The Collection range from Louis Roederer opens a new chapter for the Champagne House. Louis Roederer no longer produces its best-selling Brut Premier NV, now replaced with this new multi-vintage cuveé. Collection 241 is the first expression to be released in the magnum format.
Brut Premier was originally first released in 1986. At the time, it was much harder to ripen grapes. With global warming being among us, there is a shift going on towards more sustainable farming, chasing freshness in taste, through organic and biodynamic farming. Collection 241 is more expressive, more complex, more mature, than it's more edgy predecessor, Brut Premier.
The number 241 is a direct reference to the youngest vintage in the blend, which comes from 2016, and was Roederer's 241st harvest. It's noted as a tricky year in which no Cristal or Cristal Rosé was produced, thus all the grapes were available for the production of Collection 241.
The main differences between the new Collection series and Brut Premier NV are in three specific areas. Firstly, the proportion of oak-aged reserve wines in the blend has been increased. These come from young plots on the Cristal estate and the large French oak vats add extra spiciness to the wine, likened to the seasoning of food. Secondly, Louis Roederer have established a Perpetual Reserve. The Perpetual Reserve is a vast stainless-steel tank containing reductively aged, oxygen-free, older vintages that is continually topped up in the same way as Sherry producers use their solero system. Many other producers keep vintages separately in smaller tanks, where they lose freshness. This approach maintains freshness, whilst also adding chalkiness and a saline character. Lastly, the dosage, the added sweetness at the end has been reduced, as the ripeness of the grapes already presents increased sweetness.
Collection 241 has been crafted using a composition of 49% grapes harvested from 2016, 34% Perpetual Reserve and 17% oak-aged reserve wines from 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. The resulting wine is a rich and vibrant wine with an effortless silky texture. On tasting, there's notes of baked apple, sourdough bread, lemon meringue, apricot, pear and spring blossom. This fades into hints of almond croissant, gingerbread, toast and raspberry and cherry sorbet. It certainly opens a new and exciting chapter for Louis Roederer, with an enhanced premium offering.
The bottle comes presented in a magnum Louis Roederer Collection 241 box.