I guess being retired and attending some wine tastings, like I do at the Fine Wine Source in Livonia, Michigan is not a bad job. Representatives from the Vintage Wine Company were pouring and discussing wines that they represent from Maisons Marques & Domaines an international wine management company that was originally formed as the sales and marketing arm of Champagne Louis Roederer USA, Inc.
Louis Roederer is a Champagne house located in Reims one of the two main cities of Champagne. The house was founded in 1776, and while it has always been family owned in 1833, Louis Roederer took over the business from his uncle and renamed the company after himself. One of the most unique business concepts at the time was when in 1845 he began acquiring some Grand Cru vineyards and got into the cultivation as well as the winemaking, because at that time, the houses just bought the grapes from the vineyards. The house now owns two-hundred-forty hectares of their own vineyards. They are also integrating the concept of biodynamic farming into their vineyards.
The first of the Champagnes that I tasted was Champagne Louis Roederer Brut Premier NV, Brut Premier is their designation for non-vintage, because otherwise the wine would read Brut and the Year. This wine is a blend of forty percent Pinot Noir, forty percent Chardonnay and twenty percent Pinot Meunier and the juice comes from forty different plots. There are no shortcuts in making Champagne, as they use assorted casks and the juice used in the Premier has a minimum aging period of three years on the lees, and then the wine is rested for six months after the disgorgement to perfect and maintain the maturity. The wine offers the classic taste of brioche and vanilla. The second wine that I had was Champagne Louis Roederer Rosé 2012 and 2012 was a very difficult year to call, because production was down due to the weather conditions. This wine is a blend of sixty-three percent Pinot Noir and thirty-seven percent Chardonnay and is entirely from estate grown vines from one of their earliest cru vineyards. This wine is made using the saignée process, as the house calls their “infusion” technique, a small amount of Chardonnay juice is added to the Pinot Noir maceration which then ferment together with no malolactic fermentation, the wine is bottle aged for four years and then another six months after the disgorging. This was a very refreshing glass of Champagne with offerings of currants, oranges and vanilla with limestone terroir and finishing off with hazelnuts and very vibrant and fresh despite its age. Yes, I was a happy taster.
I really enjoyed my visit to Roederer a few years ago. They make some great sparklers!