A delicate Champagne, with spring blossom, smoke, yellow apple
and anise flavors set on a fine-grained texture. The finish is fresh
and juicy, with the smoky note lingering on the modest finish. Better
than previously reviewed.
Founded in 1776 in Reims, Louis Roederer is one of the most prestigious and admired Champagnes. In the mid-19th century the Russian Czar Alexander II was such a fan of Roederer that he ordered a special cuvee for his court and Louis Roederer was later designated by the Russian ruling family as the official Champagne supplier to the Imperial Court. Today the estate is owned and operated by the Rouzaud family, making it one of the few historic Champagne estates that remain entirely independent. The estate makes a number of Champagnes, from a non-vintage Brut to its justly famous Cristal Rose Millesime and Cristal Millesime. There are 506 acres of vines planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Louis Roederer is known for its relatively high percentage of Chardonnay, usually at least 40%. Vines are on average 25 years old and there is a total annual production of some 2.7 million bottles. Of the total some 500,000 are Cristal Millesime and 20,000 are Cristal Rose Millesime.
Champagne is a small, beautiful wine growing region northeast of Paris whose famous name is misused a million times a day. As wine enthusiasts and all French people are well aware, only sparkling wines produced in Champagne from grapes grown in Champagne can be called Champagne. Sparkling wines produced anywhere else, including in other parts of France, must be called something besides Champagne. Champagne producers are justifiably protective of their wines and the prestige associated with true Champagne. Though the region was growing grapes and making wines in ancient times, it began specializing in sparkling wine in the 17th century, when a Benedictine monk named Dom Pierre Pérignon formulated a set guidelines to improve the quality of the local sparkling wines. Despite legends to the contrary, Dom Pérignon did not “invent” sparkling wine, but his rules about aggressive pruning, small yields and multiple pressings of the grapes were widely adopted, and by the 18th and 19th centuries Champagne had become the wine of choice in fashionable courts and palaces throughout Europe. Today there are 75,000 acres of vineyards in Champagne growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. Champagne’s official appellation system classifies villages as Grand Cru or Premier Cru, though there are also many excellent Champagnes that simply carry the regional appellation. Along with well-known international Champagne houses there are numerous so-called “producer Champagnes,” meaning wines made by families who, usually for several or more generations, have worked their own vineyards and produced Champagne only from their own grapes.