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News

Hubert de Billy, Champagne Pol Roger, appointed as the new President of PRIMUM FAMILIAE VINI

Hubert de Billy's message:
"Twenty-five years ago, my family was invited to join Primum Familiae Vini (PFV) which Robert Drouhin and Miguel Torres had created from scratch one year before.
It was - and still is - a great honour to have been welcomed by this great association and to take part in this amazing adventure.
It is my duty and my pleasure to thank my predecessor Jean-Frederic Hugel for the great job he did and all the energy he put into it.
I am now starting my third term as president and I am proud of all we have done together showing the world that wine is not just a product or even a business. The family dimension shows us wine is values!


A few days ago, one of the oldest Spanish family companies, Codorniu, was forced, after five centuries of family ownership, to allow one of the biggest private equity firms to acquire a majority holding. Time is flying and the world is changing. Generations are passing and PFV must keep going and adapting to new challenges and so we can be stronger together. 


The structure of the companies that make up the Primum Familiae Vini, a family structure by definition, is what we know and have long mastered. Our companies have a total of 2,388 years of experience; for us, more than ever, the family means sustainability and, therefore, the safeguarding of values without which it is impossible to produce great wines and preserve our common heritage. In this we remain symbols, and models, for the world of Wine and perhaps even beyond.


We have decided to audit ourselves and look into what has been done in the past, to understand the very meaning of PFV for each and every member. We are determined to look forward to be able to say clearly where we would like to be in 10, 20 or 30 years and even more.


New ideas, new tools and new events. Many things will be decided in the near future to take PFV to the next level and make it better known, better understood and more attractive to all our friends and wine-lovers around the world.
We will join together at Prowein and Vinexpo to show off the quality of our wines and, more specifically, our range of wines that complement each other and offer great synergy.
May that message convey some of the unique values of PFV: Quality, Exclusivity, Responsibility, Heritage, Innovation."

Hubert de Billy, fifth generation champagne Pol Roger
President PFV 2018-2019


Primum Familiae Vini, an association that promotes family values      

PFV was founded more than 25 years ago thanks to the initiative of Miguel A. Torres and Robert Drouhin, a leading winemaker in France's Burgundy region. During an informal meeting in 1991, they realized that they shared the same interests and concerns. The following year, they decided to found the association with the goal of preserving a way of making wine and a business model: the family-owned winery. Thus, this select group of winemakers preserves and promotes the traditions and values of family-owned wineries. They also make sure to pass on their knowledge, experience and, above all, their passion for the wine world to younger generations. 


The 11 families that make up PFV, which accepts members by invitation and unanimous decision only, have a centuries-long history, own vineyards and produce high-quality wines.  Most importantly, they have maintained their unity for generations. The oldest winery is Marchesi Antinori from Tuscany, Italy. Founded in 1385, it has been in the same family for 26 generations. Famille Perrin from the Rhône Valley in France was founded in 1909 and represents the association's youngest member. 


France is also home to four other wineries: Champagne Pol Roger (1849), Joseph Drouhin (1880), Alsace's Famille Hugel (1639) and Bordeaux's Baron Philippe de Rothschild (1853). Two wineries are from Spain: Bodegas Torres (1870) and Ribera del Duero's Vega Sicilia (1864), and two are from Italy: Tuscany's Tenuta San Guido (1840) and the aforementioned Marchesi Antinori. Egon Müller-Scharzhof from Mosel, Germany (1797) and Symington Family Estates from Porto, Portugal (1882), complete the list of the historical wineries that make up Primum Familiae Vini. 

 

Harvesting 2014

We have been harvesting for 15 days, from 12 to 26 September. The harvest is now over.
Following difficult weather conditions over the summer, the Champagne region enjoyed a sunny spell during the 3 weeks before harvesting, which produced very healthy grapes. Following difficult weather conditions over the summer, the Champagne region enjoyed a sunny spell during the 3 weeks before harvesting, which produced very healthy grapes.
On the whole, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes are really beautiful. The Pinot Meuniers are sound too, although a little more uneven in some areas.


The heat was beneficial to the vine; however, it obliged us to be extremely vigilant in the winery as the grapes were warm. It also implied a good organisation between the picking and pressing procedures. The crop did not suffer any oxidation and the musts displayed very clear colours. The first smells developing during the fermentation are very pleasant. These conditions build up our hopes for a quality 2104 crop.

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History

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.

Christian de Billy’s son Hubert is actively involved in the company but Pol Roger recently recruited their first managers, Patrice Noyelle and Laurent d’Harcourt, from outside the family. Extensive vineyard holdings of 89 ha, and perfected skills in the art of blending hold the secret to the quality. The entire board of directors and many family members participate to the blending decisions. The cellars extend some 7 kilometres beneath the streets of Epernay and are carved out of the local chalk over three levels. Total production at Pol Roger is in the region of 1.5 million bottles per annum,

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Vineyards

Viticulture

The company owns some 89 hectares (220 acres) of vineyards on prime sites in the Montagne de Reims, the Côte des Blancs, and in the Vallée de la Marne. The remainder of its supplies cornes from individual growers, many of whom have supplied Pol Roger for generations. Pol Roger's vineyard is managed by "viticulture raisonnée" following the standard of production established by the Comité Interprofessionnel des Vins de Champagne. (CIVC).

 

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Winemaking

Pol Roger owns close to 50% of the vineyards used for their Champagne production, a true rarity in this region of large firms. Using strict guidelines, grapes are sourced exclusively from 1er and Grand Cru vineyards that rate at an average of 95 points on the Échelle des Crus classification system. (In each vintage, the Échelle des Crus system, or ladder of growths, operates on a percentile basis to fix grape prices of each cru, or delimited vineyard area in the Champagne appellation; Pol Roger’s vineyards, therefore, rank close to the highest quality possible among the Grande Marque Champagne houses.)

