Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay
150cl * 12% ABV * Champagne, France
The company we now know as Louis Roederer was founded in 1776 as Dubois Pere & Fils, changing its name in 1833 when the young Louis inherited the estate from his uncle. The house is perhaps best-known for Cristal (bottled in clear crystal and with a flat punt), their prestige cuvee that became famous due to its associations with the Russian Imperial Court. The grapes for the whole range of Roederer Champagnes are largely sourced from their own vineyards, which guarantees that only the highest quality fruit is used in the final blend.
You may be wondering where the Brut Reserve NV has gone? And what these cryptic numbers refer to? Well, Roederer has replaced the Brut Reserve NV with this new multi-vintage blend, using incredibly high-end fruit (usually reserved for Cristal) to start building up what they call the Perpetual Reserve. This Perpetual Reserve is topped up each year and only reductively oxidised, keeping the wine fresher than multi vintages separately vinified and then blended. This freshness is what they're chasing - a response to climate change meaning the grapes are now ripening richer and fuller, and earlier, each year.
The number, 241 in this case, refers to the fact that the Perpetual Reserve is blended with wine from the company's 241st harvest, which was 2016. Each year the wine will change number, 242 for example being the latest release in bottle (241 was only released in magnum) and being based on the 2017 vintage, the estate's 242nd harvest.
The 241 is a rich and complex wine with a smooth mouthfeel. Expect baked apple, sourdough bread, lemon meringue pie, apricot, greengage, pear and spring blossom, followed by almond croissant, festive gingerbread, toast and a sorbet of cherries and raspberries.
Brut Reserve NV is dead... long live Collection NV!