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Pol Roger Brut 2000

The other day it seemed appropriate to broach a bottle of Pol Roger's Brut 2000, recently added to the cellar, so I opened one; it was delicious. So much so that I then went on to open another; that one was delicious too. So then I moved another into the wine fridge where I keep the 40-or-so wines that form my 'drink now' stock, ready for the next moment that demanded a glass of fizz. It was at that point I realised that the wine in question should be my wine of the week. Although it is not always quality that drives my decision as to which wine should feature on these pages each Monday - sometimes it might be a quirky feature of the wine such as an unusual grape variety, its rarity, its esoteric oddness or perhaps its venerable age - but when a wine is so good that it just demands you start drinking your stock now, bottle after bottle, surely it deserves a mention?

First, a few words on the vintage; although the growing season was a huge success for Bordeaux, and for the Port quintas of Portugal also, the celebrations in the Champagne region were rather more muted. This was because the vines on the slopes and valleys around the Montagne de Reims and Côtes des Blancs was not advantaged by the warm, balmy weather that was enjoyed around the Médoc or the Douro. The winter was wild, with a great storm on December 26th, followed by a mild and damp spring. The weather during the flowering in June was thankfully more favourable, although it was followed by hail in July, and three times the expected rainfall. It was a warm and dry August that saved the vintage, and this weather continued into September and made for a dry and relaxed harvest. It was a year for vintage cuvées, but not a great year like 1996 or 1990.

Pol Roger Brut 2000

I have already written of the make-up of the 1998 Pol Roger, and the DNA behind the 2000 vintage is similar. It is the usual blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay, sourced from a mix of twenty grand and premier cru vineyards. After a cold débourbage at 8ºC and pressing the must was fermented in stainless steel at 18ºC yielding vins clairs with, according to the team at Pol Roger, "good potential for vintage cuvées, with attractive fruit aromas, sound acidity and good body and length". After the secondary fermentation the wine was aged in the Pol Roger cellars prior to release, approximately nine years on from the vintage.

And so to the wine, the Pol Roger Brut 2000, which has a rich, soft golden glow in the glass, with a good central bead surrounded by plenty of small-to-moderate sized bubbles. The nose is just gorgeous, broad and seductive, with elements of brioche, toasted almonds over notes of sweet stone fruit, white peach and more. The palate is just as the nose suggests it will be, generous but not flabby, soft and welcoming like a plumped-up down-filled pillow, enveloping the tastebuds and gently caressing them one by one. And yet it remains bright and lively, with a very linear core of acidity flanked by a finely poised mousse. This is absolutely delicious stuff, so approachable and easy-going and yet clearly of very fine, well-defined quality too. This, to my palate, is ready now - so I suggest you drink on. I've certainly been doing so! 18+/20 (28/6/10)

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