How Good is Louis Roederer & Philippe Starck Champagne?
Sparkling Wine Review of 2009 Louis Roederer et Philippe Starck Brut Nature Champagne, France
Score: 92/100 points
A few years ago, well, quite a few years ago now, famous family-owned Reims-based Champagne House Louis Roederer released a brand new cuvée they had developed with French artist & designer Philippe Starck.
The first ever vintage Champagne of the Roederer-Starck collaboration was 2006. This was the first new cuvée or new entirely new Champagne wine product for the brand since the 1970’s! And Roederer had taken a totally new approach, releasing a Brut Nature, a very dry Champagne with hardly any sugars added at dosage.
Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, Chef de Cave at Louis Roederer (understand: cellar master and master blender) explains the concept of the new cuvée: “We came up with the idea of making a fresh cuvée from clay soils in a sunny year. The deep clay reflects the warmth of the sun in Champagne and softens the landscape. In order to achieve this, we did exactly the opposite of what we would normally do when crafting a new cuvée. We started with the finished article and then moved back up the process of its creation and construction“.
To design the bottle, Frédéric Rouzaud, CEO of Louis Roederer commissioned Philippe Starck, famous French designer involved in designing buildings all around the globe, everyday life objects with many brands, yachts, motorbikes and many more things.
But Philippe wouldn’t get involved in designing the bottle and signing, without helping with the concept and crafting its content.
After a few “abstract conversations” between the three men, Jean-Baptiste, Frédéric, and Philippe had defined the frame for their new Champagne: “honest, minimal, diagonal and modern.”
Louis Roederer et Philippe Starck Brut Nature Champagne was born.
A few years later, the second edition was released with the exceptionally warm vintage of 2009.
“2009 was incomparable in terms of quality and produced consistent, fresh, crunchy grapes. The wines are more Burgundian in character in hot years and are characterized by a gentle freshness and a pure expression of their terroir.” explained Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, Cellar Master.
The grapes were grown exclusively in the Côteaux de Cumières in the Montagne de Reims sub-area of Champagne.
25% of the wine was vinified in oak casks, and no malolactic fermentation was applied to preserve the entire natural acidity (and freshness) of the grapes.
Brut Nature 2009 was aged for 5 years on its less in the bottle at the winery’s cellars and left to rest for a minimum of 6 months after disgorging.
No dosage (zero added sugar) was applied during dégorgement.
About the 2009 Vintage in Champagne
This is how Louis Roederer describes the exceptional, warm vintage conditions of year 2009 in Champagne: “The 2009 vintage produced perfectly ripe grapes. On the road that runs between Hautvillers and Damery, lined with some of the most prestigious Champagne vineyards, the grapes are fleshy, plump and taut with rich juices. These optimum weather conditions resulted in high quality, juicy, sun-drenched grapes with exceptional balance, reminiscent of the mythical 1947, 1959, 1964 and 1989 vintages.
In these warm, continental years, the cold clay expresses its character, sculpting their depths. During this dry year, all the conditions were in place for an outstanding vintage with powerful, concentrated and vinous juices balanced out by a steely acidity.”
So, how good is 2009 Louis Roederer et Philippe Starck Brut Nature Champagne?
Watch Roederer & Starck Champagne Review in Video
2009 Vintage – Overall Review Notes & Tasting Impressions
With a bright and shiny lemon-yellow color, this Brut Champagne boasts some subtle and delicate gold hues, delicious to look at., looking pale and bright, yet intense and vibrant enough to be intrigued.
The nose sets the tone of a tasting experience that promises to be fascinating. Just by sniffing the Champagne wine once, you can tell a lot is packed in there!
Indeed, the first smell reveals a world freshly-squeezed lemon, tropical notes of ripe mango, smoke and buttery roasted hazelnut.
It is certainly nutty and fruity, with just a hint of leesy yeasty brioche aromas, while a smoky feel gives the aromatic profile a distinctive savory edge. It curiously —but pleasantly— smells like what I imagine it would smell like it you were sawing a limestone, a mineral, almost metallic but enjoyable stony smoke aroma. The chalky terroir already expressed through the nose!?
On the palate, this is indeed a mineral, bone dry Champagne, with a crisp acidity cutting through the abundant richness of flavors.
The wine is so dry and zingy, it feels you can taste the crystals of tartaric acid in there —and of malic acid since the wine didn’t go through malolactic fermentation—.
Discrete oily body and perhaps just a hint of residual sugars come to balance the whole out, yet still with a dry acidic whole.
More importantly, gorgeous tropical notes of green pineapple and just-ripe mango, zesty lime and green apple make for a comforting impression. There might be some minty tones in there too. It made me think of a mojito cocktail somehow, but a much deeper and layered one at that.
The finish is briochy and smoky.
A complex, zingy but deep and layered tasting experience this Louis Roederer and Philippe Starck Brut Nature cuvée delivers.
Surprising and pleasing at every sip, this is a Champagne you have to taste carefully on its own, for sharing and discussing the experience with friends and loved ones. It has so many stories to tell. Stories of chalky terroir, ripe but acidic and mineral fruits, and stories of a long ageing (5+ years!) on lees in its bottle.
Once you’re done analyzing and conversing around the Champagne, make sure you pair with delicately-flavored dishes, mild canapés, herb-flavored scallops in a wine sauce, delicate creamy seafood dishes, or an asparagus lemon rissotto as an example of refined recipe for a perfect wine-food pairing.
2009 Brut Nature will take the tasting experience to another level… for sure!
Roederer & Philippe Starck Champagne Label Images
Watch More about the Story of 2009 Roederer-Starck Brut Nature