We’ve explored Pol Roger 2012 and we like it

Pol Roger has longer been one of this country’s favourite Champagne Houses, always outperforming for its size. Long associated with the great British leader, Sir Winston Churchill, Pol even named their flagship Champagne after him. As yet, their 2012 Sir Winston has not hit the shelves (2009 is current), but the rest of their fantastic 12s have arrived. Stunning stuff, which leads one to wonder just how good that 2012 Sir W will be. Time will tell. 

Pol produces richly flavoured, finely balanced champagnes, which offer excellent length and can age amazingly well. A well-stored bottle of an older Pol Roger vintage is one of the world’s great wine experiences. Their wines are sheer class. 

One curiosity. Pol is largely a Pinot Noir House and yet they produce one of the greatest blanc des blancs from all Champagne. 

2012 is the next great vintage of the century, after 2008 (next cab off the rank, so to speak, is likely to be 2018) and 2002. In very general terms, 2008 was a classic year, elegant, refined, finesse. Vibrant acidity, laser-like focus and great length. These are wines that will age for many years, the closest thing I have seen to the superlative 1988 vintage. For me, this is a style I absolutely adore. 

2012 is a year when Pinot Noir is considered the superior grape. The wines are much more exuberant, richer, riper, more forward and open than the ‘08s. 2012 offers a decadence that is impossible not to love. These are wines which will also age well for many years, though perhaps not quite as long as the best from 2008. Put as much of both vintages in your cellar as you can afford. 

Pol Roger 2012 ($160) – A blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay, aged for seven years on lees before disgorgement, with further time in the cellars, dosage is just 7 grams/litre. The grapes were sourced from twenty vineyards across the Montagne de Reims and Cote des Blancs, both Grand cru and Premier cru. The wine sees full malo. Riddling is by hand, which is the exception these days. Glorious wine, one which would make many Houses very proud to have as their flagship. 

Pale green gold, the aromas open with stonefruits and citrus, more specifically white peach and grapefruit. A minerally backing. Florals, notably white jasmine, and a seabreeze freshness. A hint of red fruits sneak in and out every now and then. Like a perfect Queensland autumn morning, intense blue sky, ocean sparkling like diamonds have been scattered across it. Great length, which carries the vibrant acidity with it. Fine balance. Decadent, hedonistic. The stonefruit and peaches dominate the finish. This wine has an assured future ahead of it and should drink magnificently for many years to come. A glorious champagne now, with even better things to come. 97. 

Pol Roger Rosé 2012 ($195) – A blend of 50% Pinot Noir and 35% Chardonnay, with the remaining 15% Pinot Noir vinified, ‘en rouge’ and then added later, the typical manner in which most Rosé is made in Champagne. Dosage is 8 grams/litre and again, full malo and hand riddling. 

Ripe raspberry notes, spices, fresh berries, dry herbs, a hint of milk chocolate. Bright acidity, medium length. A bold and full-flavoured style of rosé, which has a lovely cream and berry note. Delightful slippery texture. Don’t be afraid to put this away in the cellar. It has an exciting future ahead. 94. 

Pol Roger Blanc de Blancs 2012 ($195) – An astonishing achievement, given this is a ‘Pinot year’. 100% Chardonnay, 7 grams dosage, with the grapes sourced from some of the finest Grand crus in the Cote des Blancs – Oiry, Chouilly, Cramant, Avize and Oger (it doesn’t get much better than that little collection). Again, full malo and hand riddling. 

Entrancing green/gold colour. Aromas move through hazelnut, fresh lemons, peaches, white jasmine. A combination of ripeness and richness but always balanced, always refined. This wine combines the elegance of the House with the exuberance of the vintage. Great length, it just persists. Clean, refreshing and complex. A very gentle smoked note creeps in near the finish. Vibrant acidity, intensely focused. Again, a wine with such an exciting future ahead of it. Don’t be swayed by 2012 having the reputation as a Pinot year. It might well be, but that does not mean that there are not some wonderful Chardonnay-based wines. 97.

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