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
After a cold winter, spring 2009 started with fairly mild temperatures, allowing the vines to avoid frost damage. Intermittent storm spells boosted vegetation. June and July were also affected by variable weather, but August was sunny, dry and hot, with cool nights, leading to a favourable and quick evolution in maturity. The harvest started on September 8th in excellent sunny conditions and lasted till September 21st. The grapes were perfectly healthy. The 2009 crop is characterised by an average potential alcohol level of over 10% and a total acidity of 7.5 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 2009 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 2009 has been aged for 8 years in our cellars before being disgorged and released onto the market.
Delicate pale lemon. The nose is opulent in its youth displaying ripe stone fruits on the nose, candied lemon peel and grapefruit.
Creamy autolytic mouth feel with a refreshing backbone of acidity. The wine has a persistence of length and character.
The wine is more accessible in its youth compared to Brut Vintage 2008, but will last for the next decade and onwards.
Wine Enthusiast: ‘The latest vintage release from this producer, this is beautifully balanced with white fruits and touches of citrus paralleled by a tight mineral texture and acidity. It is still young, because vintages from this producer age for many years. Drink from 2020.’ 94 / 100
Alice Lascelles: ‘Lean and citrusy at first but fills out with time to ripe mango and orchard apple plus that nice yeasty crunch you get from Pol.’
Peter Dean, the-buyer.net : ‘Nose has iced bun, fresh nuts, Cox’s apples, blossom; the palate is amazingly complex, big and rich then fresh and crisp with delicious tart notes of grapefruit peel, punctuating the ripe, pure fruit core. Luscious with a crisp meringue finish.’
Jancis Robinson, jancisrobinson.com: ‘Rich, creamy nose – super-seductive. Very different from the rigour of the 2008. Come on in, it says. Noticeably ripe and absolutely ready with relatively but not dangerously low acidity. A throat-soother with good undertow and medium body. Neat and friendly.’
Jonathan Ray, Drinks Editor, The Spectator, author of Drink More Fizz!: Pol Roger have done it again! The 2008 vintage is an all but impossible vintage to follow, so spectacular is it, but in my view the 2009 is well up to the task. It’s fresh and honeyed with plenty of peachy, citrus notes and there’s a lingering weight there too. It’s probably a bit more forward than the 2008 but definitely has the stamina to age well. I don’t want to wish the years away but I’m already looking forward to trying the two vintages side by side in a decade or so.