x
  • Country ranking ?

    936
  • Producer ranking ?

    9
  • Decanting time

    No
  • When to drink

    2020-2035
  • Food Pairing

    Seafood, Salads & Consommes

The Story

Pol Roger recently celebrated its 150th anniversary and is perhaps best known as Winston Churchill's favourite Champagne. Established in 1849, Champagne Pol Roger remains family-owned and proudly independent to this day. Pol Roger, the 1831 born founder of the house, had lived in the Grand Cru village of Aÿ his whole childhood. The whole family supported the enterprise of their son. From early on Pol Roger focused in exports, and the English market was the most important one from the beginning. The commercial success of the company had its roots in the business model where they produced other champagne brands in the Pol Roger facilities. Pol Roger is one of the few remaining family owned Grande Marque champagne businesses.

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Vintage 1996

Churchill and Champagne

Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was born in 1874, in the same year as Pol Roger’s first vintage champagne. This wine was to make Pol Roger famous on the English market. Equally, Winston Churchill was to grow into a statesman of the highest rank. In addition to having been selected as the most significant person in British history, he was also awarded the Nobel Prize in literature. This multi-talented man was a skilled polo player, oil painter and carpenter. His interest in wine, cigars and gastronomy is well-known.
Champagne was by far Churchill’s favourite drink. Even during the war years he never travelled without at least one case of Pol Roger champagne, the vintage 1828 being his preference. Churchill’s alcohol consumption was vast, but he never appeared drunken thanks to his well-trained tolerance for alcohol. Legend says that there was always a measure of alcohol in Churchill’s blood. Labour Party Member of Parliament Bessie Braddock once told Churchill off for being drunk, to which the wordy man replied: “Bessie, you are ugly. But in the morning I will be sober”.
Churchill was a disciplined and determined man who started his morning by working in his bed. He read the daily newspapers and communications and dictated assignments. He even received visitors sitting by his bed side with Nelson, his cat, keeping him company at the foot of the bed. It was quite often during the tough years of war that he started drinking wine already in the morning. He, if anyone, had the weight of a nation on his shoulders. If possible Churchill stayed in bed all morning. He would gather together friends, relatives, politicians and army leaders for lunch. War strategy was discussed over lunch with the help of champagne and brandy. In the afternoon Winston Churchill needed a rest to refresh him for the evening’s meetings. Churchill entertained his dinner guests night after night with unlimited champagne, cognac and cigars. He commonly got to bed only at around three or four in the morning. Churchill’s lavish alcohol consumption was criticized from time to time. He defended himself by saying: ”I can only say having gotten more out of alcohol than it has gotten out of me”.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

27 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Deep, Yellow and Bright

ending

Long, Flavorful and Extensive

flavors

Apricot, Toasty, Mineral, Steely, Citrus and White fruits

nose

Youthful, Ripe, Complex and Fresh

recommend

Yes

taste

High in Acidity, Balanced, Concentrated, Well-Integrated, Developing, Medium-bodied, Round, Harmonious, Silky and Dry

Verdict

Intelligent and Sophisticated

Written Notes

Probably the foremost Winston Churchill that the world has ever seen since the prime minister passed away! Incomparably grand and impressive. This wine thunders forth like a symphony by Beethoven. The kettle drums are at full blast and the bass is impossibly heavy. But still, Pol Roger's eminently amiable drinkable quality and elevating acid are present. A wine with which to fill your cellar. Fairly soon to enter a tunnel unfortunately, so hang on for a while!
  • 96p
We started appropriately with an ambassador of sorts, the 1996 Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill. It’s an ambassador not only due to the man after whom it was named, but also because it remains a great value (arguably greatest) for one of the Top Ten luxury cuvees made in Champagne. In fact, at a December dinner at Chateau Lafite, I was reminded how good even the regular non-vintage Pol Roger is when it was served before dinner. That, too, remains one of the great buys in bubbly, still less than $30 a bottle. The 1996 was a great way to start off the evening, delivering an outstanding experience from the word go. Its nose had picture perfect balance between its sweetness, fruit and structural components. Big Boy called it, ‘Krug-like with its green apples.’ Golden aromas showered over its minerally, slaty, racy and wound personality. BB kept harping on its ‘slaty’ qualities, also appreciating its ‘mid-palate depth.’ It did have that, flashing its fruit in the mouth like an Ali jab. There was great toast to this complex bubbly, but BB felt it was ‘missing the pitch and citricity of 6-star,’ though I countered that it was still a bit young for 6-star status, and that many wines need to blossom into that category. However, a couple of other bubblies would soon remind us that 6-star status is something that can come across even at a young age
  • 95p
Medium-intense pale yellow colour, vivid bubbles. Fresh, very intense nose but still closed – citrus aromas with yeasty twist. Crisp and concentrated palate with high acidity and very mineral flavours. Hints of lemon and biscuit flavours but still very tight and one dimensional. Will definitely improve after at least 5 to 7 years ageing. If served now decant 15 minutes before.
  • 89p

