Pol Roger wines represent some of the best quality in Champagne. Favoured by Sir Winston Churchill, and served at the Royal Wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton in 2011, these wines are admired by high-profile personalities and champagne lovers alike. They are traditional, yet innovative and modern. Descendents of Pol are still involved in the management of the house to this day. The experienced, skilled cellar master, Dominique Petit, dedicates his life to the realisation of excellence.
1 Rue Henri le Large, Epernay. +33 3 26 59 58 00
Chosen as the official champagne for the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton in 2011, the Pol Roger wines epitomise class and sophistication. They are alive with pristine fruit, have wonderful balance of acidity and just the right amount of dosage. Thanks to their very cool cellar temperatures, the size of the bubbles is tiny, and the mousse particularly fine.
Pol Roger Brut
34% Chardonnay, 33% Pinot Noir, 33% Meunier. A blend of 30 wines, including older vintage reserve wines. The Chardonnay comes from the Côte des Blancs, the Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims, and the Meunier from the Vallee d’Epernay. The wine ages for three years before release.
Pol Roger Brut Vintage
60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay. The fruit comes from Grand and Premier Cru sites in the Montagne de Reims, Vallee d’Epernay and Cote des Blancs. It is only made in the best years. The dosage is 10.5g/L.
Pol Roger Pure
34% Chardonnay, 33% Pinot Noir, 33% Meunier. Similar to the Pol Roger Brut, but with zero dosage.
Pol Roger Rich
34% Chardonnay, 33% Pinot Noir, 33% Meunier. Similar to the Pol Roger Brut, except made in a demi-sec style with a dosage of 34g/L.
Pol Roger Blanc de Blancs
100% Chardonnay. This Grand Cru vintage wine uses grapes from the best sites in the Cote des Blancs: Cramant, Avize, Le Mesnil, Oger and Oiry.
Pol Roger Rose
60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay. A vintage wine only produced in the best years, this rose is made with the addition of 15% Coteaux Champenois Rouge, still red wine made from Grand Cru Pinot Noir grapes. The dosage is 10.5g/L.
Pol Roger Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill
The exact composition of this wine has always been a family secret, however, it is likely to be Pinot Noir dominant, up to 70-80%, combined with Chardonnay. The grapes are all from Grand Cru villages and the wine is only produced in the best years. Until the 2000 vintage, there had only been 13 releases of this wine. The dosage is 10.5g/L.
Born on Christmas Eve 1831 in the village of Ay, Pol Roger didn’t take long to decide that he would not be following his father into the legal profession. He discovered early he had a penchant for winemaking. At the young age of 18, he established Pol Roger, and began making his own wines. His first release was in 1853.
The mid-19th century was a tumultuous one across Europe, but eventually the tide turned. Celebration came back into fashion, and naturally so did champagne. Pol and his wines were very successful, and the house enjoyed great prosperity by the end of the century.
Pol’s son, Maurice Roger, joined the house, and it was soon clear he had inherited his father’s gifts for winemaking and for business. Under his watch, Pol Roger achieved even greater success.
Pol Roger passed away from pneumonia in 1899, leaving Maurice and his brother Georges to manage the estate. Not long afterwards, they legally changed their surname to Pol-Roger, as a tribute to their father. A year after their father’s death, the business suffered a major misfortune when part of the cellar caved in, destroying 1.5 million bottles. However, with their determination and the help of fellow champagne houses, they were soon back on their feet.
Although mayor of Epernay, Maurice spent a lot of time in England, a country he enjoyed a great deal as he was a keen fisherman and hunter. The time there paid off. Sir Winston Churchill, the most famous of the house’s devoted fans, first began drinking the wines in 1908. In 1911, Pol Roger was issued a Royal Warrant, and the wines were poured at the coronation of George V on June 30th. By 1935, the Pol Roger wines, all vintage champagnes, had become the top selling in the UK.
The 1950s in France were rocky, as Champagne and the rest of Europe picked up the pieces after World War II. But the Pol-Roger sons used this as an opportunity to expand their property. They purchased additional vineyards and brought their total holdings to the 87 hectares the company owns today.
In 1984, Pol Roger launched, in the words of Michael Edwards “one of Champagne’s greatest cuvees”, naming it ‘Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill’ in honour of their ardent admirer.
Christian de Billy, Maurice Pol-Roger’s grandson, had joined the house in 1963, and today his son Hubert is the Commercial Director and a member of the Board of Directors. Chief Executive Patrice Noyelle came to the house in 1997, after spending 25 years working in Burgundy.
Patrice Noyelle spent 15 years with the house before announcing his retirement. He was succeeded by Laurent d’Harcourt, who first came to the house as Export Director in 2006, and has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2008.
Since 1999, the talented man in charge of the superior Pol Roger wines is cellar master Dominique Petit. Raised by a family of winemakers, he was naturally drawn to the career, and studied oeonology at colleges in Burgundy and Champagne before spending 20 years at Krug.
The 87 hectares of estate-owned vineyards are located in and around Epernay in the villages of Chavot, Chouilly, Cramant, Cuis, Grauves, Mardeuil, Moussy and Pierry. This provides about half of the grapes required for their production, the rest is purchased from growers with whom they enjoy long-established relationships.
Dominique recently completed the construction of a state-of-the-art vinification cellar where only stainless steel tanks are used for first fermentation. All wines go through full malolactic fermentation.
The spring after the harvest is when one of the most important elements of the champagne occurs – blending. The wines at this stage are still very young, and the skill of the blenders is crucial. They are able to foresee how the character of the wine will develop, and how best to combine the wines (including reserves) to exemplify the Pol Roger style.
There are two unique aspects in operation at Pol Roger. First, their cellars are some of the deepest in the region, and certainly the coldest - the temperature is kept at 9.5˚C. Second, they are one of the last large houses to use manual remuage, or riddling, instead of computer operated gyropalettes.