Louis Roederer Champagne

When he inherited the Champagne house in 1833, the aesthete and entrepreneur Louis Roederer took a visionary approach to enriching his vines, aiming to master every stage of the wine’s creation. He forged the wine’s unique style, character, and taste. In the mid-nineteenth century, Louis Roederer acquired some of Champagne’s grand cru vineyards - an approach that contrasted sharply with contemporary practices.

While other houses bought their grapes, Louis Roederer nurtured his vineyards, familiarised himself with the specific characteristics of each parcel, and methodically acquired the finest land. Louis Roederer’s guiding principle was that all great wine depends on the quality of the soil, a passion for tradition, and an astute vision of the future; the fame and reputation of the house of Louis Roederer was firmly established. His heir, Louis Roederer II, was equally enlightened and adopted his father’s conscientious approach to the production of Champagne, patrimonial estate management, and instinctive audacity. He also drew inspiration from his collection of many books and drawings. In the 1870s, the Louis Roederer Champagne house began to export its wines to the United States, and even to Tsar Alexander II of Russia.

A man of great taste and an inveterate researcher, Louis Roederer II fashioned an exclusive champagne for the Tsar and launched a novel concept: the very first Cuvée de Prestige. It was created in 1876 and was named “Cristal”. Ever since, the subtleness and elegance of Cristal have forged Louis Roederer’s reputation for excellence.

In the 1920s, the future heir to the house, Léon Olry-Roederer, set about creating a highly balanced wine - a consistent and delicate blend of several vintages - to ensure that the wine would always be of the highest quality. This wine would form the basis for what would come to be called the Brut Premier. This fine blend greatly contributed to the renaissance of the house of Louis Roederer. After his death, from 1933 onwards, the winery was managed by his strong-minded widow, Camille, who ran the Champagne house with formidable intelligence and singular dynamism. Camille loved horse racing and owned one of the most famous stables in the world; she was also an enlightened patron and embraced the more festive and pleasurable aspects of Champagne. Camille Olry-Roederer held many receptions in the family’s Hôtel Particulier in Reims. These parties had a lasting impact on the history of the house and introduced a whole new generation of wine lovers to the joys of Louis Roederer Champagne.

Her grandson, Jean-Claude Rouzaud, an oenologist and agronomist, eventually took over the running of the estate and decided to consolidate the vineyards. Through his passionate commitment to the metier of wine-growing, he cultivated more than ever the inventive qualities that are so representative of the house’s philosophy. The house of Louis Roederer has remained an independent, family-owned company and is now managed by Jean-Claude’s son, Frédéric Rouzaud, who represents the seventh generation of the lineage. Louis Roederer’s annual exports now total three million bottles around the world.

In 1845, Louis Roederer acquired 15 hectares of vineyards in the Grand Cru area of Verzenay. The idea - which was quite unusual at a time when grapes had little value - was to become a vine grower in order to master the entire process of creating his vintage wines. Ever since, every Louis Roederer vintage originates exclusively from its own vines, a rare feat in the Champagne region. The quest for a diversity of terroirs, crus, parcels, and grape varieties in the vineyards was rapidly integrated by the house of Louis Roederer. A groundbreaking strategy was implemented, which involved buying specific parcels selected for their capacity to produce distinctive wines. This strategy is still a core component of the house’s continuing development. By 2013, Louis Roederer’s vineyards stretched across 240 hectares and included 410 parcels.

Taking into account the specificities of different soils and the practice of tailor-made viticulture enable it to attain optimal grape maturity. This precise work is carried out with great respect for biodiversity and, increasingly, for the principles of biodynamic cultivation. The vineyards are located in three classic Champagne districts: the Montagne de Reims, the Vallée de la Marne, and the Côte des Blancs. The diversity and fertility of these sites provide the house with an extensive and rich palette from which to fashion the wines.

This precise selection process and plot-by-plot vinification ensures that the origins and traceability of the grapes are respected, and it provides a perfect record of the fruit from each row of vines. Hence the natural equilibrium of each parcel is preserved, bringing out the finest qualities in the wines.

Inside the cuves and the tuns the wine develops its own personality, with its own qualities - and sometimes weaknesses - that the oenologists fully nurture and exploit. At this stage, all the richness and diversity of the fruits come to the fore. The contents of the fermenting tanks is tasted every day and classified into families of aromas, flavours, and characters. Every observation on the part of the wine tasters is carefully noted. Constantly tasted and reclassified, Louis Roederer’s wines gradually mature and develop their own unique characters.
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