It has been a few years coming but the Pol Roger Portfolio tasting last week certainly made up for the wait – Drouhin, Josmeyer, Staglin, Gallica, Sinskey, Artadi, and not forgetting the Pol Roger Champagnes of course. Some big name winemakers were there pouring the wines and our Chef Editor, Roger Jones, was there taking copious tasting notes and getting a heads-up on which of the new vintages are really singing – and what to serve them with. If you didn’t manage to get there, fear not, let Mr Jones give you a few pointers.
So, can you guess which wine Roger’s talking about here? “This wine has an array of capabilities with food matching from hot cross buns with salty butter on a miserable wet Spring afternoon or with Sashimi on a bright Summer’s day or with Foie Gras and Salted Caramel Macaroons at any time of the day… a marvel.”
Pol Roger hosted their first Portfolio tasting for over a decade yesterday at Old Sessions House in Clerkenwell Green, an old ‘Gathering Place’ which had housed a bail with prison cells as well as Judges chambers and accommodation, now being developed into a hub for food and wine vendors and roof top cocktail bar and restaurant.
Pol Roger, Champagne, France
Pol Roger was founded 170 years ago by the 18 year old M. Pol Roger, now under the guidance of the fifth generation. Owning 92 hectares of vineyards and cellars that at their deepest are 34m below street level giving a constant temperature of 9°C prolonging fermentation.
Pol Roger Brut Reserve
The classic Champagne, made from equal portions of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier: fresh, bright with a delicate biscuit taste with a background of red berries balanced by citrus curd. Elegance and refinement.
Pol Roger Pure – Extra Brut
Fondly addressed as “Pure”, this precise wine is clear and refreshing, with a lovely vibrant feel with a light biscuit background with white flowers and elegant rose petals, balanced with pink grapefruit acidity.
Pol Roger Blanc de Blancs 2012
Luscious and fruit-driven, lively and fresh, peaches and nectarines with a nutty background of hazelnuts, some exotic fruit and delicate citrus feel. Made from 100% Grand Cru vineyards.
Pol Roger Brut Vintage 2012
Pinot Noir dominates this blend with 60%, stunning, full-bodied, succulent dried fruits, fresh summer flowers, vibrant and glowing, easy drinking, lightly spiced with gingerbread biscuits and Paris street pastries.
Pol Roger Rosé 2009
60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay with 15% red wine added before the second fermentation. Beautifully balanced, fresh brioche, floral and exotic fruits, red berries are restrained and elegant, delicate and sublime on the palate with tiny beads. The 2012 Rosé will be released in the autumn.
Pol Roger Rich – Demi-Sec NV
Don’t let the words Demi-Sec put you off, just concentrate on the word “Rich”, few houses get this style correct (Nyetimber Demi-Sec and Ambriel English Reserve, and the original Veuve Clicquot Rich are great examples) but Pol Roger certainly knows how to. This luscious, rich, full bodied wine has a lovely purity and although the fruits are ripe it is not sweet, this wine has an array of capabilities with food matching from hot cross buns with salty butter on a miserable wet Spring afternoon or with Sashimi on a bright Summer’s day or with Foie Gras and Salted Caramel Macaroons at any time of the day… a marvel.
Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill 2008
Wow, I don’t drink this often enough, what a sublime wine, small beads of diamonds glaze up the glass, lemon curd, apple crunch, white blossoms, full of energy and brightness, a glorious seductive Champagne.
Joseph Drouhin, Burgundy, France
The charming Veronique Drouhin, was showcasing the amazing 2016 vintage for her white wines, plus some fabulous red wines.
Joseph Drouhin Macon-Lugny Les Crays 2017
An exceptional value Burgundy, nutty, fresh and vibrant, fresh and clean, so pleasing to see such a simple wine made to perfection.
Joseph Drouhin Meursault 2016
My notes said Wow, Wow and certainly this wine packed everything you would want from a Meursault: wild flowers, delicate honeyed tones, golden colour, juicy yellow plums and white peaches, a hint of hazelnuts, long and lingering.
Joseph Drouhin Puligny Montrachet 2016
Purity, focused and restrained elegance. There is a hint of dried pineapple here with restrained white stone fruit and a lovely delicate nutty background.
Joseph Drouhin Puligny Montrachet Premier Cru “Clos de la Garenne” 2015
Nutty on the nose, elegant and focussed, purity is superb with layers of textures and a beautiful aroma.
Joseph Drouhin Beaune Premier Cru “Clos de Mouches” Blanc 2016
Pale yellow in colour, aromas of white flowers then white peaches, on the palate as it opens up there are hints of restrained truffle, delicate nutmeg and white stone fruit, it is savoury in outlook but delicate fruits are gently opening up in the background.
Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Morgon Hospices de Belleville 2017
If Beaujolais were to make a significant comeback in the UK well this would be the wine to launch it – focused, lovely bright, delicate fruit-driven, balanced with a savoury background.
Joseph Drouhin Savigny les Beaune “Clos des Godeaux” 2015
Savoury ripeness, hints of bonfire and lamb juices, this single vineyard wine is a ‘proper Pinot Noir’, fruit and savoury balanced perfectly.
Joseph Drouhin Vosne Romanee 2014
Luscious, layered, lots of flavours dancing on the palate, savoury lamb blood juices, restrained and elegant fruit,
Joseph Drouhin Chambolle-Musigny 2016
Silky, red crunchy fruit, raspberries and cranberries explode on the palate, the elegant perfume and the long juicy finish are just lovely.
