Collection 242 Champagne MV
94 points, “Aromas of cooked apple, bread dough and lemon tart follow through to a full body with round, delicious fruit and a rich, flavourful finish. Yet, it remains tight and fine with lovely, compressed bubbles. New energy and freshness.” – James Suckling
92 points, “Incidentally, there is no Vintage, Cristal or Cristal Rosé in 2017, so all the best lots went into this bottling.” – Antonio Galloni
92 points, “The palate has encyclopaedic depth, the intricacies of the Perpetual Reserve weaving their early magic; almond, sloe, gingerbread and apples; the finish has a pleasing twist of bitterness, courtesy of the small percentage of oak-aged reserve wine.” – Decanter
Collection 242 opens a new chapter in Champagne’s illustrious history, and you can expect the other major houses to follow suit shortly. Responding to climate change, Louis Roederer has ceased production of its best-selling Brut Premier NV, replacing it with this new multi-vintage cuvée. When Brut Premier NV was first released in 1986, Louis Roederer was pressing for larger yields in a much cooler climate, when it was much harder to ripen grapes. Now that the globe is warming and there’s a shift towards more sustainable farming, they are “chasing freshness” and “the future will be organic and biodynamic”, according to Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, Cellar Master and Executive Vice President at Louis Roederer. So, gone is the tight, focused and nervy Brut Premier NV, replaced by a more expressive, more complex and more spicy modern style.
Following in the footsteps of Jacquesson’s 700 series and Krug’s Grand Cuvée, Louis Roederer releases Collection 242. The number refers to the youngest vintage in the blend, 2017, which was Roederer’s 242nd harvest. It was a tricky year, in which no Cristal or Cristal Rosé were produced, so all the grapes that would have gone into those iconic wines, were fed into this instead. The major winemaking differences are three-fold. Firstly, Louis Roederer has increased the proportion of oak-aged reserve wines. These come from young plots on the Cristal estate and the large French oak vats add more spice to the wine, rather like seasoning a dish. Secondly, the house established a Perpetual Reserve – an approach also employed by respected Grower Champagne houses, like Bérêche & Fils and Jacques Selosse. The Perpetual Reserve is a vast stainless-steel tank containing reductively aged (oxygen-free) older vintages that is continually topped up in the same way that Sherry producers use their solera system. Most producers will keep vintages separately in smaller tanks, where they lose freshness. This approach maintains the freshness, adding a chalky and saline character. And finally, the dosage (the sweetness added at the end to balance the wine) has been reduced, as the ripeness is already present.
Collection 242 was crafted using 10% oak-aged reserve wines (from 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016), 34% Perpetual Reserve, and 56% of the finest grapes harvested in 2017. Fined with pea protein, the final bottling is vegan friendly (although you may want to consider some of the requirements of biodynamic farming). The result is a rich and resonant wine with a gorgeously silky texture. Expect baked apple, bread dough, lemon meringue pie, apricot, greengage, pear and spring blossom, followed by almond croissant, festive gingerbread, toast and a sorbet of blackberries and raspberries. If this is the future of Louis Roederer, we absolutely love it.
Founded in 1776 and famed for being the producers of Cristal, Louis Roederer is one of the last major Champagne houses to still be independently family-run. It falls under the stewardship of the Rouzauds – one of the wine world’s most powerful families and owners of Domaines Ott, Champagne Deutz, Ramos Pinto Port, Merry Edwards and Diamond Creek in the USA, Maison Delas in the Rhône and Bordeaux’s iconic Château Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande.
£6.93 per 100.00ml
SKU No.: 3422677
Style No.: 873085
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