Prior to final blending each lot is aged on its own, separated by village, vineyard, grower and grape variety. Once blended, each bottle of Champagne Pol Roger is hand riddled in the cellars deep below the Epernay château. In effect, each bottle of Cuvée Champagne is hand-made. Pol Roger Champagnes are the marriage of power and elegance. 
 

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11 different wines with 117 vintages

Winemaking since 1849

  • Sir Winston Churchill

    In victory, deserve it ; in defeat, need it

Highlights

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Wine Moments

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

 Juha Lihtonen / The Best Scandinavian Sommelier 2003, Pro (Finland)  tasted  5 wines  from  Pol Roger . In a tasting of  35 wines 

After a loooong wait of two long, we got finally the world's best champagne fair – Grand Champagne – organised. Superb bunch of chefs de cave, great selection of champagnes and bubbly atmosphere, what else do you need! And the best champagne for me was........Charles Heidsieck La Collection de Crayères 1981 in Jeroboam (98p)! 

4m 19d ago

 Essi Avellan MW , Wine Writer (Finland)  tasted  2 wines  from  Pol Roger . In a tasting of  10 wines 

Bollinger R.D. 1976 /“Every one of my encounters with this wine has been a slight disappointment, but then again expectations fly really high for the vintage. The earlier disgorgements have had a really sweet appearing nose with candied fruit and patisserie notes. Mouth-filling, super ripe, chunky palate short of energy. It feels like its best days are already gone. From a very recent 2012 disgorged bottle if was still fully vibrant, with a peculiar combination of aged and youthful characters. Probably still recovering from the shock of such late disgorgement.”

4m 30d ago

 Richard Juhlin , Wine Writer (Sweden)  tasted  1 wines  from  Pol Roger . In a tasting of  4 wines 

‘It is striking that Winston Churchill 2013 is now lighter and more shy at launch than they used to be in the past. On the other hand, they seem to end up very close to the older vintages after a few years of their own storage. This slow development with Verzenay as such a clear mineral-rich stringent protagonist is noticeable not least in the glass. Just like in 2012, the wine is much more impressive and rounded rich a few hours after opening the bottle. Then a little cautiously, the whole Winston bouquet appears in the form of baguette, dark chocolate, strawberry jam, olives, gunpowder smoke, black coffee and sweet gravenstein apples. Drink after 2028.’


90(94)p

5m 1d ago

 Pol Roger  has updated producer and wine information

5m 2d ago

 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Pol Roger . In a tasting of  17 wines 

Moet & Chandon Vintage 1911 / This was a later release; in fact, it was released by Moet to celebrate the 100th year of this vintage.  When first released, it was sold at auction along with a date with Scarlett Johansson.  I’m not sure if the first buyer ever got that date, but I do know that the second buyer insisted if he got that date, Hollywood history might have been a little different lol.  There was a ‘bigger finish’ here per Big Boy, and Jetski admired its ‘smokiness.’  There was so much exotic to this bottle – exotic fruits, exotic fireplace.  It was clearly the most complex, and most people’s favorite.  110 years old never tasted so good (98).

5m 9d ago

 Pol Roger  has updated producer and wine information

9m 12d ago

 Richard Hemming MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Pol Roger . In a tasting of  21 wines 

Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Collection Brut 1959 / Disgorged February 2013. Fully fermented in oak. Mid gold. Very expressive, coffee, milk, smoke and biscuit. Has crossed the flavour threshold from champagne to Burgundy – though the mousse is still very present. Very lengthy finish. Biscuits, slight bitter orange. Splendidly indulgent and rich.

9m 29d ago

 Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Wine Writer (South Korea)  tasted  1 wines  from  Pol Roger . In a tasting of  22 wines 

2004 Charles Heidsieck Blanc de Millenaires / Toasty and layered with wonderful depth and a long finish. This prestige cuvee offers wonderful concentration and is often under-valued in the market compared to its peers. Since 1983, the Blanc de Millenaires is only sourced from 5 villages of Cote de Blanc. 30,000 bottles made per year. Aged for 13 years on its lees and made only every 5-7 years.

10m 2d ago

 Pol Roger  has updated producer and wine information

1y 21d ago

 Juha Lihtonen / The Best Scandinavian Sommelier 2003, Pro (Finland)  tasted  2 wines  from  Pol Roger . In a tasting of  30 wines 

100 Best Champagnes 2022 tasting – day 1 behind. Very solid line-up with a handful of super gems! Cuvée R. Lalou 2006 (96p) is still hard to beat although Comtes de Champagne 2011 (95p) did well despite the challenging vintage. Armand de Brignac Brut Rosé (93p) was the best rosé ACE I recall having. For roses, Charles Heidsieck Rosé Réserve NV (94p) is superb find for the value!

1y 27d ago

 Essi Avellan MW , Wine Writer (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Pol Roger . In a tasting of  56 wines 

The Champagne Magazine's "The 100-Best Champagnes 2022" tasting - Day 2.

1y 27d ago

 Michael Scott / Wine Importer, Pro (Canada)  tasted  2 wines  from  Pol Roger . In a tasting of  9 wines 

Henriot Millésime 2008 / Golden yellow hue with clear, bright tints. Elegant, dynamic and softly integrated effervescence. The nose is initially subtle and quite restrained. It gradually opens up to reveal a bouquet of orchard fruits such as apples and pears, and evolves towards slightly sweet floral and honeyed notes, before giving way to concentrated citrus aromas and zesty redcurrant fruit. The attack is rich, concentrated, broad, deep and fruity.

1y 2m ago

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