During the recent European summer - I had the pleasure once again to visit one of the few remaining great family-owned Champagne Houses - Pol Roger. Epernay is at the centre of Champagne and at the centre of Epernay is Pol Roger, with its cellars running under the Avenue de Champagne, the winemaking address of some of the most renowned vintage and non-vintage champagnes to be produced over the past 150 years. With many more waiting quietly maturing underground in over 7 kilometres and in 3 levels of dark cellars. Crafting exquisite wines, so often the first choice of wine writers and connoisseurs, and often described as ‘Sophisticated Simplicity’.
I was in the best possible hands for my time at Pol Roger - as Laurent D'Harcourt - the Export Director took me on a guided tour of the newly upgraded winemaking facilities that have been a major project and nearing an end. If you, like other connoisseurs felt that Pol Roger were crafting stunning Champagnes before, with their new facilities and custom made equipment, the future only looks bright for all whom enjoy quality Champagne.
After the winery tour - Laurent took me through a private tasting of the most recent Champagne releases - that will be making their way around the world and to New Zealand in the near future. These included: Pol Roger Pure, Non-Vintage, Blanc de Blancs, Rose and the exquisite Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill.
I always find great attention to detail along with style and finesse in Pol Roger. They craft a number of non-vintage and vintages cuvées. The non-vintage cuvées, of which there are two, are characterised by the inclusion of one-third each of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. It was a pleasure to experience the Brut Réserve - an excellent example of the style. So was the Chardonnay Vintage, the Pol Roger ‘Blanc de Blancs’, and the vintage Rosé. But the stand out - were the two wines which the Champagne house has earned such a tremendous reputation - the Vintage Brut and the prestige cuvée, Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill.
As with all visits - one simply don’t wish to leave, but I had to catch a plane in Paris early the next morning, so reluctantly I had to end a memorable day.