Louis Roederer Champagne
The Champagne Manufacturer Louis Roederer was founded in 1776 in Rheims was founded. Its cuvée is the Cristal.
Louis Roederer is an independent champagne producer.
The house of Louis Roederer has always enjoyed a reputation for consistently high quality. It is also considered one of the largest and financially strongest champagne houses. Louis Roederer is privately owned and has approximately 180 hectares of vineyards in strategic prime locations with an average quality rating of 98% (of which approximately 130 hectares are considered 100%). With this remarkable base of its own vines, the House of Roederer is able to meet its own needs for over 2 million bottles per year at 70 to 80% and is also able to achieve a consistently high standard of quality. In addition, Roederer insists on long storage of their reserve wines (sorted by cru) in large Limousin oak barrels (called foudres, which hold 4,000-5,000 litres of wine each) and in about 240 stainless steel tanks (9,960 litres each - also sorted by cru). These large oak barrels are used for up to 60 years. Roederer pays special attention to the final dosage of the reserve wines. Although the dosage is only a tiny amount of wine, this small addition of special wine can have a lasting effect on the taste of a champagne even at 1% proportion. The high art of the Assemblage is attached with Roederer thus to the last detail of the production, the Dosage, largest importance. The champagnes without vintage benefit from a generous three to four years of storage in the bottles. Vintage champagnes, on the other hand, enjoy at least five to six years of storage. In addition, Roederer champagnes are stored in the bottle for about six months after the Disgorge added. On average, around 6 million bottles of Champagne rest leisurely on their lees in the house's cool cellars. This contributes to a range of exceptionally good champagnes - from the vintage-less Brut Premier to the famous Prestige Cuvée Cristal. The house of Louis Roederer is deeply rooted in the history of the Champagne Although the official year of foundation is 1776, the author and historian Tom Stevenson notes that the origin could be found as early as in 1760 in a champagne house called Dubois Père et Fils, which later came into the possession of Nicolas-Henri Schreider. Mr. Schreider hired his capable nephew Louis Roederer (1798-1870) in his business in 1827. When Schreider died six years later, Louis Roederer renamed the house Roederer. Soon after, he succeeded in opening up new markets in America and England. He was also able to inspire the Russian Tsar Alexander I for his excellent champagnes. The champagne of that time was very sweet for our today's taste, but the tsar preferred champagne with no less than six times more sugar than usual today. After Roederer's death, his son Louis Roederer II took over the management of the now greatly expanded company in 1870. Alexander II was also enthusiastic about Roederer champagnes. The Tsar's cellar master travelled to Reims every year to observe the production of the special champagnes for the Tsar. At the same time, things were becoming increasingly difficult politically for the Tsar's family in Russia. Assassinations of members of the Tsar's family and of the nobility were becoming more frequent in Russia. This may have contributed to the Tsar's cellar master paying special attention to a clear Champagne bottle made by the House of Mercier, originally designed by Eugene Mercier specifically for Napoleon III for a special wine (Réserve de l'Empereur Blanche). By using such a bottle, the Tsar would be able to visually inspect the contents of the bottle and thus be more likely to escape assassination by poisoned champagne. In 1876, the house of Louis Roederer delivered champagne to the tsar for the first time in these special bottles made of clear crystal glass and with a flat bottom (the tradition-conscious house of Roederer still delivers the famous Cristal champagnes in transparent bottles without an indentation at the bottom). In any case, a champagne bottle made of robust crystal glass does not need the typical indentation (or the indentation at the bottom) of a conventional champagne bottle, which has the task to strengthen the bottle and which is necessary for stacking sur pointes (on the tops). There also persists the old rumor that there was concern at the royal court in Russia that the indentation might have been used to conceal a small explosive device. The champagne in the new crystal bottles from Louis Roederer was enthusiastically received by the Tsar's court. It developed to a bestseller, which should find its abrupt end only long later, shortly after the October revolution in Russia (1917). Louis Roederer II died unexpectedly in 1880 and his sister Léonie Orly took over the management