Collection 244 Champagne MV Half Bottle 375ml
The Collection series has opened 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 244. The number refers to the youngest vintage in the blend, 2019, which was Roederer’s 244th harvest. It was a scorching vintage that yielded magnificent maturity and dense flavour. The major winemaking differences between this and the old Brut Premier NV 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 244 was crafted using 10% oak-aged reserve wines (from 2012-2018), 36% Perpetual Reserve, and 54% of the finest grapes harvested in 2019. 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 deep and rich wine with a gorgeously silky texture. Expect ripe peach, crisp pear, blood orange, baked apple, baguette, lemon meringue pie, mirabelle plum, almond croissant, festive gingerbread, grapefruit sorbet, honeycomb, blossom, chalk, smoke and a pinch of sea salt. 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.
£8.27 per 100.00ml
SKU No.: 4048681
Style No.: 954286
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