Below are notes on four recent vintages of Pol Roger, showing the consistent quality that can be found in the wines of this particular Champagne house. I would have liked to add a note on the 2002 as well, but have realised in recent years that I can’t buy (and thus can’t feature) every wine that interests me. Besides, I often think my time might be better spent promulgating the virtues of fizz from Thierry Germain, Huet and Château de l’Aulée and the like rather than wealthy Champagne houses that already have a very strong brand identity and probably a fairly deep-pocketed advertising budget. Although I can’t follow that argument any further I think…..otherwise I would have to stop updating all my Bordeaux profiles…..
Anyway, on with the wines.
Pol Roger Brut 2000: Quite a rich hue in the glass, fresh and golden but with plenty of bright colour. A nice, moderately fine bead. The fresh appearance in the glass is more than matched by the nose which is all exuberant fruit, citrus and white peach, with a delicious undercurrent of fresh almonds and a little hint of richer cashew nut. But overall the appeal here is the bright and vibrant lift the nose seems to suggest, with piles of accessible fruit. And the palate doesn’t disappoint, bringing an appealing edge of sourness to the fruit, but with a lightly creamy texture which is offset very nicely by the combination of a gentle, prickling mousse and correct acidity. Such lovely balance! And it has some length in the finish too. This is very good indeed; it perhaps misses the most complex of characteristics, but it remains utterly charming. 17.5/20 (August 2012)
Pol Roger Brut 1999: A pale golden hue here, plenty of pressure behind the cork matched by a very fine but effusive bead in the glass. The aromatics are open and expressive, lemon fruit and white peach, smoky and lightly reductive, with a very grey character to it. There are little elements of nut though, although in a very straight and pure fashion, like blanched cashew nuts or almonds. The fruit has a lightly dried and concentrated character to it as well. The palate is full, rich, really quite creamy and bright, rolling around the mouth showing off its texture first, before the bright and acid-tinged lemony fruit flavours come through in the middle. Super character here, very sappy and cleansing, and clearly with bags of potential yet. Long and defined in the finish. 18/20 (August 2012)
Pol Roger Brut 1998: Another rich, lemon-gold hue here, and with a lively bead too, although it soon settles down. The nose is full of bruised apples at first, but with some air these notes blow off to leave a cleaner and more intense fruit character, moving more into a peachy richness, with a dried-fruit concentration to it. And this is followed, with time, by notes of almonds, brazil nuts, caramel and cream, but it remains fresh, lifted and lemony throughout. Lovely character on the palate, evolving nicely, rich but with plenty of lift behind it, showing flavours mirroring the nose but contrasted by a sappy fruit acid. The flavours have moved on only a little from my last taste four years ago, but there is a more polished, long and gentle feel to it. Delicious wine. 17.5/20 (August 2012)
Pol Roger Brut 1996: A richer colour compared with the other wines, a fine golden hue. A fine bead too. The nose has a lovely cashew nut character to it, and this runs underneath the sweet fruit with its evolved, citrus, tropical undertones. It has a lovely presence, showing appealing tinges of maturity in the shape of caramel and coffee. Yet there is plenty of vigour, acid and sparkle on the palate at first too, and this confident, vigorous showing persists through the finish. Plenty of citrus freshness to it, great definition, and yet a supple flesh and substance as well. This is really superb, evolving and yet remaining vigorous, acid-bound and long. This vintage certainly has years ahead of it yet. 18.5/20 (August 2012)