2012 Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill
|Grapes||Pinot Noir, Chardonnay|
Some zoom tastings are better than others - and the presentation live and direct from 'No.1, Rue Winston Churchill' in Epernay to introduce the 2012 Cuvée Winston Churchill - was superb. Not just because of the great charm and good humour of 6th generation family member Hubert de Billy and Laurent d'Harcourt - but because the wine is hugely impressive.
2012 was not an easy vintage - and nature really was cruel for much of the time. A warmish, damp winter moved in to a wet Spring which was dotted with some severe frosts and also some devastating hail storms. These grim conditions needed a long, warm summer to save things - and thankfully a perfect August came to the rescue.
So, production is down here but the remaining crop was high-quality and intense. The surviving fruit loaded with powerful flavour and complex aromatics. This translates to a wonderful release of Sir Winston Churchill. Beautifully broad-textured, measured power and fizzing with personality.
Intense and loaded with dried fruit notes, crunch of tart apple and a more savoury nuttiness too. Sparks fly and wafts of warm dough and ginger pop up - teasing you for what the future might hold. This is a really delicious rendition of such a special cuvée and it should last well, improving over time for the next 20 years and beyond. Drinking range: 2022 - 2040 L&S (Mar 2021)
*Case price discount: Mix any 12 bottles (or 9l equivalent) of wine or 6 bottles of Champagne, Spirits, Sweet Wine or Fortified to get the 'case price' for each bottle.
Sleek, with racy acidity, this tightly-meshed version nonetheless offers a lovely range of flavors, with ripe black cherry and currant fruit and accents of pomegranate, candied kumquat and raw almond. Finely detailed, creamily swaths the palate in silk-like texture, carrying the expanding flavor profile through to a graphite- and spice-laced, lasting finish. Drink now through 2032. Drinking range: 2021 - 2032 Rating: 97 Alison Napjus, The Wine Spectator (Apr 2021)
Intense aromas of strawberry and subtle apple with pie crust and some ash and stone. An almost smoky undertone to the aromas. Full-bodied and very layered with ultra fine tannins that give it a rough-cut, velvety texture. It’s very flavorful, yet so checked and reserved at the same time. Compact, tight palate that is deep and powerful. Very vinous at the end and in the mouth feel. Spicy and biscuity at the finish. Mostly pinot noir with chardonnay and only grand cru. More density and complexity than the 2008. Seven years on the lees. Delicious and luxurious to drink now, but giving this some age will make it even better. Rating: 98 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com (Mar 2021)
Pol Roger's newly released 2012 Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill is showing brilliantly, bursting from the glass with youthful aromas of honeyed pears, toasted brioche, pomelo, fresh pastry, green apple and mandarin orange, with hints of stone fruit emerging with time in the glass. Full-bodied, vinous and textural, with an enveloping core of fleshy, concentrated fruit, bright acids and an elegant pinpoint mousse, it concludes with a long, penetrating finish. More muscular and vibrant than the generous and charming 2009, the 2012 ranks alongside the 2008 and 2002 as one of the three finest renditions of Sir Winston Churchill this millennium—and in style it resembles a hypothetical blend of those two vintages. Drinking range: 2022 - 2045 Rating: 96+ William Kelley, The Wine Advocate (Mar 2021)
Champagne Pol Roger
Champagne Pol Roger is one of the very few remaining houses still owned and run by the founding family, who remain responsible for the winemaking and selection of the cuvées each year.
Originally founded in Aÿ in 1849 by Pol Roger, the firm then moved to Épernay in 1851. The First World War had a huge impact on the firm, putting any expansion plans to rest, and Prohibition in America made exports much more difficult.
During the Second World War when the Germans occupied France, all production and buying of Champagne was controlled by the Wehrmacht.
However, the War caused Winston Churchill to become a prominent figurehead throughout the world, and his love of Pol Roger was widely known. So much so that the House created their special Cuvée Winston Churchill in 1975.
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