This week, Cinnamon and I were lucky enough to enjoy the 2009 Louis Roederer Brut Rosé Champagne ($69.99). Like all the vintage wines from Louis Roederer, it is entirely estate grown. Most of the famous negociants of Champagne love to talk about the art of assembelage, but here, chef de cave Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon loves to talk about the art of farming.
Each one of the five vintage dated wines at Roederer come from different parcels on the six hundred acre estate of Champagne Louis Roederer, and are farmed specifically for the characteristics that Mr. Lecaillon is looking for in the wines. In the case of the rose, the heart comes from Cumieres, the south facing sun catch Premier Cru just next to Hautvillers, a scant five kilometers over the Marne from Epernay. Here they farm the Pinot Noir that makes up 2/3 of the blend. The vibrant soul of this wine comes from north facing vineyards in the Cotes des Blancs Grand Cru of Chouilly. Jean Baptiste says he uses this cold climate Chardonnay to “acidify” the fabulously ripe Pinot of Cumieres. It makes up the other 1/3.
While most roses are done by an addition of red wine, and a few are done by macerating all of the grapes with all of the skins, this is done in a hybrid style. The Pinot Noir is given a 10 day cold soak all together before fermentation, and then blended with the Chardonnay after fermentation. The high acid Chardonnay is fermented in large foudres with lees stirring to give the wine more texture. Malolactic fermentation is not promoted in any of the wines, but when it occurs naturally Jean Baptiste doesn’t stop it.
The 2009 vintage is the other side of the coin from super high acid 2008. It is a lush, solar year that has produced softer wine in general. This bottling is generous where the 2008 was tight, and ready to drink while the 2008 needed cellaring.
We enjoyed the bottle that we drank as the aperitif and served a little bit of pate de maison from Dittmers with it. While the 2009 vintage is a softer one, this is not a soft wine. The Chouilly Chardonnay provided plenty of cut for the rich pate, and had us coming back for more. The flavors in this wine ran almost too strawberry shortcake- rich, ripe, dark fruit and lovely bready depth. But again, the laser beam Chouilly Chardonnay snapped it into very dry focus. This is bottle is a real treat. I hope you’ll treat yourself to one as well.
A toast to you!