Pol Roger, Champagne Sir Winston Churchill

Pol Roger, Champagne Sir Winston Churchill, 2008

  • icon-type Type

    Sparkling

  • icon-year Year

    2008

  • icon-style Style

    Dry

  • icon-country Country

    France

  • icon-alcohollevel Alcohol level

    12.5%

  • icon-grapevariety Grape variety
    Pinot Noir 60%, Chardonnay 40%
  • Rating

    JS 97

The opulent golden colour of the wine is enlivened by a fine, harmonious stream of bubbles. At first, the rich nose boasts notes of white flowers and freshly baked brioche aromas. As the wine warms in the glass, it exudes scents of dried fruits and toasted almonds and hazelnuts, combining with a hint of orange zest.

On the palate, the wine is immediately powerful and yet exquisitely well-balanced; refreshing flavours of citrus fruit, notably grapefruit, are coupled with creamy notes of pastry.

This wine combines the fullness of the much-celebrated 2008 vintage with the unparalleled and much-loved style of the Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill. A long, lingering finish indicates that this wine has fantastic ageing potential.

About Pol Roger

Champagne Pol Roger is a prominent Champagne producer based in Epernay. It is known for its elegant, balanced house style made from equal proportions of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, and for its close affiliation with British wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill. The house's top cuvée is named for him.

The house was officially established in 1849, although at least two generations had been involved in the growing Champagne industry before Pol Roger began to make and sell his wine. In the mid-1850s, export became a key focus and the house began to eschew the traditional sweetness of Champagne, producing a drier style that was more in line with British tastes. The house grew throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries, remaining strong throughout the period of American Prohibition and the Russian Revolution. Today, Pol Roger produces around 1.8 million bottles a year.

Pol Roger grows just over half of its grapes on its 89 hectares (220 acres) of estate vineyards, with the rest supplied by contract growers with whom the company has long-term relationships. Everything is done by hand in the winery and Pol Roger is home to the largest remuage team in Champagne, as well as some of the deepest cellars in Epernay. The winery has had considerable investment in the last ten years.

The Pol Roger range includes a non vintage brut, a vintage brut, a demi sec, a brut nature, a rosé and a Blanc de Blancs as well as the Sir Winston Churchill, which is only made in the best years. The latter was established in 1975 to honour the great man, who had been close friends with Odette Pol Roger as well as a big fan of the Champagne itself. The blend used in the Sir Winston Churchill cuvée is a closely guarded secret but is dominated by Pinot Noir for structure and strength and finished with Chardonnay for its elegance.

Grape variety
Chardonnay

Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape variety used in the production of white wine. The variety originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France, but is now grown wherever wine is produced, from England to New Zealand. For new and developing wine regions, growing Chardonnay is seen as a ‘rite of passage’ and an easy entry into the international wine market.

The Chardonnay grape itself is neutral, with many of the flavours commonly associated with the wine being derived from such influences as terroir and oak. It is vinified in many different styles, from the lean, crisply mineral wines of Chablis, France, to New World wines with oak and tropical fruit flavours. In cool climates (such as Chablis and the Carneros AVA of California), Chardonnay wine tends to be medium to light body with noticeable acidity and flavours of green plum, apple, and pear. In warmer locations (such as the Adelaide Hills and Mornington Peninsula in Australia and Gisborne and Marlborough region of New Zealand), the flavours become more citrus, peach, and melon, while in very warm locations (such as the Central Coast AVA of California), more fig and tropical fruit notes such as banana and mango come out. Wines that have gone through malolactic fermentation tend to have softer acidity and fruit flavours with buttery mouthfeel and hazelnut notes.

Chardonnay is an important component of many sparkling wines around the world, including Champagne and Franciacorta in Italy.

Chardonnay's popularity peaked in the late 1980s, then gave way to a backlash among those wine connoisseurs who saw the grape as a leading negative component of the globalisation of wine. Nonetheless, it is one of the most widely planted grape varieties, with 210,000 hectares (520,000 acres) worldwide, second only to Airén among white wine grapes and fifth among all wine grapes.

