The Roederer Estate Brut is a non-vintage Sparkling wine with a blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir. Roederer Estate (founded 1982) is the Mendocino County, Anderson Valley in particular, branch of the nearly 200-year-old (founded 1833) Louis Roederer Champagne House in France. Roederer Estate has 600 acres of vineyards and grows only Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Anderson Valley is a coastal valley about 100 miles north of San Fransico.
Roederer Estate produces Champagne-style Traditional Method Bubbly with the same esthetics as its Champagne counterpart. The first fermentation occurs in stainless steel tanks, then portions of these wines are then aged in French oak barrels. As a non-vintage Sparkling wine different vintages of these barrels aged wines are added to the mix.
Roederer Estate goes into detail about the production techniques used. When the freshly picked grapes a crushed to extract the juice, they often crush the grapes 2 or 3 times, it is thought that the quality of the juice declines with each pressing. The Roederer Estate Brut only makes use of the first pressing, the 2nd or 3rd pressing juice is sold off.
In Champagne, the rules dictate that the second fermentation (this is where the bubbles are formed) must last a minimum of 18 months, this Roederer estate Brut was aged “on lees” in the bottle for at least 2 years. This Bubbly was named the #27 wine in Wine Spectators Top 100 Wines of 2018 (it is a non-vintage wine so the 2019 release should be exactly the same) and every wine publication of noted has issued it 92 points or more.
So, what we have here is a Sparkling wine founded by an Iconic French Champagne House, produced very much in the style of the French Bubbly. With Estate farmed grapes from an excellent Chardonnay and Pinot Noir growing area and produced to specifications above the rules and regulations of Champagne, France. So what exactly is the difference between Champagne and comparable Traditional Method Sparkling wines produced elsewhere? Is the difference only price or is there more? Let’s find out. The alcohol content is 12.4%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is pale gold with persistent bubbles. The nose is detailed and slightly yeasty, there is lemon, green apple, pear, crusty bread, grapefruit, soft black cherry, and lime. This is a Bubbly that expands as it engages your palate, crisp, clean with excellent acidity. It starts with lemon cream, tart grapefruit, slightly sour apple, and Anjou pear. The mid-palate offers cherry, a little brioche, that salty, cashew “on lees” thing, a touch of melon, and guava. The acidity is well-balanced, this Bubbly has terrific length, the flavors keep rolling on. The finish is strong and long.
- Do you really need to spring for real-deal Champagne for New Years’ Eve 2020 or can you save a few bucks and get what is essentially the same thing only from Anderson Valley, not Champagne?
- In a blind tasting, I doubt if too many people can pick which Bubbly was French and which is California.
- Louis Roeder Champagne produces Cristal and some truly excellent high-end Bubbly and there are not many other wine regions that can go one-on-one with high-end Champagne.
- But when it comes to more “entry-level” Champagne there are Sparkling wines that can compete and come in several dollars cheaper than the French stuff.
- The Roederer Estate Brut is a Bubbly worthy of special occasions, weddings, anniversaries, and New Years’ Eve 2020.
- It is not Champagne, but it is real-deal, great-tasting, luxurious Sparkling wine that does not have to take a backseat to any entry-level Champagne.
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