Pol Roger is The Speccie’s favourite fizz and no event here is complete without it. In fact, judging by the heroic amounts we get through — notably at the summer party — I’d say we could almost be Pol’s best customer. This is The Spectator after all, not the New Statesman.
Of course, Pol Roger’s most famous customer was Sir Winston Churchill who, the company estimates, got through more than 500 cases in the last ten years of his life. Of his titanic consumption of Pol Roger, Churchill’s daughter, Lady Soames, memorably remarked, ‘I saw him many times the better for it, but never the worse.’
It’s the 50th anniversary of the great man’s death this year, as well as the 70th anniversary of VE Day, and what better way to commemorate such events than with some Pol or some other gems from Pol’s portfolio?
The Pol Roger Brut Réserve NV (£37.20), often known as ‘White Foil’ (1), is spectacularly fine, blended from 30 or more base wines drawn from several different vineyards and several different vintages (Pol being famous for the high percentage of reserve wines it uses).
The cépage is a neat one third each of Chardonnay (for lightness and elegance), Pinot Noir (for body and character) and Pinot Meunier (for freshness and vigour). UK stocks have an extra six months in bottle before release, leaving the wine full of nuts, apple, brioche and even honeysuckle. Delicious!
The 2004 Pol Roger (£58.45) is drinking beautifully and will be even better in a year or so (2). A blend of 60 per cent Pinot Noir and 40 per cent Chardonnay from 20 Grands and Premiers Crus vineyards, it was aged for eight years before disgorgement. It has plenty of weighty fruit — apples, quince and even a touch of peach — but is light on its feet with delicate touches of newly baked pastry, honey and something teasing I can’t quite put my finger on — elderflower maybe. In any case, it’s a cracker.
Along with the above champagnes Pol Roger is offering us four other wines from its small but enviable portfolio of well-established family-owned producers.
I’ve visited Josmeyer in Alsace a couple of times and am always struck by the high quality of their biodynamic, organic wines, my favourite of which is the Josmeyer ‘Mise du Printemps’ 2013 (£13.65). A blend of Pinot Blanc and Pinot Auxerrois (3), it’s bottled in the spring following the harvest and is light, delicate and deeply refreshing with ripe but dry peachy, apricotty fruit. It has that delectably ample, slightly spicy, Alsace character and I’m hard-pressed to think of a better summer wine.
From the celebrated house of Joseph Drouhin in Beaune we’ve two delicious organic and biodynamic burgundies (4 and 5) — the 2012 Joseph Drouhin Mâcon Lugny (£11.95) and 2012 Joseph Drouhin Rully Rouge (£18.45). The Mâcon is as good a white Burgundy as I’ve tasted for the price, being joyously succulent, rounded and supple with wonderfully honeyed fruit and a long dry finish. It’s an absolute delight. The Rully, too, is burgundy at its best with masses of fresh raspberry, mulberry and blackberry on the nose and a long fruity yet savoury finish.
Finally, a new addition to the Pol portfolio, the 2011 Robert Sinskey Pinot Noir (£30.35) from the Napa Valley (6). If you’re new to California Pinot, this is a great place to start. It’s ripe and full-flavoured, of course, but surprisingly subtle too with silky smooth tannins and a touch of smokiness knitting the complex notes of wild cherry, cranberry and pepper together. I simply love it, as I do the previous wines, and hope you do too.
Pol Roger UK are wholesalers and unable to supply Spectator readers direct, so we have partnered with Private Cellar to fulfil this offer. As ever, delivery is free and, before I go, I’d like to remind readers that James Simp-son MW, Pol Roger Portfolio’s MD, will be hosting a Spectator lunch on Thursday 23 July. Do join us!
Delivery, as ever, is free to mainland Britain, and there's a sample case containing two bottles of each wine.
Click here to order from this offer or to view all other offers.