Friday, June 13, 2008

Wine of the Week: Pol Roger Pure Brut Nature

It’s not easy to produce a good non-dosé champagne on a large scale. Actually, it’s not easy to produce a good non-dosé champagne at all. Getting the balance right requires ripe fruit and skillful blending, and even then not many champagnes are very harmonious without at least a little bit of dosage.

Pol Roger’s new Brut Nature, called Pure, is one that gets it right. The inaugural release of Pure is based on the 2004 vintage, with the addition of about 20 percent reserve wines. Its composition is identical to the Brut Réserve, with equal proportions of the three main grape varieties of Champagne, but it is not the same blend. To Pol Roger’s credit, they recognize that a wine that finds a balance at ten grams of dosage will not be balanced at zero, and they have created a different blend for the Pure in an effort to find the proper harmony. “It’s more floral,” says Laurent d’Harcourt, export director for the house, “and it comes from a different selection of crus, to create a better balance as a brut nature.”

This wine shows the same freshness and liveliness as the Brut Réserve, but I find it to have more character on the palate. It’s bold and hearty in the Pol Roger style, with black fruit dominating the palate: currant, blackberry and plum, accented by a hint of ginger. The finish shows an excellent balance and length for a brut nature, and it finishes with plenty of fragrance and personality.

Pol Roger is imported into the United States by Frederick Wildman and Sons, New York, NY. The suggested retail price for the Pure Brut Nature is $55.