry on his legacy.
But what made Churchill so obsessed with Pol Roger? A house of humble beginnings in Ay (1849), it’s wines reputation quickly snow-balled in 5 years – requiring a move to Epernay where it remains (next to Moet & Chandon). At the centre of this growth is quality. There is no short-cut Brut NV here – the entry level bottle utilising a very solid base of quality reserve wines from great growing seasons. The result is top-shelf plonk suitable for Sir Winston, who’s drinking standards were lofty: “My tastes are simple, I am easily satisfied with the best”.
Pol Roger remains one of the largest family-owned houses remaining in Champagne, and today we look at it’s famous “White Foil” Brut Reserve – an equal-parts blend of the 3 grape varietals that spends a year more maturing in the cellars than most other ‘entry level’ famous NV Champagnes.
From: Epernay, Champagne, France
Cost & Source: ~$75 a bottle available from most liquor stores
Blend Ratio: Pinot Noir/Chardonnay/Pinot Meunier (33.3/33.3/33.3)
Aging: 4 Years
Sipped: Late December 2016
In the Glass:
Look: Golden transparent hue, with great bubble vigour and fine size.
Smell: Soft yeast notes with plenty of fruits coming through (ripe pears, matured ripe mango)
Taste: On first sip, it’s evident that this is a labour of love and a reflection of the detailed processes that go into making it. A strong, deep honeyed sweetness is present (a result of extended aging) with a soft tone of citrus zest mixed with full ripe red apples, ripe pears and passionfruit.
Acid balance is on point, with no searing as the dry sensations kick in and hold on a wide area of the tongue nice and long.
This is a cracking Champagne.
Pol Roger is one of the many noted house to have a Royal Warrant (serving HRH Queen Elizabeth II). Old Lizzie has a few of preference!
Party Potential: At the pricier end of NV champagnes, Pol Roger is an expensive way to fill a champagne bowl – which is unfortunate given its quality. I would use it for smaller, significant celebration parties – maybe up to 10 special people – for wallets sake. As a BYO party plonk – A bottle won’t go astray at a sit-down dinner.
As a Gift: Pol Roger makes a wonderful gift for anyone lucky enough to receive one!
At Home: Pol Roger is similar to Bollinger in that its price makes it hard to justify to crack open at home casually. But as promotion/graduation/new home owner celebratory fare I think it hits the mark.
Matching: Pol Roger Reserve’s wide band of flavour and great persistence (time flavour remains on the tongue) allows it be widely adapted to many standard Champagne fare dishes: Seafood, Chicken etc. On its own, the White Foil makes a grand statement without the need for an accompaniment.
Score & Verdict:
My goodness this is a classy one; stylish, tasteful and mature. Great character, enjoyable company & adaptable to many scenarios. Go all out!
At $75 I feel it is strong value for the quality.
How did I drink it?
Pre Christmas Drinks with some of my best friends and their growing young family.
How did you drink it?
And how did you find it? Let me know!
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