until she herself died eight years later. On her deathbed, she asked her two sons, Léon Orly and Louis-Victor Orly, to add the Roederer surname to their names. At that time, the house of Louis Roederer was already delivering 2.5 million bottles of champagne per year. Not only to Russia, but also to the USA: Roederer was the third largest champagne exporter for the USA at that time. In 1917, there was an economic crisis for the House of Louis Roederer: It lost 80% of the Russian market at one stroke due to the Russian Revolution. In addition, the new regime in Russia at the time had no interest in settling a large account with Roederer from the Tsar. What made this unpleasant business circumstance even more threatening for the House of Roederer was a remaining huge stock of extremely heavily sweetened champagne, for which no customers could now be found. In the end, the house was able to sell a huge load of these sweet champagnes, which were actually produced for the tsar's court, to South America after all. Léon Orly-Roederer died in 1932. His widow Camille Orly-Roederer took the reins of the Louis Roederer house for the next 42 years. Her doggedness and clever marketing expanded existing market shares, continually opened up new international markets for the House of Roederer's champagnes, and expanded the house's vineyard holdings in the 1930s. The enterprising widow Orly-Roederer is today historically mentioned in the same breath as the famous widows Clicquot and Bollinger. After the Second World War, the famous Prestige Cuvée Cristal - Champagne was reintroduced, but this fantastic Cuvee was now spared the enormous sweetening, as it was at that time for the Tsar. In 1975, Madame Orly-Roederer died and left the champagne house to her daughter, Madame Marcelle Rouzaud and her son Jean-Claude Rouzaud, who successfully continues the company until today. Jean-Claude Rouzaud has long been considered a perfectionist when it comes to the champagnes of his house. His guiding principle should be without any doubt 'quality before quantity'. As a trained oenologist, for example, he deliberately avoided certain fertilization methods in his vineyards, which would have resulted in far higher yields and thus produced more champagne. The harsh terroir of Champagne has always made the vines suffer: The vines have always had to work hard to get ahead with their root system, but this is precisely what causes the unique taste of their golden blood. More fertilizer results in more vine quantity, but the taste qualities of the vines change at the same time. In addition, Jean-Claude Rouzaud maintains a difficult balance between his enormous reserves of long-stored wines and the young wines to be added, in order to always have full control in the proper blending of future champagnes. Jean-Claude Rouzaud has also been responsible for the additional expansion of Roederer's vineyard holdings in Champagne, as well as buying up vineyards in Australia, Portugal, and northern California. In the Anderson Valley, California, for instance, Roederer has already produced fantastic sparkling wines called Roederer Estate Brut Anderson Valley L'Ermitage, which have astonished wine lovers in America. His son Frédéric, now the sixth generation of the family, has been actively involved in the company since 1996. Roederer produces different champagnes, each of which has its own identity. In general, the champagnes of the house are considered by connoisseurs as particularly fruity and full-bodied with a large spectrum of aromatic subtleties. The generous enrichment of the blends with precious reserve wines from Roederer's large wooden barrels gives additional vanilla and honey notes. Roederer champagnes also have the reputation of being able to be stored (properly) for a particularly long time after purchase, unlike many other champagnes. Many connoisseurs attribute to them an advantageous ageing potential. Some connoisseurs are not afraid to suggest up to 15 years of storage for certain Roederer champagnes. This does not mean, however, that ageable champagnes will always be 'better', but rather that champagnes of this type develop pleasing new aspects of their personality with the years of ageing, while some other aspects recede somewhat, without, however, changing the fundamental character of the champagne. The 'flagship' of the house is the Louis Roederer Brut Premier. This is a top champagne without a vintage. It is made from approx. 62 - 65% Pinot Noir, approx. 8% Pinot Meunier and approx. 