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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 much more complex and richer wine.
The wine displays a vibrant yellow-gold colour and is characterized by a remarkable effervescence in the glass.
The 2004 Blanc de Blancs Vintage is made exclusively from Chardonnays selected from the best "crus” of the "Côte des Blancs”: Oiry, Chouilly, Cramant, Avize and Oger. This "cuvée” is only produced in limited quantities and has been aged for 9 years in cellars before being released onto the market.
The 2004 Pol Roger Blanc de Blancs is an excellent match for fine food. It is the undisputed partner for simply prepared fish, such as Dover Sole, pan fried, served with a beurre noisette sauce and fresh garden vegetables.
The Story of the Vintage:
The first days of 2004 began under the snow and in the cold, but an unusual mildness set in from 5th January. Apart from a few short sharp periods of cold in February and March, this mild and dry weather continued until the spring. The Chardonnay started full flowering on 14th June. A wet and cool August retarded the maturation of the grapes but the warmth and sunshine during the first three weeks of September encouraged an exceptional development of the bunches and the grapes were very healthy at the time of the harvest. The earliest parcels were picked on the 18th September with the latest on the 2nd October in excellent sunny conditions. A record crop with healthy ripe grapes picked at a potential average degree of 9.6% and total acidity: 7.1 H2SO4g/l
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. The wine undergoes a full malolactic fermentation prior to final blending. 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.
Pol Roger, a Champenois from Aÿ, founded his champagne house in Epemay in 1849. Over the next 50 years, until his death in 1899, he built his business into one of the most respected in Champagne and, in particular, forged strong trade links with Britain. The founder was succeeded by his sons, Maurice and Georges, who changed their names to Pol-Roger by deed poll and, thereafter, by a further three generations of his direct descendants. To this day the company remains small, family-owned, fiercely independent and unrivalled in its reputation for quality
Pol Roger own 87 hectares of prime vineyard sites spread over the Montagne de Reims, the Vallée de Ia Marme, the Vallée d'Epemay and the Côte des Blancs. This supply is supplemented by grapes purchased on long-term contracts with growers based on the best sites in the region. Total production at Pol Roger is in the region of 1.5 million bottles per annum, making them one of the smaller of the Grandes Marques.
The cellars extend some 7 kilometres beneath the streets of Epernay and are carved out of the local chalk over three levels, the deepest known as the ‘cave de prise de mousse’ at 33m below street level. As the name suggests this is where the wine undergoes its secondary fermentation in bottle. This deep cellar is at 9° or less, rather than a normal cellar temperature of 11-12°, thus prolonging this fermentation.