Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 1998
Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France
The Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill was created as a tribute to the great man, as he was a close friend of the Pol-Roger family and long time consumer of the champagne. The Cuvée is consistently made in the style he preferred: robust, full-bodied, relatively mature and dominated by Pinot Noir which contributes firmness and backbone complemented by the ethereal elegance of Chardonnay. The Cuvée is composed of the only the finest grapes from the very best vineyards (and only those from within the Champagne area under vine in Sir Winstons day), chosen for declaration in only the best vintage years.
Connoisseurs' Guide - "Churchill loved Pol Roger Champagne so much he named a race horse after it. When he died, Pol Roger named its tete de cuvee after him. Among the rich and deep, Pinot Noir-based leaders in this tasting, the Cuvee Sir Winnie has always been the one that finds the best balance of boldness and control at the same time. Its toasty, nutty, soy and chalk first aromas are met by smells of brioche and roasted lemons, and its mousse follows with both power and pinpoint insistence. It eschews the fruitier styles of Dom Perignon and Perrier-Jouet yet has more mannerly lines than the pushy Bollinger and Krug. It is, quite simply, our favorite among a very exciting group of wines."
Wilfred Wong of Wine.com - "Rich gold hue with tiny bubbles. Very complex bouquet of white flowers, acacia honey, haunting spice nuances and a bit of dried citrus peel. Exceptional balance with a wonderful contrast between crisp citrus notes, warm apple fruit and Christmas spice. A powerful, elegant wine that is, above all, luscious."
The Wine Advocate - "The 1998 Brut Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill opens with intriguing, exotic notes of smoke, cured meats and tar. This is a big, sweeping Sir Winston Churchill endowed with layers of perfumed ripe pears, quince, flowers and spices in a style that balances a generous expression of fruit with acidity and minerality. Everything is in the right place in this delicate yet deeply satisfying Champagne. This bottle was disgorged at the beginning of 2007. Winston Churchill is Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with Pinot playing the leading role. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2023."
International Wine Cellar - "Light gold. Intensely aromatic nose offers a complex bouquet of smoky orchard and pit fruit aromas, along with exotic orange zest and white pepper. Deep and chewy, displaying impressively concentrated but brisk pear and bitter citrus pith flavors and an undercurrent of buttery brioche and lees. Finishes with palate-staining persistence and a subtle anise quality. As usual, a stunner."
Wine Spectator - "A bracing version, with loads of energy driving its apple, grapefruit and pastry flavors. Mineral and ginger notes enter the mix as this glides to a long finish. Drink now through 2022. 250 cases imported."
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Pol Roger Winery
Pol Roger is one of the few remaining family-owned grande marque Champagne houses. Their grande marque status was guaranteed at the turn of the century when about 20 producers banded together to establish exacting quality controls for Champagne. The annual production at Pol Roger - less than 120,000 cases - is found in the best restaurants of France, England, and the USA, and is exported to over 30 countries. Pol Roger also was the Champagne of choice of British dignitary Sir Winston Churchill, who once said of Champagne, "...In victory I deserve it, and in defeat I need it!". View all Pol Roger Wines
About ChampagneView a map of Champagne wineries Champagne is both a region and a method. The wines come from the northernmost vineyards in France and the name conjures an image like no other can. An 18th Century Benedictine monk named Dom Perignon is said to be the first to blend both varietals and vintages, making good wines not only great, but also special and unique to their winemaker. Today, nearly 75% of Champagne produced is non-vintage and made up by a blend of several years' harvests.
All Champagnes must be made by a strictly controlled process called "Méthode Champenoise." The grapes are pressed and fermented for the first time. The blending phase follows and the wine is bottled and temporarily capped. Then comes the second fermentation, a blend of sugar and yeast is added and, this time, the carbon dioxide is kept inside the bottle. This process leaves a great deal of sediment that is extracted through a process of "racking" or "riddling." The bottles are progressively turned upside down until all the sediment is collected in the neck. The necks are then frozen and the sediment is "disgorged." After this phase, the winemaker may decide to add sugar to sweeten the wine. Finally the wine is corked. Some wines move through this process in a couple of months, while others are aged after the riddling phase to build greater complexity and depth.
Champagnes range from dry, "Brut," to slightly sweet, "Demi-Sec." Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes are used in Champagne blends, but "Blancs de Noirs" is made entirely of Pinot Noir and "Blancs de Blanc" is made from only Chardonnay grapes. The high acidity achieved by the northern location is crucial to the balance and structure of these wines.
Not every year is a "vintage" declared. In years when it is not, the wines are blended with the produce from other years to create the non-vintage blend, the house style that remains constant from year to year. But in a great vintage year, champagne houses will bottle by itself the unblended year's produce, and use other portions as "reserve" wines to supplement and enrich the non-vintage blend. A vintage champagne can age quite gracefully, and gain complexity just like any other great still wine.
Mild cheeses like gruyere and shellfish pair nicely with Champagne. Also, oysters and Champagne is a popular combination. A full-flavored vintage Champagne can go with almost any meal.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.