Pol Roger is one of ‘those’ names that when you mention it to anyone in the wine trade you can see them slightly close their eyes and go a little bit wistful about – even if just for a minute. Their ‘white foil’ as it’s known – Brut Reserve NV – should be a go to Champagne for almost anyone whilst their Vintage Brut has been my most lusted after Champagne since I first tasted it.
Based in Epernay, the house is just off the Avenue de Champagne with cellars directly on this incredible road that houses some of the greatest names in Champagne. In comparison with many of the Grand Marque houses Pol Roger is ‘quite’ small with a small team of people. That means that of all the houses I’ve visited it was the hardest to get an invitation to. Pol are (I think) the only house that continues to hand riddle every single bottle of their production, partly to preserve the heritage of the riddlers.
We were offered a choice of Champagnes to taste, one non vintage wine, one vintage and a bottle of Winston Churchill. We opted to taste the Pure NV – a zero dosage non vintage wine and their vintage Blanc de Blancs on the basis that I’ve tasted both White Foil and Vintage Brut on a fairly good number of occasions (and we didn’t fancy tasting the Demi-Sec as much as the Pure)
Pol Roger Pure Extra Brut NV
Based on the lovely 2008 vintage with 20& reserve wines from 2007,6 and 5.
Quite an enticing nose with fresh citrus some brioche and walnut notes. Dry and mineral this is as it says on the bottle very very pure. Really good length with focus, precision and concentration. It’s a quite tight now but I really like the tension you find in many zero dosage wines. 92 Points
Pol Roger Blanc de Blancs 2002
A really lovely golden colour this is really intense and developing some lovely maturity on the nose. Honeysuckle and hazelnuts with lots of fresh citrus notes. The acidity is firm and fresh but really well balanced. This is a wine with terrific focus and complexity. Long in the mouth the mousse is soft. Really delicious Champagne. 93 Points.
Pol Roger Cuvee Winston Churchill 2000
The composition of this is a loosely guarded secret – nobody at Pol will ever tell you the composition of the wine, BUT if you suggest to them that this is a wine made with 100% Grand Cru Pinot Noir their eyes twinkle a little, their lips turn up a little and they may well admit that you are not too far from the truth.
A rich dark, full Pinot nose it’s intensity is something to behold. This is almost brooding! Exceptional balance and concentration this manages to marry all that power and concentration and keep it elegant and with finesse at the same time – some real challenge there. Some blueberry and brioche notes with blackcurrant flower. Really really like this 95 Points.
Photos by Jon Marlow www.marlow.me.uk