2012 Louis Roederer Vintage Brut

Year: 2012
Appellation: Champagne
Country: France
Wine Spectator: 93
Wine Advocate: 94
Vinous Media: 93+
James Suckling: 96
Jeb Dunnuck: 92
Wine Enthusiast: 95
Sparkling Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 12.0%
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"This mouthwatering version is fine and satiny in texture, featuring citrus peel acidity that frames a well-meshed range of crushed currant, Earl Grey tea and lemon curd flavors, with a rich hint of toasted brioche. The minerally underpinning echoes on the finish. Drink now through 2030. -AN" (WS)

"Roederer’s white golden 2012 Vintage is a classic Millésime. Based on 70% cool-climate Pinot Noir from Verzy and Verzenay (Montagne de Reims) and 30% Chardonnay from a very warm, south/southwest-facing vineyard in Chouilly (Côte des Blancs), the 2012 represents the mineral terroirs of its origins beautifully—pure, refined and fresh. Fermented 8% in oak and with just 16% of the volume having done malolactic fermentation to make the Roederer Vintage Brut a classic gastronomic wine, the 2012 shows a deep, rich and ripe but also fine, precise and elegant chalky nose with hazelnut, toasted almond and blossom flavors. The palate is profound, round, highly elegant and fresh, and the long, remarkably salty finish is very complex and terribly fresh in its persistent mineral expression. This is an impressive, ripe and almost creamy textured but precise and finessed 2012 with power, body and structure. A true, highly stimulating classic. Just love it! Disgorged in January 2017 after four years of bottle aging (dosage: nine grams per liter). Tasted in Reims in May 2018.

"2012 was one of the most challenging and complicated years ever experienced in Champagne," says Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon. "However, difficult conditions often lead to great things..." The yields were low, and the continental climatic conditions toward the end of the season, gave unusual levels of maturity, resulting in "rich, full-bodied and structured wines."

Here are the most recent and upcoming cuvées from Louis Roederer and the list of full of highlights. For the Cristal and Cristal Rosé vintages 2009 and the just released 2008, see the Cristal report published in the Interim Mid-June Issue. Here, readers will find tasting notes for the 2002 Cristal and Cristal Rosé, both of which are rich and concentrated legends in top form, especially the Rosé, which received the highest rating of all Champagnes being tasted in 40 years of The Wine Advocate. This isn't spectacular enough? Well, then let me draw your attention to "the other" Cristal—Cristal Vinothèque. The Vinothèque collection is more than just a late-release edition of Cristal. The recently released 1995 as well as the upcoming 1996 vintages spent 14 years before disgorgement and another seven years after. Due to the fact that acidity rounds out with age, the dosage of the Cristal Vinothèque is significantly lower than the original disgorgement. The 1995 Cristal Vinothèque was the inaugural vintage for both the white and the rosé, and it will be followed by the 1996 in September 2018. The 1997 and 1999 will follow in the coming years.

If you prefer Cristal in a bigger, richer and more concentrated style, you should go for the caressing 2002 (at least in three-star Michelin restaurants, readers might still have a chance to find one), whereas freshness and elegance is perfectly represented in the 2008 and 1996 vintages." (WA)

"Roederer’s 2012 Brut Vintage will give readers a very good idea of what to expect in this vintage. Racy and voluptuous, with striking resonance, the 2012 is ample, creamy and wonderfully inviting. Baked apple, brioche, pastry, spice and light tropical notes all flesh out in a radiant Champagne that drinks well right out of the gate. There is plenty of vintage 2012 concentration and ripeness, and yet the Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon managed to retain considerable energy here as well. This is such a compelling Champagne." (VM)

"Just over two-thirds pinot noir (Verzenay) and the balance southeast-facing chardonnay from Chouilly. This has 30% of oak fermentation which has compressed the wine, lending it an air of extreme concentration. The nose is gently spicy, offering peaches and cherries as well as neat autolysis edge. The palate has a powerful, long and assertive feel, with peach and lemon pith, chalky minerals, and some grapefruit. A powerful vintage for Roederer." (JS)

"The 2012 Brut Vintage is another beauty. White flowers, ripe orchard fruits, brioche, toasted bread, and a kiss of chalky minerality all flow to a soft, mouthfilling Champagne with outstanding purity and balance. It shows the richer, forward style of the vintage nicely." (JD)

"This beautiful wine, with its poise, elegance and balance, has both a steely mineral core and an outer ripe-fruit character. It has citrus, tight acidity and rich apple and green-plum flavors. Drink now. Roger Voss" (WE)

Winery Notes:
Fascinated by the diversity of aromas expressed by the Pinot Noir variety in Champagne, Louis Roederer decided to base its Vintage Brut on the structure and power of Reims Mountain Pinot Noirs. These north-easterly facing vineyards take longer to ripen, producing wines that can sometimes be rough and confined at the start of the maturing process. However, their personality develops remarkably, becoming more intense over time when matured in wood. In 1850, Roederer decided to buy over 15 hectares in the Verzenay grand cru in order to have better control over how the grapes in this cuvée were used.

Thirty percent of the wine is matured in oak casks with weekly batonnage. There is no malolactic fermentation. Vintage Brut is matured for at least four years in the cellars and rested for six months after disgorgement to finish it perfectly.

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