1982 Pol Roger Brut Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill


Our greatest Prime Minister, after Liz Truss, had impeccable taste in Champagne. Though I must drink far less bubbly than Sir Winston Churchill (probably like most people), I have always enjoyed the cuvée created in his honor. As the story goes, the PM met Odette Pol Roger in 1944 at the British Embassy in Paris, and their families struck up a close friendship.

Preceding a recent tasting of Coche-Dury’s 2020s that I shall write up separately, a magnum of 1982 Brut Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill did the rounds to whet our palates. Pol Roger has always kept the blend secret, though clearly, it leans more towards Pinot Noir than Chardonnay. Only released in certain years, the first vintage was the 1975, released _en_ magnum nine years later at Blenheim Palace. After over four decades, one expected the sophomore 1982 to have a light _pétillance_. The nose is fully mature yet entrancing, dried honey, lanolin, grilled hazelnuts and touches of brioche intermingling, quite intense, a bouquet that demands your full attention (and gets it). The palate is, again, mature yet fresh and vibrant. There was perhaps just a scintilla of oxidation, though it merely imparts more complexity. Quite nutty towards its second half, it exhibits impressive weight and intensity, fanning out gloriously. Of course, in large format the 1982 comes across as less mature than equivalent bottles. But had Sir Winston himself joined us that night, I feel he would have approved, lit a cigar, and stayed to enjoy the white Burgundy! 93/Drink 2024-2040.

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