The Date and Time: Tuesday, October 14, 2014 7PM to 10 PM
The Event: Louis Roederer Champagne tasting and discussion with Jean Baptiste Lecaillon, Chef de Caves/Winemaker and Executive VP of Production.
The Venue: Sassafraz Restaurant.
The Target Audience: wine writers
The Quote/Background: The House was founded in 1776, although Louis Roederer inherited it in 1833 and gave it his own name. It is still a family owned business, with several Grand Cru vineyards. Only 30% or so of the grapes used are bought in. There is also a biodynamic-farmed component of 65 hectares. The House style is known for its freshness and bright fruit, no matter how old the vintage. M. Lecaillon was brought on board and soon began working with Roederer California and a similar venture in Tasmania.
The Wines: We began with the Roederer Brut Premier (+VINTAGES 268771 $ 69.95) at the reception area. It had recently been tasted by the Wine Writers' Circle of Canada, garnering praise for its bready freshness of 40% chardonnay, 40% pinot noir, and 20% pinot meunier. Then we tasted two Cristals (2002 and 1995) while we ate. M. Lecaillon emphasized that because of the nature of the company's champagnes, they were perfect for matching with food, and he wanted to prove his point. Some of us had butternut squash soup while others had a tomato salad with crispy prosciutto. Roederer Cristal 2002 is 62% pinot noir and 38% chardonnay, with an intense honeyed-toasted hazel nut complexity. The 2006 (latest in the market) is at the LCBO ($287.95) Vintages, and a few hundred bottles of the 1995 will be here in next year's LCBO Classics catalogue. The 1995 again showed more pronounced hazelnuts and some aging, yet was still elegant and fresh. It had spent 10 years on the lees, disgorged, and then 10 more years in bottle by 2015. For my main dish, I had the organic BC Chinook salmon with a roasted mascarpone orzo, pine nuts and broccolini. Here we had the Roederer Rose 2009 (62% pinot noir saignee) followed by the Brut 2008 (70% pinot noir, 30% chardonnay, 37% total done in oak barrel fermentation). The Rose 2009 showed tons of red fruit and some peaches, with candied notes. The Brut 2008 showed a composite of orachard and stone fruit, with some back notes of dried orchard fruit and toasty notes.
We had a short discussion before returning to the food with a cheese platter of local artisan delights (blue, cream, hard, cheddar) served with dried fruit and flatbreads. M. Lecaillon chose to accompany the platter with Roederer Nature 2006. This is the first new addition to Roederer in 40 years. It is a medium-dry terroir based Champagne using optimally ripe fruit that would require minimal corrective measures. And of course there was no dosage. It was launched in London just this September after eight years of storage. It was mostly pinot noir (no malolactic fermentation) with a small amount of chardonnay and an even smaller amount of pinot meunier. It was a glorious Champagne, one of my faves since it was bone dry but with fresh fruitiness maintaining its integrity. Actually, it was hard to imagine dessert after this, but we had milk chocolate mousse (olive oil ganache and roasted candied almonds) – and the Roederer Blanc de Blancs 2008, with about a fifth of it vinified in oak with no malolactic fermentation. It is normally aged about 5.5 years. The style is on the slightly sweet side, but more with hints and tones of honeyed candied fruit peel and dried fruitiness. It went well with the augmented chocolate.
The Contact Person: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 94.