Chardonnay lends itself to almost any style of wine making from dry still wines, to sparkling wines to sweet late harvest and even botrytized wines (though its susceptibility to other less favourable rot makes these wines rarer). The two winemaking decisions that most widely affect the end result of a Chardonnay wine is whether or not to use malolactic fermentation and the degree of oak influence used for the wine. With malolactic fermentation (or MLF), the harder malic acid gets converted into the softer lactic acid, and diacetyl which creates the "buttery-ness" that is associated with some styles of Chardonnay. The wines that do not go through MLF will have more green (unripe) apple like flavours. Oak can be introduced during fermentation or after in the form of the barrel aging. Depending on the amount of charring that the oak was treated with, this can introduce a "toastiness" and flavours that many wine drinkers mistake as a characteristic of the grape itself. These flavours can include caramel, cream, smoke, spice, coconut, cinnamon, cloves and vanilla.

Other winemaking decisions that can have a significant effect include the temperature of fermentation and what time, if any, that the wine allowed to spend aging on the lees. Burgundian winemaking tends to favour extended contact on the lees and even "stirring up" the lees within the wine while it is aging in the barrel in a process known as bâttonage. Colder fermentation temperatures produces more "tropical" fruit flavours like mango and pineapple. The "Old World" style of winemaking favours the use of wild, or ambient yeast, though some will also use specially cultivated yeast that can impart aromatic qualities to the wine. A particular style of yeast used in Champagne is the Prise de Mousse that is cultivated for use worldwide in sparkling Chardonnay wines. A potential drawback of using wild yeast is that the fermentation process can go very slow with the results of the yeasts being very unpredictable and producing potentially a very different wine each year. One Burgundian winemaker that favours the use of only wild yeast is Domaine des Comtes Lafon which had the fermentation of its 1963 Chardonnay batch take 5 years to complete when the fermentation process normally only takes a matter of weeks.

The time of harvesting is a crucial decision because the grape quickly begins to lose acidity as it ripens. For sparkling wine production, the grapes will be harvested early and slightly unripe to maintain the acid levels. Sparkling Chardonnay based wines tend to exhibit more floral and steely flavours in their youth. As the wine ages, particularly if it spends significant time on lees, the wines will develop "toasty" notes. Chardonnay grapes usually have little trouble developing sugar content, even in cooler climates, which translates into high potential alcohol levels and limits the need for chaptalisation. On the flip side, low acid levels can be a concern which make the wine taste "flabby" and dull. Winemakers can counteract this by adding tartaric acid in a process known as "acidification". In cooler climates, the extract and acidity of Chardonnay is magnified which has the potential of producing very concentrated wines that can develop through bottle aging. Chardonnay can blend well with other grapes and still maintain some of its unique character. The grapes most often blended with Chardonnay include Chenin Blanc, Colombard and Sémillon.

Due to the "malleability" of Chardonnay in winemaking and its ability to reflect its terroir, there is not one distinct universal "style" or set of constants that could be applied to Chardonnay made across the globe. According to Jancis Robinson, a sense of "smokiness" is one clue that could be picked up in a blind tasting of Chardonnay but there are many styles that do not have any "smoky" notes. Compared to other white wine grapes like Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer and Viognier-Chardonnay has a more subtle and muted nose with no overwhelming aromatics that jump out of the wine glass. The identifying styles of Chardonnay are regionally based. For example, pineapple notes are more commonly associated with Chardonnay from Napa Valley while Chablis will have more notes of green apples. While many examples of Chardonnay can benefit from a few years of bottle aging, especially if they have high acidity, most Chardonnays are meant to be consumed in their youth. A notable exception to this is the most premium examples of Chablis and white Burgundies.

Alternative Names: Morillon, Pinot Chardonnay, Feiner Weisser Burgunder

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is a red wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera. The name may also refer to wines created predominantly from Pinot Noir grapes. The name is derived from the French words for pine and black. The word pine alludes to the grape variety having tightly clustered, pine cone-shaped bunches of fruit.

Pinot Noir grapes are grown around the world, mostly in the cooler climates, and the grape is chiefly associated with the Burgundy region of France. Pinot Noir is now used to make red wines around the world, as well as Champagne, and such sparkling white wines as the Italian Franciacorta, and English sparkling wines. Regions that have gained a reputation for red pinot Noir wines include: the Willamette Valley of Oregon, the Carneros, Central Coast, Sonoma Coast and Russian River AVAs of California, the Elgin and Walker Bay wine regions of South Africa, Mornington Peninsula, Adelaide Hills, Great Southern, Tasmania and Yarra Valley in Australia and the Central Otago, Martinborough and Marlborough wine regions of New Zealand. Pinot Noir is the most-planted varietal (38%) used in sparkling wine production in Champagne and other wine regions.