Joseph Drouhin Beaune Premier Cru “Clos des Mouches” Rouge 2016
Morello cherries, raspberries and sweet blackberries excite on the palate, restrained tannin, juicy and elegant, touch of smokiness in the background, will age beautifully.
Josmeyer, Alsace, France
Sisters Isabelle and Celine Meyer took over from their late father in 2016, continuing the family motto “the pursuit of excellence in harmony with the earth” and my word! what a legacy that they excel in. These wines were all delivering the perfection that Alsace, when at its best, does so well.
Josmeyer Pinot Blanc Mise du Printemps 2018
Pinot Blanc 20%, Pinot Auxerrois 80%
Crisp fresh, Pear William and apples, delicate perfume aroma, classy.
Josmeyer Riesling Les Pierrets 2014
Limestone soil, 35 year old vines, expressive Riesling – a touch of honey, salty, full flavoured, forward drinking.
Josmeyer Riesling Grand Cru Brand 2012
Granite base, reserved feminine style, elegance and delicate perfume, restrained but certainly has class, layers and layers of precision. After a while in the glass it starts to open up quite beautifully.
Josmeyer Pinot Gris Le Fromenteau 2014
Delicate clementine aroma, orange blossom, restrained elegance, refined wine that is a perfect match to elevate so many classic food dishes such as Turbot with Perigord Truffles or Squab Pigeons with Foie Gras.
Josmeyer Pinot Gris Grand Cru Brand 2015
Textured, hint of smokiness, apricots, this is still a baby, but what class! Give it a decade and it will be sublime, a wine to lay down, great value.
Josmeyer Gewürztraminer Les Folastries 2015
Wow! Cadbury’s “Turkish Delight” aromas, on the palate ripe watermelon, sweet basil, pickled ginger, luscious ripe tomatoes, layers and layers of refreshing fruit, superb.
Robert Sinskey Vineyards, California
Set up by the Sinskey family in 1988, based in the Los Carneros and Stags Leap districts of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys.
Robert Sinskey Abraxas Vin de Terroir, Los Carneros, 2012
Made from the four classic Alsace grapes, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Blanc. Lychees, pineapples and sweet fruit on the nose but on the palate it is luscious and dry, fresh clean and vibrant, a hint of musty honey, carried by the intensity and precision of the wine.
Robert Sinskey Orgia, Los Carneros, 2014
Copper colour, but the beard hippy outlook stops there, this is a wine of great beauty. Pinot Gris sourced from The Three Amigos Vineyard, salty, minerality this is a full bodied wine. On the nose there are orange blossoms, herbal tea and honey on the palate it is a seductive, layered wine that shouts out for shellfish.
Robert Sinskey Pinot Noir, Los Carneros, 2014
Sweet rosemary and lavender on the nose, on the palate a medley of raspberries, cranberries and juicy baby red plums against a background of spices (restrained clove and vanilla). Good balance between forest floor and luscious berries.
Staglin Family Vineyard, California
Interesting here that there were two classic Chardonnays one in the Californian style – Staglin Salus Chardonnay 2014 and one very much in the Burgundian style Staglin Estate Chardonnay 2017 – both offering quality in their own right. The Salus was forward ripe, but had a lovely purity and carried the 14.5% alcohol well, whilst the restrained Estate Chardonnay was akin to a Burgundy Grand Cru.
Rosemary Cakebread has had an illustrious wine career spread over 30 vintages and set up Gallica in 2007, to produce wines from unique sites.
Gallica Rorick Heritage Albarino 2016
Wonderful aromatic nose, peaches and pear William on the palate, the acidity and aromatic blend is stunning, a real classy Albarino
Gallica Rossi Ranch Grenache 2017
Fresh succulent raspberries, bright wine with nice freshness, clean and elegant.
Gallica Oakville Ranch Cabernet Franc 2014
Perfumed and aromatic on the nose. Classic dry tannin of Cabernet Franc that is evolving besutifully, sweetness of the fruit comes through giving a classic Cab Franc style, needs decanting but this will become outstanding
Gallica Oakville Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
Violets and cassis aromatics, juicy and mouth filling, easy drinking, luscious beautiful fruits, precise blueberries and bilberries dancing on the palate with a soft cedar wood finish
Set up in 1981 by Juan Carlos Lopez de Lacalle. Their vines are grown in four Spanish wine regions; Alava, Navarra, Alicante and Gipuzkoa.
Artadi, Santa Cruz de Artazu 2015, Navarra
Grenache, floral aromas, red berry on the palate hint of liquorice, fresh and ripe, Mediterranean. Style.
Artadi Pasos de San Martin 2015, Navarra
Sourced from vines in the village of San Martin de Unx in Navarra. Fresh and clean, luscious fruit and subtle herbs and wild flowers. Delicate spicy notes, love the fresh but deep flavours with a lovingly elegant finish.
Artadi Vinas des Gains 2016, Alava
Fresh clean delicate fruit, layered on the palate (love the soft tannin) and this will age well
Artadi Valdegines 2016, Alava
Red berry dominates – there is a lovely freshness to this wine – easy drinking and delicate perfume providing an excellent style.
Artardi El Carretil 2016, Alava
Elegant, minerality, purity, all are showcased here, deep intensity of flavour, red lambs blood, velvety and clean.
Artardi, Vina El Pison 2016, Alava
I have the 1998 vintage of this wine on our list, so it was a great chance to try his younger vintage, it is textured, layered, beautifully made in a modern Rioja style, fruit is dominant with a silky elegance, still slightly closed but this will evolve beautifully.
Pol Roger is a supplier partner of The Buyer. Discover more about them here.