30% Chardonnay. The blend contains up to 20% old reserve wines. This champagne ages on its lees for up to four years and stands out as particularly fruity and full-bodied (thanks to the richly represented Pinot Noir vines). In addition, it gains pleasant vanilla nuances through the blending with older reserve wines stored in oak barrels. This champagne suits every occasion, be it as an excellent aperitif or as a noble companion of a complete menu. The Louis Roederer Carte Blanche is a demi-sec champagne, i.e. a champagne which is ideally suited to a dessert. Basically, it also represents a fruity Brut Premier, but with much higher residual sweetness. Although it is considered to be one of the best demi-sec champagnes, the production volume of this champagne is relatively small (and therefore rather rare to find in the wine trade). The vintage champagne of the house is known as Louis Roederer Brut Vintage (Milléssimé). Here, the grape varieties used are about 66% of Pinot Noir and about 34% of Chardonnay. The vintage champagnes benefit from at least five to six years of storage in the cool cellars of the Roederer house. The 1990 Vintage Brut is considered outstanding. The 1993 vintage was initially classified by some connoisseurs as still in need of storage, but now convinces without any doubt as an excellent vintage champagne. Lush in fruit with floral notes, distinct structure and reliably full-bodied, the Louis Roederer vintage champagnes are an enjoyable choice for champagne lovers. With Louis Roederer Blanc de Blancs, the house plays one of its trump cards: its excellent 'connection' with countless Chardonnay vines in absolutely best sites of the Côte de Blancs (including 30 hectares of own vineyards around the famous Avize and exclusive contracts for vineyards around Cramant)! These are also vintage champagnes (Milléssimé). All are very full-bodied and make a rich, powerful and fruity (some with citrus and melon notes) companion to almost any dish. The Louis Roederer Vintage Brut Rosé (Milléssimé) represents a vintage Champagne which is made from approximately 70 - 80% Pinot Noir and approximately 20 - 30% Chardonnay. This is also a vintage champagne. Behind the soft, light salmon color is a serious Champagne with the intense fruit that only the best Pinot Noir vines provide, and at the same time fueled by the elegance of Chardonnay. The colour is achieved through traditional maceration, or skilful maceration with the skins of black Pinot Noir vines. Which brings us to the famous Louis Roederer Cristal: Cristal was a highly sought-after cuvée even in the days of Russian czars. Today's prestige cuvée of the same name is produced with the same care by the House of Roederer as in earlier times (the author even suspects more care for us lovers of today than for the tsars back then!). Cristal champagnes are vintage champagnes made from approximately 50 - 60% of Pinot Noir and approximately 40 - 50% of Chardonnay. The House of Roederer uses only the choicest wines from its own crus for this top champagne. After Jean-Claude Rouzaud and his renowned cellar masters, e.g. Jean Baptiste Lécaillon, have created a champagne of this kind with an excellent assemblage, have given this champagne a long storage in the house and have finally brought it to the delivery, immediately lovers are found to acquire this champagne -often embedded in a casket made of noble wood-. The transparent bottles are also wrapped in special yellow cellophane, which absorbs up to 98% of the ultraviolet radiation (harmful to a Champagne) from fluorescent lighting or sunlight (this cellophane protection should not be removed during storage!). Discounted prices are considered very rare by distributors, as Cristal is very scarce anyway and demand is high. The vines for Cristal are all from Roederer's own vineyards. All vintages are outstandingly good and at the same time somewhat different in personality. For example, Cristal 1990 comes across to the connoisseur as a very rich champagne, while Cristal 1993 seems much softer in direct comparison. However, both impress with elegant silkiness, a particularly fine expression of fruit and a hint of toastiness. Cristal Rosé Milléssimé is a great rarity and is considered by some connoisseurs to be the best rosé champagne ever. It was first introduced with the 1974 vintage. It is coloured by traditional maceration with the skins of dark vines. The grape varieties represented are approximately 70% Pinot Noir and approximately 30% Chardonnay. The 1988 vintage is considered to be exceptionally storable, very precious and still beguiles connoisseurs with its incomparable beauty. Knowing the complex and expensive development of the champagnes of the house Louis Roederer, one could assume that they must be unaffordable for 'normal mortal' champagne fans (the author of this report counts himself among them). Happily, however, this is not the case. The superb Roederer Brut Premier champagnes, for example, will fit into any budget. Specialties such as Cristal are, of course, much more expensive, but to be a czar is nowadays no longer a prerequisite to enjoy even this top champagne.