The newest release of Louis Roederer’s multi-vintage cuvée, the Collection 244, is a triumphant example of the maison’s efforts in managing the impact of climate change.
Dealing with climate change, especially when you’re a winemaker, is a major pain. With Mother Nature getting more fickle by the year – from record-breaking heatwaves and unseasonable frost to forest fires and unpredictable rain – winegrowers and winemakers are increasingly finding it more challenging turning grapes into wine.
But few lean into climate change as well as Louis Roederer. The independent, family-owned Champagne house over 10 years ago gave serious consideration how climate change would impact it, and decided that the best way to adapt to current uncertain times and anticipating future seasons was to create a line that take into account climate disruption.
The result? The Louis Roederer Collection, a contemporary series of multi-vintage cuvées that explores the evolution of its wines in the face of climate change.
It’s a derivation from their Brut Premier, one that not only is surprisingly more vintage- and terroir-driven, but also shockingly pushes boundaries when it comes to the typical Louis Roederer house style.
In a special zoom tasting session unveiling the Louis Roederer Collection 244, Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, Cellar Master of Louis Roederer, explained how over the course of the Collection he tried to balance freshness, precision, complexity and “deliciousness” where the unpredictable climate is impacting ripeness of grapes. So rather than to search for consistency over the Collection, they have embraced variation.
More importantly for Champagne enthusiasts, this modern multi-vintage approach means that each release in the Collection is clearly different from its predecessors. So you’ll enjoy some more than others. Just like vintage releases, if you will.
We compared the 244 against its predecessors; I particularly enjoyed 239 for its rounded complexity, while the 243 offered a lovely balance between juicy fruit and an acid core.
As for the upcoming 244? There’s more Chardonnay in it. Aged for four years, this cuvée draws from its estate’s origins, split equally between the house’s historic La Rivière, La Montagne, and La Côte estates. 54% of the blend comes from a year – 2019 – of record-breaking heatwaves. 10% of it are reserve wines aged in French oak foudres from previous years.
The result? The Louis Roederer Collection 244 is barely-restrained power and intensity, an assertive gauntlet of acid and minerality wrapped in a velvet glove of freshness and vivacity.
“We have chosen to approach climate change, which has been affecting the Champagne region over the past thirty years, as an opportunity to harvest extra mature grapes at the end of earlier harvests and to take the quest for excellence in our blends to the next level,” shared Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, Cellar Master of Louis Roederer.
“These new balances necessarily determine the evolution of our wines in terms of their distinctive character and taste characteristics,” Lécaillon added.
The Louis Roederer Collection 244 will be available from Grand Vin early September 2023 at the recommended retail price of S$88.
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