N.V. Louis Roederer Brut Premier

Year: N.V.
Appellation: Champagne
Country: France
Wine Spectator: 92
Wine Advocate: 90
Vinous Media: 91
Connoisseurs' Guide: 90
James Suckling: 92
Wine Enthusiast: 91
Sparkling Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 12.0%
Price :
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"This vibrant version is finely knit and elegant, with floral, toast and smoke aromas on the nose and flavors of crème de cassis and lemon curd riding the lacy mousse. Drink now through 2019. -A.N." (WS)

"Roederer's NV Brut Premier is a classic and blends about 40% Pinot Noir (from Bouzy and Ambonnay), with 20-25% Meunier (whose share is declining in this blend) and Chardonnay. Two-thirds of the grapes come from estate vineyards, one-third is purchased. (Mind you that all the other Roederer cuvées are sourced exclusively form their own vineyards!) The newest release of the Premier is based on 75% 2009 and 25% reserve wines, which are, since 1996, single vintage wines aged in large oak casks between 6,000 and 10,000 liters. Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon holds 160 vats of reserve wines that are stored blank, so without lees, which otherwise would dominate the taste, says Lécaillon. "I don't like the reductive yeast flavors. Instead I am searching for a slightly oxidative and oaky style in my reserve wine." Lécaillon's youngest Premier did not undergo malolactic fermentation. The wine opens very bright, precise and refined, with toasty and white chocolate flavors. Absolutely delicate and elegant on the palate, this is a light, silky textured and remarkably finesse-full Champagne that is fresh on the palate, thanks to its structure and slightly oaky flavors. Excellent.

Except of the Brut Premier and the Carte Blanche (which I did never taste) all Roederer cuvées are vintage Champagnes; or to be more precise - terroir-driven millésimes. Since the prestigious family-owned estate in Reims cultivates a stately amount of grand cru vineyards between their pressing centers in Verzepay (Montagne de Reims), Ay (Vallée de la Marne) and Avize (Côte de Blancs), Louis Roederer focuses on the production of a neat range of distinctive Champagnes. These are not just influenced by the blending of varietals (mostly barrel-fermented Pinot Noir and Chardonnay but also Meunier), but the characteristics of every single plot whose musts and wines are carefully combined by chef de cave Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon. The result is a beautiful range of classic Champagnes that contain the famous Cristal (Blanc and Rosé). Mind you, though, that not a single cuvée of Louis Roederer is of just average quality. At least the difference of quality between the Blanc de Blancs Vintage (currently 2009) or the Vintage (2008) is much smaller compared to the Cristal (2007) than the price might indicate. In fact, I don't leave my home airport (in both directions) without buying a bottle of Roederer's excellent 2008 Vintage." (WA)

"($52) (roughly 60% pinot noir, 30% chardonnay and 10% pinot meunier; L037415C108930): Bright yellow-gold. Mineral-accented lemon curd and green apple on the nose, with a spicy topnote. Penetrating and dry on entry, then fleshier in the mid-palate, offering intense orchard fruit and buttered toast flavors with a touch of bitter cherry pit. Shows impressive focus and lift on the taut, stony finish, which features a suave floral quality. This bottling is consistently among the very best big-house "basic" NV Champagnes." (VM)

"This complete and very well-crafted offering combines the buoyancy and lively step of youth with lots of well-defined yeast from first sniff to finish. It is polished, quietly complex and quite long on the palate with fine, unending bubbles, and, if it stops short of showing the depth and dimension of the marquee bottlings of the famous French houses, it is by all measures an exceptional non-vintage Brut. Reviewed: December 2015" (CG)

"Beautifully composed reduction across lemon citrus, white peach, cherries and deeper, more savory notes of spice and grilled nuts; fresh and complex at once. The palate's assertively flavored, yet runs on a smooth and fine textural thread. Acidity is paramount, redder fruits hold court here. Great balance and depth. Drink now." (JS)

"Although this tastes younger than some recent bottlings of this great nonvintage, it is still a fine wine. Its apple flavors meld effortlessly with citrus, grapefruit zest and just a touch of toast to show the depth of flavor that will emerge after a few more months in bottle." (WE)