Roederer’s star Estates Speaker: Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon by Christelle Guibert
For devotees of Champagne, the name of Roederer has been a flagship brand in the region, but it was a great opportunity to discover that Roederer is not just a Champagne institution but a family business who invested in different corner of the world.
This masterclass offered a great diversity of wine and Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon (pictured), the chief winemaker at Roederer, took us on a journey of discovery through France and Portugal. After taking us through a brief summary of the six-generation family history, Lecaillon stressed how important it is to respect the local knowledge and to keep the connection of the previous owners when investing in new Estates.
The family philosophy is to have a full control of the land, from the soil to vineyard management, and most of the wines produced are from estates grown grapes, the only exception being the Brut Premier NV Champagne where they purchase some grapes from old Champagne families.
Blending is also another key factor of the Estates; Lecaillon explained how the experience and the knowledge of blending is more important than the winemaking “we hardly mention winemaking in the estates and we prefer to talk about wine tasting and only tasting the wines will tell us what to do – it’s not about analysis and technology”.
Quote of the masterclass:
Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon on taking over Estates:
“All our investments are a kind of wedding rather than a take over but like all weddings, it’s not always easy.”
Louis Roederer, Brut Premier Champagne NV:
Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon doesn’t like to call it a Non-Vintage but rather a Multi-Vintage wine; this is a blend of 8 different vintages and the based being 2004. The wine is aged partly in oak and stainless steel. The wine is then aged for 3 years in the cellar before shipping. Attractive fruitiness and freshness on the nose with a hint of vinocity coming form the reserve wines & the oak. The palate is well- structured and complex and has a very elegant finish.
Louis Roederer brut Rosé 2002:
This is not the easiest style of Champagne to make and Roederer is one of the few houses that still use maceration on skins. This is a blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay from the exceptional 2002 vintage. The wine exhibits lots of fresh and pure raspberry and strawberry summer fruits. Elegant palate with more persistent red cherry fruit and hint of ginger biscuit on the finish.
Louis Roederer Cristal 1999 (Jeroboam):
It’s not everyday we get the chance to taste a Jeroboam of Cristal 1999. In 1876, Louis Roederer was asked to make a special style served in a crystal bottle for the personal consumption of the Star Alexander II. Made from 2/3 Pinot Noir and 1/3 Chardonnay, Cristal is only produced in exceptional years when both grapes are fully matured. 1999 might not be a fantastic vintage but the wine showed elegant peachy fruit with some white flower aromas and some minerality. When first poured in the glass, the wine was rather shied but after few minutes in the glass, it opened up to creamy notes with some finesse and an elegant structure.
Domaines Ott Blanc de Blancs, Clos Mireille, Côtes de Provence 2008:
This is a blend of Semillon and Ugni Blanc; the wine is very shy on the nose leading to some floral and herbal characters and hint of lemon on the finish; well-balanced with a zesty acidity.
Domaines Ott, Cœur de Grain, Château de Selle, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2008
This blend of Cinsault, Grenache, and Syrah with some Cabernet Sauvignon displays lots of pretty fruit with aromas of raspberry and blackberry. The palate is elegant but very much focused and has fresh and vibrant raspberry fruit characters; a serious rosé to enjoy with food.
Domaines Ott, Château Romassan, Bandol Rouge 2007
Very Mediterranean in style, this Mourvedre, Syrah and Grenach based wine exhibits black olives and garrigue flavours with some stone fruits. Compact with firm tannins but it’s in balance with the marked acidity and the savoury and gamey characters. Still very young and needs few more years to open up.
Château Haut-Beausejour, Saint-Estèphe 2006
Inviting pain grillé and blackberry aromas with some tobacco. Soft and rounded on the palate with fresh blackcurrant characters and some toasted oak.
Château de Pez, Saint-Estephe 2000
Superb wine from the magnificent 2000 vintage. Powerful on the nose with lots of toasted and spicy flavour and blackcherry fruits. Strong and intense on the palate with a fine fruit concentration and more spicy and oaky characters; complex with a very long lingering finish.
Château Pichon Longueville, Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac 1996
Tertiary aromas are picking through; attractive green pepper with some undergrowth and cigarbox bouquet. The palate is soft and elegant and still has a fresh acidity and complexity; some blackberry fruit and leathery characters on the finish.
Ramos, Pinto Duas Quintas reserva 2005
Expressive nose of macerated red cherry with some chocolate note. The palate is complex and balanced and has a creamy texture with deep black fruit characters.
Ramos Pinto, Vintage Port 1997
Powerful, lots of concentrated red and black fruits with a nice purity to it. Nice structure with some savoury characters and some rich black fruits, the alcohol is well-integrated.
Ramos Pinto, Quinta de Bom-Retiro, 20 Year Old Tawny Port
Round and smooth with lost of spicy notes, baked apples and roasted walnuts. Rich on the palate with more nutty and sweet spicy characters; the sweetness is in perfect balance with the structure and the complexity; great length.