#76 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2021
The Collection 242 blend is dominated by Chardonnay which was of exceptional quality in the 2017 vintage. The perfectly ripe Chardonnay grapes lend the wine its aromas of ripe, sweet fruit complemented by subtle oaky notes. The palate is rich and ripe with a luxurious texture that coats the palate, the signature of an outstanding Chardonnay. The Pinot noir and Meunier grapes from the Vallée de la Marne complete the wine’s broad, luscious, smooth and juicy character. The finish is energetic and fresh.
Blend: 42% Chardonnay, 36% Pinot Noir, 22% Meunier
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
"Roederer's Brut Premier was created in the 1980's to prove to consumers that we could deliver consistent quality with a blend that compensated for less than perfectly ripe vintages," explains Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon. "We were blending in pursuit of maturity, of ripeness. The concept behind the Brut Collection is the opposite: we're looking for freshness—and we are embracing singularity, something we're emphasizing by enumerating each year's blend." This project has been in the making since 2012, when Lecaillon set aside 21,000 liters of wine to constitute a perpetual reserve aged in large tanks without malolactic fermentation. Sourcing has evolved too: less must is coming from cooperatives, and only vineyards cultivated without the use of herbicides inform the blend. A dedicated team oversees all this, visiting every grower three times per year. And vinification is parcel by parcel to deliver a maximum of blending components. Rating : 93+
Lécaillon bases the Collection blend on a “perpetual reserve,” held in stainless steel since 2012, with wine added in each vintage: half pinot noir, half chardonnay, and no malolactic conversion. He included some oak-aged reserve wines before selecting individual parcel wines from partner growers in 2017 (Roederer’s 242nd harvest). The scent is floral and seashell-mineral, the texture caressing, then tense with energy. This is a wine about harmony and structure rather than fruit, exciting to taste and to drink.
Champagne Louis Roederer was founded in 1776 in Reims, France and is one of the rare family owned companies, which is still managed by the Roederer family. In 1833, Louis Roederer inherited the company from his uncle and renamed the company under his namesake. Under his leadership, the company rapidly grew while remaining true to their philosophy of uncompromising quality. Today, the company is under the helm of Jean-Claude Rouzaud and his son Frédéric who continue to place quality before quantity.
Champagne Louis Roederer is one of the only French champagne producers to own nearly 75 percent of the grapes in the most desirable vineyards in the Champagne. The property is located on 450 acres in the finest villages of Montagne de Reims, Côtes des Blancs, and Valleé de la Marne. Each region is selected to produce Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with the elegance needed for perfectly balanced champagne. The Louis Roederer vineyards rate an average 98 percent based on France’s statutory 100-point classification scale.
The reserve wine is then tasted and graded by a team of Roederer specialists. They choose as many as 40 different wines from several lots for the blend. For the final touch, the wine is then added in order to enhance the cuvee and guarantee consistency while retaining the champagne's characteristics.
Associated with luxury, celebration, and romance, the region, Champagne, is home to the world’s most prized sparkling wine. In order to bear the label, ‘Champagne’, a sparkling wine must originate from this northeastern region of France—called Champagne—and adhere to strict quality standards. Made up of the three towns Reims, Épernay, and Aÿ, it was here that the traditional method of sparkling wine production was both invented and perfected, birthing a winemaking technique as well as a flavor profile that is now emulated worldwide.
Well-drained, limestone and chalky soil defines much of the region, which lend a mineral component to its wines. Champagne’s cold, continental climate promotes ample acidity in its grapes but weather differences from year to year can create significant variation between vintages. While vintage Champagnes are produced in exceptional years, non-vintage cuvées are produced annually from a blend of several years in order to produce Champagnes that maintain a consistent house style.
With nearly negligible exceptions, . These can be blended together or bottled as individual varietal Champagnes, depending on the final style of wine desired. Chardonnay, the only white variety, contributes freshness, elegance, lively acidity and notes of citrus, orchard fruit and white flowers. Pinot Noir and its relative Pinot Meunier, provide the backbone to many blends, adding structure, body and supple red fruit flavors. Wines with a large proportion of Pinot Meunier will be ready to drink earlier, while Pinot Noir contributes to longevity. Whether it is white or rosé, most Champagne is made from a blend of red and white grapes—and uniquely, rosé is often produce by blending together red and white wine. A Champagne made exclusively from Chardonnay will be labeled as ‘blanc de blancs,’ while ones comprised of only red grapes are called ‘blanc de noirs.’
A term typically reserved for Champagne and Sparkling Wines, non-vintage or simply “NV” on a label indicates a blend of finished wines from different vintages (years of harvest). To make non-vintage Champagne, typically the current year’s harvest (in other words, the current vintage) forms the base of the blend. Finished wines from previous years, called “vins de reserve” are blended in at approximately 10-50% of the total volume in order to achieve the flavor, complexity, body and acidity for the desired house style. A tiny proportion of Champagnes are made from a single vintage.
There are also some very large production still wines that may not claim one particular vintage. This would be at the discretion of the winemaker’s goals for character of the final wine.