Justerini & Brooks has long been a great supporter of Pol Roger; going back to the 19th Century, records show that we bought a handsome parcel of the 1874, a very great vintage that put Pol Roger on the map. The most fascinating episode in their history, though, was in 1914 when Epernay was invaded on the 4th September. The occupation did not last long, however, and as the allies pushed back, Maurice Pol Roger was allowed just enough time to coordinate the harvest, on the 21st September. It was a challenge gathering a picking team but he succeeded and as a result Pol Roger was one of the very few Champagnes made that year.
There can be no more fitting celebration of this proud history than the launch of a new vintage of the House’s top Cuvée; Sir Winston Churchill. The 2004 Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill, a Pinot Noir dominated blend with Chardonnay, made exclusively from Grand Cru vineyards, is wonderfully present and rewarding, beautifully balanced and engaging champagne with the requisite charisma and solidity that the Churchill Cuvée demands. The vintage started and ended well with a period of cooler weather through August, yielding a sizeable crop of healthy, fine and fresh grapes. The ensuing wine is a Churchill that will provide huge pleasure now and over the medium term.
Our tasting note:
The blend is Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, dominated by the former. Ageing takes place on the lees for ten years. Clear brioche notes alongside toasted red fruits and white currants and a strong suggestion of chalk. On the palate, lots of bright, rich fruit that moves from yellow plum to white currant to greengage, presented in a bold, upfront, open and engaging fashion; though not without a certain mineral cut and precision.
Sir Winston Churchill’s love of Pol Roger Champagne was born from an ambassadorial lunch after the liberation of Paris where he met beautiful Odette Pol-Roger over a glass of her 1928. He soon became a die-hard fan proclaiming the house: "Champagne’s most drinkable address,” and he even named one of his racehorses “Pol Roger," which galloped to victory at Kempton Park in 1953. Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill was posthumously created in homage to the former Prime Minister - the first vintage being 1975. It is only made in the best vintages and is always released later than the majority of other vintage Champagne, marking Churchill’s appreciation for older wines.