Champagne’s geographical location engenders capricious weather. For this reason, since their foundation in 1849 Pol Roger have observed the tradition of not releasing a vintage-dated champagne unless the climatic conditions permit the production of grapes of outstanding ripeness. A vintage champagne must, above all else, be a balanced champagne. This balance depends on the right blend of healthy grapes, a good potential alcohol and correct acidity. The first criterion for declaring a vintage wine is its capacity to age. Devotees who have the patience to age their champagnes are rewarded with a more complex and richer wine.
The Story of the Vintage
On the whole winter was mild and dry, however there was a cold snap at the beginning of February. Following cool and rainy weather in early spring, unseasonal warm weather prevailed in late March, favouring an advanced budbreak. This was followed in turn by rain, mild weather and five spells of frost in April and May, of which two gave cause for concern. Furthermore, some vineyards were hit by hail on a number of occasions. These climatic challenges made for great variation in the development of the grapes.
Hot, sunny weather from late July through to the first days of September, ensured that the grapes reached an ideal maturity. The yields were low, but the grapes were in excellent health. Harvesting lasted from 10th to 26th September. The 2012 crop showed a potential average alcohol content of 10.6° and a total acidity of 7.8 g/l H2SO4.
Vinification and Maturation
The must undergoes two débourbages (settlings), one at the press house immediately after pressing and the second, a débourbage à froid, in stainless steel tanks at 6°C over a 24 hour period. A slow cool fermentation with the temperature kept under 18°C takes place in stainless steel, with each variety and each village kept separate until final blending. The wine undergoes a full malolactic fermentation. Secondary fermentation takes place in bottle at 9°C in the deepest Pol Roger cellars (33 metres below street level) where the wine is kept until it undergoes remuage (riddling) by hand, a rarity in Champagne nowadays. The very fine and persistent mousse for which Pol Roger is renowned owes much to these deep, cool and damp cellars.
The 2012 Brut Vintage from Champagne Pol Roger is made from the traditional house vintage blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay from 20 Grands and Premiers crus vineyards in the Montagne de Reims and the Côte des Blancs.
Produced only in limited quantities the Brut Vintage 2012 has been aged for 7 years in our cellars before being disgorged and released onto the market.
The Brut Vintage 2012 is a delicate pale golden colour, underpinned by a persistence of refined bubbles. Elegant and subtle, the nose is full of freshness and opens with the scent of white peach, developing into richer dried fruit, followed by enticing notes of flowers, gingerbread and mild, toasted sweet spice.
Finely balanced on the palate with good weight of Pinot fruit and a complex structure and terrific length.
Still young, stylish and discreet, the 2012 has great ageing potential.