The vintage wines of Champagne Louis Roederer are some of the most consistently fine offerings from any big house. There is a good reason for this. Each of the wines; Cristal, Blanc de Blancs, “regular” vintage and Rose are not only estate, but farmed as separate estates on to themselves. From the selection of site to the training and pruning, everything is done specifically for the cuvee that Roederer intends to make. This is very different than most big houses, which prefer to bring everything in and taste it blind before deciding which cuvee to assign a parcel to.
As many of you have no doubt read, 2011 was a very difficult, some would say plain bad vintage in Champagne. Many producers declassified large amounts of fruit… For instance, Champagne Franck Bonville only made their basic Champagne in this year, declassifying the Belles Voyes, Prestige and Vintage plots down into the basic wine. I was very surprised to see a vintage, especially a rose vintage, from this challenging year being made by Roederer. The main problem was humidity and rain that caused a lot of rot in the summer, with conditions so bad that vignerons could not get into the vineyard to try and stop the harm.
I was even more surprised when I opened this bottle. We had it with sushi last night, and it was very clean and surprisingly soft for such a dreary vintage. This wine is a blend of about 2/3 direct macerated Cumieres Pinot Noir and 1/3 North facing Chouilly Grand Cru Chardonnay. While not as driven and precise as the 2010, this softer style had a ton of easy drinking charm. I love it when a good bottle of wine surprises me!
A toast to you!