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Pol Roger Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill 2009 £185.00
POL ROGER CUVEE SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL 2009
The relationship between Champagne Pol Roger and Sir Winston Churchill dates back to a providential meeting at a luncheon given by the British Ambassador to France some months after the liberation of Paris at which was served the sumptuous 1928 vintage of Pol Roger. Attending the lunch was the beautiful Odette Pol-Roger as well as the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, with whom she struck up an instant rapport. A friendship was born which continued until Churchill’s death, creating links between the Pol-Roger and Churchill families which are still as strong to this day.
The pressures of his post sadly prevented Churchill ever paying a visit to 44 Avenue de Champagne, the home of Champagne Pol Roger, but he nonetheless proclaimed it “the most drinkable address in the world”. As recompense for breaking his promise to visit he sent Odette a copy of his Memoirs inscribed “Cuvée de Réserve, mise en bouteille au Château de Chartwell”. He even named one of his racehorses “Pol Roger” and the filly strode to victory at Kempton Park in 1953, Coronation Year.
THE “CUVÉE SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL”
Champagne Pol Roger created their Prestige Cuvée in homage to Sir Winston Churchill mindful of the qualities that he sought in his champagne: robustness, a full-bodied character and relative maturity. The exact blend is a closely guarded family secret but it is undeniable that the composition would meet with the approval of the man to whom it is dedicated: “My tastes are simple, I am easily satisfied with the best”. Pinot Noir predominates, providing structure, breadth and robustness whilst Chardonnay contributes elegance, finesse and subtlety. Composed exclusively of grapes sourced from Grand Cru Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards which were already under vine during Churchill’s lifetime, “Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill” is only made in the very best vintages and is always released later than the other vintage-dated Champagnes from Pol Roger, marking Churchill’s appreciation for older wines.
The wine has an inviting, bright golden hue, and a fine, regular stream of bubbles. At first the refined nose exudes subtle hints of brioche and sweet spice combining with citrus flavours and floral fragrances. As the wine warms in the glass, it becomes more powerful and the nose develops complex nuances of toasted nuts, acacia blossom and honeycomb. The palate is round and creamy supported by notes of fresh fruit. The structure is opulent, underpinned by fabulous balance. The finish is long and powerful.
The weight, balance and mineral freshness means that this champagne could be served with Parmigano Reggiano matured for 18 months, a stuffed capon façon demi-deuil or sweetbreads cooked with morels
Pol Roger's 2009 Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill has turned out very well, offering up a demonstrative bouquet of golden apples, clear honey, hazelnuts and fresh pastry that's still quite primary. Full-bodied, fleshy and textural, it's deep and concentrated, with an ample core of fruit, ripe but racy acids, a pinpoint mousse and a long, penetrating finish. This is an expressive, deceptively immediate rendition of this bottling, yet despite its charm out of the gates, readers willing to wait at least five years will be rewarded with significant additional complexity.
Reviewed by William Kelley