Louis Roederer NV Brut

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There are so many champagnes being used as customer attractors this Christmas. Another type of fridge magnet, perhaps? I wonder what the producers think of it. They have spent a lot of money, over decades, maintaining the image of their sparkling wines as a premium product but now it’s brand-promoted with huge discounts. I wonder what’s driving this? Commercial pressures, no doubt, but where? The growers, producers or supermarkets?

Some brands keep aloof, however, and Louis Roederer is one of those. This bottle was bought for me by my daughter about four years ago. It’s an NV Brut of 12% ABV but does it justify its premium (for ‘ordinary’ NV) price tag?

In the glass it appeared very pale green, rather than lemon, coloured with fine, persistent bubbles. The nose was light and fresh but certainly not yeasty, suggesting subtle rather than the obvious. The flavour was wonderful; rich, soft, with a long finish and a gentle mousse which conjured up refinement and gentleness. There was also an intriguing slight smokey quality to the taste.

Evidently, LR use all their own Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes in this blend but buy in the small amount of Pinot Meunier also used. This champagne certainly does justify paying that bit extra, in my opinion.

[Richard: I much prefer champagne over any other sparkling wine – although we had a very nice Chapel Down just before Christmas) – but it ain’t half expensive. So there is a lot of headroom when price cuts are needed.]

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