Louis Roederer Brut Premier Champagne 12.5% 37.5cl
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40% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Meunier.
Roederer own 200 hectares (500 acres) from the three main growing zones in Champagne.
The Cote des Blancs: 75ha of Chardonnay grapes, which provide an elegant, smooth freshness.
The Montagne de Reims: 65ha of Pinot Noir grapes, which give, power and structure.
The Vallee de la Marne: 60ha of Pinot Noir grapes which give fruitiness and roundness.
These vineyards are located in the finest villages, such as Ay, Verzenay, Vervy, Avize and Cramant where the plots rank between 95% and 100% on the official classification scale for the 'crus'.
Roederer source two thirds of their grape needs from their own vineyards, which is the largest proportion of any champagne house and enables them to have strict control over their raw materials. For example Roederer 'green harvest in July to reduce the amount of grapes and thus improve quality.
The harvest takes place usually mid September and takes around 15 days. 600 people work in the Louis Roederer vineyards, harvesting the grapes by hand. The grapes are then transported quickly and efficiently to one of Louis Roederer's three pressing centres, which are in the heart of its vineyards.
The blend of grapes used is: 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Meunier. Included in the blend is 10% of reserve wines, which give Brut Premier its extra dimension. Reserve wines are made up of the best wines from at least 3 former vintages, which are set aside to age in large oak casks in the Reserve Wine Cellar. The reserve wine cellar represents a considerable investment for the company: the value of the 700,000 litres of Reserve Wines; the initial cost and upkeep of the 150 casks originating in the forests of Chateauroux in central France; the air conditioning, filtration, and humidification of the Reserve Wine Cellar. Louis Roederer is the sole Champagne House to have such an extensive reserve cellar.
After blending and the addition of the liqueur de tirage (this starts off the secondary fermentation, which creates the sparkle in champagne) the wines are left to mature for at least four years. This is in excess of the legal minimum. The final stages involve disgorging the wine. This is where the sediment formed by the secondary fermentation is removed to give a clear liquid. At this stage the liqueur de dosage is added. These liqueur wines are the result of a meticulous selection of wines that have been aged for six to ten years in the famous oak casks. They are added to compensate for the natural acidity of the champagne and to determine the style of the champagne. Before its addition champagne is considered extra brut and the more liqueur that is added, the sweeter the champagne will be.
Brut Premier is the embodiment of Louis Roederer style, combining all the fruitiness and freshness of youth with the vinosity of a fully mature wine. This is a structured and elegantly mature wine, with a lively attack and a smooth palate. Fine bubbles and a nose of fresh fruit and hawthorn. Smooth, complex palate mingling flavours of white-fleshed fruit (apple and pear) with red berries (blackberries, raspberries, cherries) and notes of toast and almonds. A pleasurable wine, deliciously smooth and mature.