The 9th of November 2016 saw Brindco and JW Marriot in association with La Cave host a masterclass on Champagne Cristal and Louis Roederer Brut NV. The master class was conducted by Mr Thierry Wallaert, Champagne expert with the House of Louis Roederer.
The Louis Roederer estate was originally named Dubois Père & Fils. It was established in 1776 in Reims, France. In 1833, Louis Roederer inherited the company from his uncle, and renamed the Champagne House after himself.
Unlike many other estates in Champagne, The Louis Roederer Champagne estate is still independent and family owned. It is now managed by the 7th generation of the house, M. Frédéric Rouzaud.
Today, the Champagne house ships over 3.5 million bottles a year (approximately 75% of The House’s production) to various destinations around the world.
Below is a description of the wines as they were presented in the Master Class by Mr Wallaert.
Wine 1: Louis Roederer Brut Premiere (NV)
This was the first wine to be presented by Mr Wallaert
The Brut Premier NV the only non-vintage Champagne of the range. It consists of 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Meunier. 20% reserve wine is used to make this cuvee. This champagne has been aged for at least 3 year on the lees, and left for a minimum of 6 months.
The first nose of the Brut Premiere is slightly subdued. Fermentation aromas reminiscent of freshly baked bread are present. The second nose is more expressive with aromas of brioche, nuts, and fresh green apple present.
On the palate, the attack is extremely fresh and fruity bringing to mind once again the green apples that were on the nose. The evolution is creamy. The finish was mineral and long, lasting up to as much as 7 minutes.
After tasting this glass, I kept aside the wine to see what the aromas would be like towards the end of the tasting. I found that at the end of the masterclass that the bubbles were still present and persistent, and the aromas had evolved with the champagne expressing aromas of flint, dairy, and smoke. It remained crisp but sophisticated, and the minerality of the wine remained present with time.
I would pair this Champagne with a light asparagus tartlet, or a cheese and mushroom quiche.
Wine 2: The Cristal 2009.
Perhaps the most famous Cuvee of the house of Louis Roederer is the “Cristal”. The prestige cuvee was first created in 1876 for Czar Alexander the II of Russia.
The other fact that distinguishes Cristal from others is it’s clear glass bottle with a flat bottom. These specifications were laid down by the Czar for fear of assassination attempts (hence why the bottle is clear as opposed to the traditional green)
The House of Louis Roeder has one of the largest biodynamic estate in Champagne – and it’s all almost exclusively for the production of Cristal.
The Cristal 2009 which was served at the masterclass consisted of 60% Pinot Noir, 40 % Chardonnay. The dosage is approximately 8g/l. It is aged for a minimum of 6 years on the lees.
The first nose of the Cristal is closed and not very expressive. Fermentation aromas were clearly present.
The 2nd nose is a bit more expressive with notes of fresh red apple. It was very chalky and mineral. Unusual for a champagne, Mr Thierry Wallaert suggested that the Cristal 2009 should be opened about 30-45 minutes prior to serving for best results.
And he was right!
After half an hour, the wine was far more expressive. On the palate, the attack was very fresh and tart, and was mouth-watering. The evolution was extremely creamy with hints of chalk and the mineral nature of the soil expressed clearly in the wine. The end palate lasts a good 10 minutes and it was a very mineral finish.
Mr Wallert described this wine as a “very pure wine” grown on the chalkiest vineyards.
I would pair this Champagne with a truffle and blue cheese tart, or perhaps with a smoked salmon and dill canape.
In conclusion, these Champagnes are very elegant and sophisticated wines. The Brut Non-Vintage can be consumed in all manner of occasions, where as I would keep the Cristal for a more special occasion. Both these Champagnes are available in Delhi at La Cave, Select City Walk.