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Louis Roederer Launches its Replacement for Brut Premier with Collection 242 NV
Louis Roederer Replaces Brut Premier & Launches Collection 242 NV, the new cuvée named because this 2017 base is the 242nd time Champagne Louis Roederer have made a non-vintage since they were founded in 1776. Louis Roederer Brut Premier was introduced in 1986 and from September 2021 the future is Louis Roederer Collection 242 NV and it is much more than new branding! The project “Collection 242” started in the spring of 2013 when Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, Cellar Master, took the first steps by putting some wines aside for this new project and now eight years later we see the results.
Collection 242 Base Vintage 2017 – 56% of Collection 242 Blend
The base vintage for Collection 242 is 2017, a tremendously difficult year in the vineyards! An exceptionally warm and dry winter and spring, but the latter brought severe frosts from 17 to 29 April, setting the horrible record for 12 nights of frost. These were followed by a dull, wet and not particularly hot summer, which ended in an almost tropical (hot and humid) spell at the end of August. This sudden change led to a significant increase in grey rot on the ripening Pinot Noir and Meunier grapes. The harvest was fast paced and completed very quickly demanding precise and methodical selection work, of an unprecedented level even for CLR. The harvest took place from the 31st August to the 9th September 2017. Since no Cristal or Vintage was made in 2017 then the best of those estate wines make up part of the Collection 242 base vintage.
After the upheavals of the early 1900s, particularly the First World War that destroyed more than half of the Louis Roederer estate, Léon Olry Roederer reconstructed the vineyards. He decided to buy grapes to ensure the continuity of the House during this difficult period and, at the same time, created a multi-vintage wine that would have a consistent flavour, whatever the harvest year. It is now called Brut Premier.
A blend of around 40% Pinot noir, 40% Chardonnay, and 20% Pinot Meunier, Brut Premier comprises wine matured in oak tuns produced from three Champagne grape varieties that originate from various crus selected by Louis Roederer. It is aged for 3 years in Louis Roederer’s cellars and left for a minimum of 6 months after dégorgement (disgorging).
Striking a perfect balance between youthfulness and maturity, seduction and character, freshness and vinosity, Brut Premier is a champagne that is harmonious and structured, elegant and lively, with a unique exuberancy. Its structured texture, richness, and length are distinctly winey. It is a full, complex wine that is both rich and powerful, whilst remaining a great classic.