Louis Roederer, Champagne (France) “Collection 242” NV

($62):  Roederer, certainly one of the very top names in Champagne, has replaced its Brut Premier bottling with the Collection line.  As much as I enjoyed their Brut Premier, Roederer’s Collection bottling is a big step up, at least judging from the first release, Collection 242.  The number refers to the harvest since its founding in 1776.  We can thank climate change for the Collection concept, according to Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, Roederer’s Chef de Cave.  Previously, the struggle in Champagne, and elsewhere, was to achieve ripe grapes.  Now the challenge is to maintain acidity and freshness in the grapes to give the wines vivacity.  To achieve this, according to Lécaillon, Roederer has focused on specific terroirs, either their own vineyards or from growers, that produce grapes with excellent ripeness in concert with great acidity.  In addition, to enhance the wine’s energy, Roederer has started what they call a perpetual reserve of about 15,000 hectoliters (nearly 400,000 U.S. gallons) of wines, half Pinot Noir and half Chardonnay, from the 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 vintages, which are aged without exposure to oxygen and have undergone no acid softening malo-lactic fermentation.  To put together The Collection 242, Lécaillon’s team used 34 percent of wines from the four reserve vintages, another 10 percent of oak-aged reserve wine from 2009, which imparts a delectable suave creaminess, along with 56 percent of wine from the 2017 vintage. The result is simply stunning. Roederer’s Collection 242 combines a perfectly balance of elegance, freshness, and power.  As an aperitif, it stops conversation.  And it is ideal to bring to the table because of its richness and liveliness.  So, this July 4th bring fireworks to the table and celebrate our country’s independence with Collection 242.
95 Michael Apstein Jun 14, 2022