Pinot Noir is a difficult variety to cultivate and transform into wine. The grape's tendency to produce tightly packed clusters makes it susceptible to several viticultural hazards involving rot that require diligent canopy management. The thin skins and low levels of phenolic compounds lends pinot to producing mostly lightly coloured, medium-bodied and low-tannin wines that can often go through phases of uneven and unpredictable aging. When young, wines made from Pinot Noir tend to have red fruit aromas of cherries, raspberries and strawberries. As the wine ages, pinot has the potential to develop more vegetal and "barnyard" aromas that can contribute to the complexity of the wine.

Alternative Names: Pinot Nero, Pinot Negro, Spätburgunder, Blauburgunder

About Champagne

Champagne is the name of the world's most famous sparkling wine, the appellation under which it is sold, and the French wine region it comes from. While it has been used to refer to sparkling wines from all over the world – a point of much controversy and legal wrangling in recent decades – Champagne is a legally controlled and restricted name. See Champagne wine labels.

Located at a northern latitude of 49°N, the Champagne region lies at the northern edge of the world's vineyard-growing areas, with lower average temperatures than any other French wine region. In this kind of cool climate, the growing season is rarely warm enough to ripen grapes to the levels required for standard winemaking. Even in temperate years, Champagne's grapes still bear the hallmark acidity of a marginal climate, and it was only the discovery of secondary fermentation that provided a wine style capable of harnessing – and even embracing – this tartness.

Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay are the primary grape varieties used to make Champagne – a recipe used for sparkling wines across the world. It is a little-known fact that four other varieties are also permitted for use in Champagne and are still employed today, albeit in tiny quantities. They are Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Petit Meslier and Arbane. All seven varieties are still used together in at least one producer's Champagne; the Laherte Freres Champagne 7 is the most salient example.

Depending on exactly how a Champagne is made, can take any one of various forms. The key Champagne styles differ in their colour, sweetness, base grape varieties, and whether they are the product of a single vintage or several (Non-Vintage). The whites may be either Blanc de Noirs (made from black-skinned grapes), Blanc de Blancs (made from green-skinned grapes) or just plain Blanc (made from any combination of the permitted varieties). Pink Champagne Rosé is made either by adding red wine to a white blend or sometimes by fermenting the juice in contact with the skins. These types all come with varying degrees of sweetness – not necessarily the result of residual sugar, but due to the addition of a dosage just before the wine is finally bottled.

Grand Cru Champagnes and Premier Cru Champagnes are those made from the region's very finest and highest-rated vineyards. However, branding is so important in Champagne that the Maison (producer) that brand names take priority over appellation titles and such honorifics as Grand Cru and Premier Cru.

The production process for Champagne is similar to that for other wines, but includes an additional (and vital) stage, during which a second fermentation is started in the bottle by the addition of yeast and sugars. It is this that generates the carbon dioxide bubbles responsible for the pop and sparkle that are the symbols of Champagne.

All Champagne must spend at least 12 months aging on its lees - the spent yeast cells from the second fermentation. An extended period on lees beyond this can have a marked effect on the yeasty characteristics of the final wine. Non-vintage Champagnes must mature in bottle for a minimum of 15 months in total before release (i.e. an extra 3 months after the yeast sediment is removed at disgorgement) though in practice 2 to 3 years is a more typical figure. Vintage wines must spend 36 months in bottle before being sent to market, though most are released after 4 to 10 years.

\Most Champagne is sold without a vintage statement, making it "Non-Vintage" or NV. The main reason for this is the variability in vintages which results from the marginal climate here; by blending vintages together, the effect of a bad year is lessened. In years of exceptional quality, however, many houses release a vintage Champagne (millesimé in French) made exclusively from grapes harvested in the stated year. These are typically designed for longer bottle ageing and are made to higher quality specifications.

Regular price $1,639.00

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This is a wine from our Overseas - In Bond Collection. The wine is quoted as a price in S$ for purchase and transfer into a UK bonded warehouse. The purchase price is a duty/tax free price and does not include delivery to Singapore. Please contact us below if you wish to enquire delivery or storage options for a wine from our Overseas - In Bond Collection to Singapore or elsewhere.

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