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 the sumptuous 1928 vintage of Pol Roger was served. 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 Chateau 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 Story of the Vintage
Winter was cold with little sunshine; it was marked by frequent frosts and several incidences of snowfall. The onset of Spring-like weather was delayed, impeding budbreak, and the month of May saw unseasonably low temperatures and high rainfall. June saw a return to normal temperatures, with July and August characterised by hot, sunny and dry spells.
A period of rain at the beginning of September allowed the grapes to swell, and ensuing dry weather encouraged full maturation of the vines, albeit a fortnight late compared to the average of the last ten years. Harvest began on 24th September and lasted until 9th October. The 2013 crop showed a potential alcohol of 9.8% and a total acidity.
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.
With its splendid golden hue and coppery bright tints, this Champagne is captivating to the eye. The first nose opens with a subtle scent of dried rose petals before developing into well-rounded vanilla and candied fruit.
On the palate, the wine is balanced and underpinned with a hint of citrus fruit and delightful freshness. Enchanting and lucsious, as it opens up it reveals notes of pattiserie, quince and green tea, magnified by deliciously delicate bubbles, characteristic of this wine of power and character.
The high proportion of Pinot Noir in the blend lends the wine structure and length as well as a perfect balance of generosity and elegance: a veritable symphony of sensations.
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