Information

Origin

Epernay, Champagne

Other wines from this producer

Blanc de Blancs

Blanc de Blancs Vinothèque

Brut Réserve

Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill Vinothèque

Pol Roger Vinothèque

Pol Roger vintage

Pol Roger vintage rosé

Pure

Reserve de Wermacht

Rich

Highlights

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users. or to see wine moments from your world.

96p
 Richard Juhlin / The number One champagne expert in the world, Pro (Sweden)  tasted  Sir Winston Churchill 1996  ( Pol Roger )

"Probably the foremost Winston Churchill that the world has ever seen since the prime minister passed away! Incomparably grand and impressive. This wine thunders forth like a symphony by Beethoven. The kettle drums are at full blast and the bass is impossibly heavy. But still, Pol Roger's eminently amiable drinkable quality and elevating acid are present. A wine with which to fill your cellar. Fairly soon to enter a tunnel unfortunately, so hang on for a while!"

11m 24d ago

97p
 Cashile Pienaar / Sommelier, Pro (South Africa)  tasted  Sir Winston Churchill 1996  ( Pol Roger )

"One of the greatest Cuvée Sir Winston Churchills ever made"

1y 5m ago

95p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Sir Winston Churchill 1996  ( Pol Roger )

"We started appropriately with an ambassador of sorts, the 1996 Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill. It’s an ambassador not only due to the man after whom it was named, but also because it remains a great value (arguably greatest) for one of the Top Ten luxury cuvees made in Champagne. In fact, at a December dinner at Chateau Lafite, I was reminded how good even the regular non-vintage Pol Roger is when it was served before dinner. That, too, remains one of the great buys in bubbly, still less than $30 a bottle. The 1996 was a great way to start off the evening, delivering an outstanding experience from the word go. Its nose had picture perfect balance between its sweetness, fruit and structural components. Big Boy called it, ‘Krug-like with its green apples.’ Golden aromas showered over its minerally, slaty, racy and wound personality. BB kept harping on its ‘slaty’ qualities, also appreciating its ‘mid-palate depth.’ It did have that, flashing its fruit in the mouth like an Ali jab. There was great toast to this complex bubbly, but BB felt it was ‘missing the pitch and citricity of 6-star,’ though I countered that it was still a bit young for 6-star status, and that many wines need to blossom into that category. However, a couple of other bubblies would soon remind us that 6-star status is something that can come across even at a young age"

1y 5m ago

89p
 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  Sir Winston Churchill 1996  ( Pol Roger )

"Medium-intense pale yellow colour, vivid bubbles. Fresh, very intense nose but still closed – citrus aromas with yeasty twist. Crisp and concentrated palate with high acidity and very mineral flavours. Hints of lemon and biscuit flavours but still very tight and one dimensional. Will definitely improve after at least 5 to 7 years ageing. If served now decant 15 minutes before. "

4y 3m ago

97p
 Essi Avellan MW / Editor of the Champagne magazine, Pro (Finland)  tasted  Sir Winston Churchill 1996  ( Pol Roger )

"Deep golden colour. Overt, rich red fruit, honey and dry cake nose. Lovely coffee, very fluffy, generous, voluptuos, mouthfilling, concentrated and long palate. Not veruy much develop,emt over the last 2 years. Energetic and lovely. Sulphuric, fresh, tropical and long. But still going up."

4y 4m ago

93p
 Edward Cuvée, Wine Dealer (France)  tasted  Sir Winston Churchill 1996  ( Pol Roger )

"Sir Winston 96 :( Clos de Goisses 02 :)"

4y 9m ago

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