There are certain people who command respect. They are royalty among the normal. The Prince is one such man. He’s a man of plenty experience in the making of a certain style of wine, so much that he’s earned the royal title. It was the Prince’s birthday, and although he’d already had significant celebrations with significant others, we were graced with a visit and thus his presence. It was an opportunity for opening a wine SWMBO and I’d had for a few years. It was waiting for such an occasion.
One of the most respected Champagne brands is Pol Roger. A small house, the wines are always extremely stylish, and never extroverted. Yet they have wonderful complexity. In my early days of wine drinking, their excellence went over my head. It took quite a while to learn to savour and seek the detail. The 1999 Pol Roger ‘Sir Winston Churchill’ Champagne is the house’s top expression for that very fine year. Its actual make-up in cepage is a closely guarded secret. But no doubt there’s plenty of Pinot Noir and also extended time on lees. The 1999 is still youthful in that it has a real future ahead of it as shown by its concentration and fine firm depth. But it is showing its character now. Rich but restrained stonefuits, more yellow than white, showing the Pinot Noir heart. And a complex interwoven amalgam of bread and nuts, from autolysis and melding with fruit. No aldehyde coarseness at all, but interestingly with considerable textures. Again not coarse or unwanted phenolics, but more fruit weight and extract. The acidity is perfectly judged, giving succulence and tension. We loved this. The Prince sipped his glass with a big grin. We think royalty was pleased.