The NV Champagne Brut That Beat Out 200 Others
At the Institute of Masters of Wine’s annual Champagne Tasting this past September, our Master Wine team tried roughly 200 world-class Champagnes. When it was over, they determined Louis Roederer NV Brut to be the best multi-vintage brut by far. Wine Spectator, James Suckling, and Wine Enthusiast back this assessment: Each crowned the legendary label 92 points, calling it “elegant,” boasting “impressive build and a nicely honed textural thread,” and praising its “white fruits and crisp acidity as well as mineral texture,” respectively. But these scores only partially point to its excellence. Jancis Robinson calls it “arguably the most reliable non-vintage champagne of them all.” Robert Parker considers it “a classic,” noting its brilliance is “not just influenced by the blending of varietals...but the characteristics of every single plot.” This outstanding Champagne culls two-thirds of this influence from notable Cru and Premier Cru estate grapes — a tactic that affords chef de cave and 2015 Wine Enthusiast Winemaker of the Year Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon pinpoint control of how its shaped. This precision produces an exquisite study of depth and complexity befitting of one of the globe’s most cherished champagne houses.
Louis Roederer demands a perfect curator for its legacy; one that includes making Champagnes for Russian tsars back in the day. Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon has been up to this task since 1989. The Reims native does so by primarily sourcing estate-grown grapes for his wines — a strategy largely unheard of in Champagne when Louis Roederer himself began the practice in the mid-1800s. The house continues to shape the region’s modern viticultural pathway, thanks to Jean-Baptiste’s pioneering insistence on deploying organic farming techniques.
Jean-Baptiste sources most of the NV Brut Premier’s fruit from Roederer’s sprawling 500-plus acres of vines, spread amongst the Mountain of Reims, Cotes de Blancs, and the Valley of Marne. The inclusion of oak barrel-aged reserve wine deepens its sophistication, yielding a label that reinforces Champagne’s stature as bottled art.