Introducing Pol Roger Champagne

Pol Roger champagne bottles in the snow

Location: Rue Winston Churchill, Épernay

When was Pol Roger founded? Pol Roger Champagne was founded in 1849.

Who founded Pol Roger? The Champagne House was founded by Pol Roger. It’s still a family-owned brand that is run by its 5th generation.

Winemaking Designation: Pol Roger tends 50% of the vineyards used for vinification, while they buy the rest of the grapes from long-term contracted growers in the region (Négociant Manipulant).

crown and cap from a bottle of Pol Roger champagne

Pol Roger Vineyards

How many vineyards does Pol Roger have?

Maison Pol Roger owns a total of 220 acres of estate vineyards but buys the rest of the grapes from another 180 acres of vineyards.

Where are the vineyards?

The vineyards are on prime sites in the Vallée d’Epernay, Montagne de Reims, and Côte des Blancs.

Their Pinot Noir variety mainly comes from the villages around Montagne de Reims, including Verzenay, Erzy, Ambonnay, Mailly, Louvois, and Mardeuil.

The Chardonnays are harvested from the Côte des Blancs villages including Oger, Oiry, Cuis, Vertus, Chouilly, and Moussy.

Meanwhile, their Pinot Meunier grapes are sourced from the Vallée d’Epernay, specifically from the villages of Venteuil, Vincelles, Damery, Troissy ,Brugny, Vandières, Chavot, Monthelon, and Pierry.

Growing Practices at Pol Roger

Are they organic or biodynamic?

The vineyard is cultivated using viticulture raisonnée in accordance with the production standards defined by the Comité Interprofessionnel des Vins de Champagne (CIVC). They use chemicals less frequently and aggressively than traditional growers, but are not officially certified organic or biodynamic at this time.

Winemaking at Pol Roger

Who is the winemaker?

Chef de Cave Damien Cambres succeeded Dominique Petit in 2018. Prior to becoming a cellar master at Champagne Pol Roger, Cambres has extensive expertise in the creation of Champagne wines, having a 20-year track record of collaboration.

He worked with Nicolas Feuillatte from 1997 until 2012 and later joined the Gouttes d’Or Union group as production manager before becoming the general manager until 2017.

What types of wine making techniques do they use?

Let’s start with their cellars, which span 4.3 miles and are divided into three levels. The cellars are sufficiently large to accommodate a broad range of wines, where they maintain the quality for each bottle. However, the key to Pol Roger’s special and unique wines is the long duration of the fermentation.

They carefully press the grapes right after harvesting. When it comes to vinification and maturation, the juice goes through two débourbages (settlings of the wine). The first settling takes place at the press house right after pressing and the second in stainless steel tanks at 43°F for 24 hours.

Then, their wines go through a cool and slow alcoholic fermentation process at temperatures below 64°F. They keep a separate parcel vinification in stainless steel. The House refrain from using barrels because they want to put focus on the taste of the grapes. They believe that using barrels can add a foreign taste to it.

The last time they used barrels was in 1975. Since 2012, all fermentation has been done in stainless steel. Their sizes range from 10,000 to 15,000 liters for large vats to 2,000 to 7000 liters for small ones.

Before the final blending, the wines go through a full malolactic fermentation. Triage is done in halves, bottles, magnums, and jeroboams.

Then, the secondary fermentation occurs at 48°F in the cave de prise de mousse that’s about 108-foot deep below street level. It’s where the wines are stored until it’s time for hand riddling, which takes a month.

Although they mostly hand riddle, during French holidays, they machine riddle roughly 5% of the bottles so they will be ready the next month. The House has four riddlers, with each one moving 50,000 bottles daily and is in charge of around 200,000 bottles.

The House believes that the naturally cold deep prise de mousse and the long fermentation process adds more richness and fine bubbles to each Pol Roger.

All of their wines are aged two to three times longer than the minimum required time spent in the cellar before disgorgement. The non-vintage wines spend around 3 years for non-vintage wines, while their prestige cuvées are aged for up to 7 years.

After riddling, the wines will rest for at least 3 months before hitting the market.

The Wines at Pol Roger

Pol Roger Champagne crafts 3 non-vintage Champagnes, all of which are replicas of the Brut Réserve and the rest are vintage-dated including their Prestige cuvée Sir Winston Churchill.

Their vintages are typically a blend of 40% Chardonnay and 60% Pinot Noir, but it can vary. They also use a significant amount of reserve wines in their non-vintage wines.

Pol Roger Champagne Brut Reservé NV 33% Pinot Noir, 33% Pinot Meunier and 34% Chardonnay from 30 different crus; 25% reserve wines. This cuvée is aged for at least 3 years and for an additional 6 months post-disgorgement, although cellaring for a few years will reveal more depths.

Pol Roger Blanc de Blancs Vintage – Made of 100% Chardonnay. This cuvée is aged in the cellars for 7 years before disgorgement and release and is produced in limited quantities.

Pol Roger Rosé Vintage– 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay, with 15% Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims added prior to bottling and secondary fermentation. This wine is produced in limited quantities and aged in the cellar for 7 years.

Pol Roger Rich Demi Sec – 33% Pinot Noir, 34% Chardonnay and 33% Pinot Meunier with 25% reserve wines. This cuvée is aged in the cellar for at least 4 years and has 34 grams per liter dosage after disgorgement.

Pol Roger Pure Extra Brut – 33% Pinot Noir, 34% Chardonnay and 33% Pinot Meunier. This wine goes through a slow cool fermentation in stainless steel tanks. It’s aged for at least 4 years and is usually matured for three months post disgorgement.

Pol Roger Vintage Brut – 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. This vintage cuvée is produced in limited quantities and is aged for 7 years in their deep cellars before disgorgement.

Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill – Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay (specific % blend of each grape not available). This cuvée is named after Sir Winston Churchill to pay homage to the House’s most famous devotee. It’s aged for at least 10 years on the lees on the lees in the deepest and coldest level of the Champagne House’s cellars.

Visit Pol Roger

The House is not open to the general public. Entry is limited to those with a special invitation, or those involved in the wine trade.