Pol Roger ‘White Foil’ Non-Vintage – 10 years on….does it keep?

Pol Roger ‘White Foil’ 

Blend: 33% Pinot Noir, 34% Chardonnay, 33% Pinot Noir

I am always asked can Champagne keep and will I like it?  Well, as with everything it depends on what it is and where it has been kept.  Even the finest vintage Krug cannot survive being stored in a warm kitchen. However, if you have a good Champagne house to start with and you can store somewhere away from light, vibration and crucially avoid excess temperature fluctuation you stand a chance of being greatly surprised.

Keeping in mind Pol Roger NV spends a minimum of 3 years on its lees before disgorgement buying this is August 2002 meant the base wine consisted of the 1998/1999  vintage and is topped up with some reserve wine, usually 15% but unlikely that much because 1998 was so good. Most non-vintage Champagnes are the flagship of each house and have to be consistent in representing the house style, where ever and whenever it is bought around the world, so the art of blending is vital. Even when we call it ‘Non-vintage’ or NV as mentioned it is a blend of vintages and reserve wines.

So by default Non-vintage Champagne, if made and stored well should have ageing potential and overtime should show a glimpse of some vintage quality……?

Well It’s 11am with taste buds ready (the palate is considered at its best in the morning as they have been less tainted, wine trade excuse anyway!) and with great anticipation wanted to see how the old Pol Roger ‘White Foil’ was holding out since we bought (father-in-law to be truthful) about 14 cases for my wedding way back in 2002 and now we are down to our last 12 bottles. I have not tried it for a few years now, so here it goes.

The cork with a little squeaking came out quite easily and stayed in that typical mushroom shape you get from older fizz corks.  In the flute, the colour is not too dark at all in fact not much difference from a recent bottle of Pol Brut Reserve,  a quick sniff tells me all is well, it is really fresh clean and slightly honeyed. The bubbles are more gentle now but happily trailing elegantly up to the surface.  As soon as I tasted it, it brought on a smile, it filled the mouth with lovely honeyed, soft, ripe fruits, slightly candid but not sweet with a hint of savoury mushroom that comes with mature Champagne. The acidity gives it a real freshness and elegance that leaves all the flavours lingering the mouth, put simply, quite delicious.

I am very pleased we had a few cases left over and that we have managed to see how this non-vintage Champagne has changed over the 10 years and in my opinion for the better. I am not sure how much we paid for it but I know it is probably noticeably less than to-days prices which in Champagne are on the rise.

It does prompt one to consider doing this exercise again.  It does mean a little planning and money up front but I think laying down a little Champagne is well worth the rewards.

Santé !

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