2006 Brut Nature: A pure and mineral wine. Softer mousse (lower pressure) to balance out lack of sweetness and mineral firmness. Wonderful, precise, chalky attack which opens out in the mouth to reveal perfectly ripe fruit (Cumieres) balanced with autolytic aromas. Quince, almond, lemon zest and floral notes unravel as the wine opens/warms in the glass. This is no vanity project but a brainwave from Roederer. It is not a brut nature for the sake of it, rather a wonderful exhibition of Cumieres fruit and terroir, perfectly expressed with zero dosage. (Next release probably the 2009)
Brut Premier: Classic Louis Roederer Brut Premier nose of fresh fruit and sweet floral aromas with complexity from reserve wines of several vintages, considered oak use, grapes from many villages and significant lees contact. Fresh, vibrant and mineral palate with some maturity from reserve wines. Structured and creamy mouthfeel - the quintessence of Louis Roederer.
2009 Blanc de Blancs: A very delicate aromas of citrus, almond and acacia. A truly stunning, beauty of a wine which, for me at least, is more about texture than aromas. Racy and mineral with subtle elegance, this is a tremendous effort. If you're a fan of fuller, richer styles, this will not be for you. Chalk soils and five years of lees contact add much of this wine's character, with any oak influence imperceptible to me. This will soften and develop further with time, and I look forward to seeing it age, provided I dont give in to temptation. The '09 Blanc de Blancs possesses the delicate, subtle beauty of a lone cirrus wisp in azure sky.
Brut Vintage 2008: Quite taut with honey, marzipan and citrus zest aromas. Classic Roederer palate with chalky, mineral attack but somewhat rich mouthfeel and perfect sweetness/acidity balance. Quite intense/robust flavours which linger. Already drinking well, though will also develop complexity with time.
Vintage Rose 2010: A delicately fruity nose of redcurrant, grapefruit zest and some sweet spice. Fruit from sunny Cumieres gives lovely, ripe Pinot Noir structure and body with the zing provided by Cote des Blancs Chardonnay. It's early days and this has great potential but is yet to show its true beauty, dancing the line between intense and rich on one side and elegant and mineral on the other. I anticipate this to be quite exotic in 5-8 years. The 2008 version of this wine appealed to me more with its more prominent, open fruit intensity.
Cristal 2007: Super tight and youthful, tasting this wine is an exercise in reading the future. It shows a real subtlety that makes it hard to decipher, though things get easier once the wine opens in the glass. Refined and delicate with featherlight aromas of almond, citrus and a whiff of gunsmoke. The fruit is introverted at the moment and the wine won't show it's full foliage for 15-20 years. If you do open a bottle now, choose a larger glass and take the bottle from your fridge at least 30 minutes before serving. The next Cristal release should be the 2009 sometime over the next 12 months.
Louis Roederer Vintage 1996 'Special Release': A bottle to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Roederer's UK distributor, MMD. From the heralded 1996 vintage, this luminous, light gold wine was disgorged in 2015 meaning an impressive 28 years of sur lie aging. Not dissimilar to '96 Cristal - a kind of late disgorged version - this wine offers the same tactile, chalky minerality evident in the whole LR range. The nose opens with a bang - gunsmoke aromas mingle with nuts, nougat, dried fruits and faint sous-bois. Sweetness and roundness are more obvious in this wine than all the others in the range, with a silken, creamy texture from such lengthy lees contact. I don't think this is for sale, which is a real shame!
Carte Blanche NV Demi Sec: A similar blend to Brut Premier, though with significantly higher dosage. Complex, creamy and rich, the Carte Blanche offers aromas of ripe fruits and nougat. Demi sec is not a style that suits my palate, though this is high quality and serious effort.