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Bright yellow hue with slightly green tints and bubbles that are soft, creamy, fine and delicate. The bouquet is precise and mineral with notes of ripe citrus fruit and white, almost vanilla-like blossoms (pollen) and notes of freshly harvested wheat and almonds. The freshness of the bouquet comes through in the form of minty and iodised aromas (sea spray) which slowly evolve towards warmer notes of smoke, hot butter and toast. The palate is creamy and soft yet concentrated on entry. The wine, underpinned by the delicate bubbles, unfolds majestically. It offers us the sensation of ripe, concentrated juice carried by an incredibly powdery texture with a distinctly saline finish. Oaky and smoky notes continue to draw out the wine, giving it extra length and concentration, an indication of its exceptional cellar-ageing potential. The finish is pure, refreshing and mouthwatering.
From 1830 onwards, the House of Louis Roederer acquired extensive knowledge of the terroirs and plot-by-plot vinification, and mastered the effervescence. In the heart of the Côte des Blancs, where the Chardonnay grapes attain optimal maturity on the calcareous soils, Louis Roederer has selected two exceptional grands crus: Mesnil-sur-Oger and Avize, whose unique characteristics and complementarity enable the House to produce taut, highly aromatic wines that have finesse.
100% Chardonnay, the Blanc de Blancs Vintage cuvée is generally matured on lees for five years and left for a minimum of 6 months after dégorgement (disgorging) to attain perfect maturity.
In the mouth, the attack is typically Chardonnay—it is smooth and delicate, and markedly sweet. Slightly sweetened floral notes and white fruit and dried fruit notes are combined with the almost chalky minerality of the Côte des Blancs. The texture has notes of sugared almond, a sensation that is strengthened by a soft effervescence that envelops the mouth. This is followed by an impression of finesse, elegance, and freshness, strengthened by suggestions of fresh mint and basil.
An extraordinary vintage which is also the year in which the Champagne region was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site! 2015 followed the continental trend of that decade: a mild, wet winter and a hot, dry summer. The summer, hot and sunny, brought record-breaking temperatures and water stress. The second half of August brought some very welcome rain, giving the vines some much needed relief. Thanks to this fresh finish, the vines produced juicy, ripe and concentrated grapes. Roederer's ambition for this vintage? To capture the concentration which is the hallmark of this spectacular vintage!
A wet winter and mild spring gave way to an exceptionally dry summer from mid-May onwards. Hot weather prevailed until mid-August, when the skies opened again. Rains gave way to fine, cool, yet sunny weather for the first two weeks of harvest, which commenced on August 29th. The 2015 vintage has a lot of common denominators with the 2003 vintage but the 2015s are showing a better balance of weight and freshness with their average potential alcohol level of 10.5% and total acidity of 6.9 g/l. The quality and ageing capacity of the vintage has been questioned because of the low acidity, but to me the structure of the wine is not the problem; the aromatics are. Initially as vins clairs, I found the wines to come with ample, attractive fruitiness. The vegetal, particularly ash-like aromatics were subdued but have since then become amplified, especially in the vintage bottlings. Drought issues are considered to be the culprit to these widely spread aromatic issues of the year. I have come notably down from my initial assessment. However, most vintage and prestige cuvées are yet to surface from the cellars and their quality will make or break the vintage.