New Louis Roederer Coteaux Champenois

Louis Roederer announced a new collection of still wines Hommage à Camille in Coteaux Champenois appellation.

Two single vineyards cuvees will open the new series:
- Camille Charmont 2018, 100% Pinot Noir, lieu-dit Charmont, Mareuil-sur-Aÿ;
- Camille Volibarts 2018, 100% Chardonnay historic vines from lieu-dit Volibarts in Le Mesnil-Sur-Oger

Retail price is set at £150-175

Global warming set a new trend among big houses to expand their portfolios with Coteaux Champenois.

Not long ago Charles Heidsieck launched a limited series of four monocru Coteaux Champenois Blancs: Oger, Villers-Marmery, Montgueux, Vertus.

Let's see if they succeed in challenging the hegemony of Bollinger with their famous Coteaux Champenois Ay Rouge La Côte aux Enfants.

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From decanter, I’m always up for paying those prices for the results of a few years experiments :eek:

In the UK, the Charmont was expected to retail for around £130-a-bottle and the Volibarts £155, via high-end retailers, said a spokesperson for Maisons Marques & Domaines, the UK importer established by Roederer in 1986.
Producing still wines in Champagne is a concept that Roederer’s winemaking team has been experimenting with for several years.
 
Lassainge. Genuinely excellent.

It certainly is one of of the better examples. A good rule of thumb: producers who make good Champagne rarely make good still wines and vice verse (because there is too much emphasis on a single process: be it “still” or “sparkling”).

If I were to pick one producer that would a decent job of both, it would be Roederer!
 
It certainly is one of of the better examples. A good rule of thumb: producers who make good Champagne rarely make good still wines and vice verse (because there is too much emphasis on a single process: be it “still” or “sparkling”).

If I were to pick one producer that would a decent job of both, it would be Roederer!
I'm not sure I agree with that, Steve (though I would guess we differ here in terms of our stylistic tolerance). Manu Lassaigne makes some very good top cuvées and a "brilliant value" entry to Montgueux as well.

I would also argue that there are other Ctx Champenois still wines which are worthy of exploration. For me, Bérêche makes some of the best reds, surprisingly given that most of the decent versions come from the Aube, generally, not the Montagne and Marne where their red grapes are grown. Remember that the Aube/Bars is far warmer than the Montagne and Marne and has always done better with red grapes than white (generally), and that Aube Champagnes in the past were usually broader, and that Krug have always bought Aube PN for its ripe quality.

The Bérêche reds are what I would once have called expensive (cost more than many of the Champagnes in their range), but they are not expensive compared to those being released by the GMs at what I would call optimistic prices, except that lots of rich collectors will be certain to snap them up, as people did for Krug's "Ambonnay" when it was first released and perhaps for similar reasons.

Back in the 1980s I kind of fell for my first Ctx C wines, but they were Rosé des Riceys. The key was that unlike most other pink still wines, you aged them like Red Burgundy. For me, the best today are the single vineyard Riceys of Olivier Horiot (who also makes decent red and white still wines, and of course fizz). Last year I drank both SV Riceys from 2006, they were à point.

There's a good reason for the increase in still wine production, one which anyone reading a lot about English wine recently will have picked up on. For others less interested in English fizz, it's called climate change. Not some woolly concept, but the data. Ever since 2003, when many in Champagne despaired they could make decent fizz, there has been an inexorable rise in temperatures in that region. It's not linear, and temperatures over the growing season are not the only factors affecting production by any means. But there's been enough of a rise NOT to make Champagne ideal for still Chards and Pinots of exceptional quality, but enough of one to make forward thinking producers realise they might need that string to their bow in the future. Another 2003 in the current world of climate chaos might actually make it hard to produce an elegant bottle fermented sparkling wine (well, few did in 2003, though Vilmart Coeur is a worthy exception). It may well happen one day.

In this respect I think Roederer are very astute, as one would expect from the big house which arguably most has its finger on the pulse right now in so many areas. Make a small production, high quality, top end still wine or two now, leaving room for cheaper cuvées (it's all relative) in slightly larger volume if the situation arises.

I will say one final thing. The reason I think Lassaigne CAN make good sparkling and still wine is that he's always been a small scale experimenter. As an artisan he's more flexible than a big producer with a tried and trusted method. In the similar world of cheese, it is often the really good artisans who can excel with different cheeses from the same small herd (especially the Alpine producers making different spring, summer and winter seasonal cheeses like Mont D'Or and Tommes etc), whereas the larger specialists usually have to stick to one type of cheese (Roquefort, Comté etc). Not all "Growers" are as on top of their grapes and terroir as Emmanuel Lassaigne. Some who are choose to stick to fizz, but who knows what the landscape will look like in a decade or two?
 
£150-175 ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha - aimed at the BitCoin crew I suppose. o_O
Indeed, Gareth, but they exist and people will pay this for wine. It's funny but I've probably got a bit more disposable income than in the past (especially over Lockdowns), but now I try not to go above £50 (some recent Chablis 1er Cru being a rare exception, and when I buy Vin Jaune in the region). This self-imposed limit makes replenishing my dwindling Champagne supplies difficult, but I see it as a different perspective which comes with age and, perhaps, a tiny bit of wisdom. But I find it hard to see how a hard nosed and objective wine lover would want to pay those prices. Wine lovers, of course, are not usually rational, and that is maybe a good thing.
 

Tom Cannavan

Administrator
Indeed, and yet such characterful base wines rarely make brilliant champagnes.

I'd probably agree with you there Steve, though i haven't really followed through many specific wines from base wine of a vintage to bottled vintage, which i guess would be the ideal test. But I think a slightly more neutral wine than the one quoted would probably make for a better Champagne: this might be too marked by the oak and varietal character - maybe.
 
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