World’s Finest Glass of Bubbly Winner Reviewed by Michael Edwards
27th November 2020
Champagne Roger-Constant Lemaire Trianon 1966 was voted the world’s finest sparkling wine at the Glass of Bubbly Awards 2020.
It is an emotional experience to finally taste this year’s outright winner, with warm thanks to Sébastien Tournant Lemaire for sending me a bottle, a real fillip as we pass through lockdown.
First, a little background. The history of the Roger-Constant Lemaire dates back to the late 19th century in the village of Hautvillers, the cradle of Champagne, where a family tradition was founded. A gardener and poet, Désiré bought the first pieces of land that made up the House’s vineyard. Désiré’s grandson Roger-Constant in 1945 doubled the size of the premier cru vineyard in Hautvillers based on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, then moved the family heartland to Villers-sous- Châtillon with further vines planted to the best Meunier, for which this Marne Valley location is highly regarded.
The Lemaire family has continued to build on the savour-faire of its ancestors in producing a typical Champagne: the house does not practise malo-lactic fermentation and neither fining nor filtering of the wine: the family’s speciality rests on Champagnes of great freshness in the mouth, marked by authenticity and the taste of minerality in its terroirs on clay-limestone soils extending from Hautvillers premier cru to Cumières and as far as Villers. The Estate’s Champagnes are the fruit of sustainable viticulture, with no use made of pesticides, chemical fertilisers or pesticides. It is in the process of converting to organic status. Seaweed (Kelp) is imported from Norway to naturally fortify its vines. Sugar levels are low between 4 and 8 grams of sugar per litre of wine. Some vintage cuvées are matured in oak barrels. The liqueur of dosage is homemade, 100 % pure cane sugar and aged in 300 litre oak barrels.
Tasting Champagne Roger Constant Lemaire Trianon 1966
Tasted in London on 18th November 2020, the flagship of the Roger-Constant Lemaire estate first made in 1966 combines the subtlety of white grapes with the elegant intensity of red grapes.
60 % Pinot Noir 40% Chardonnay. Vine age average of 35 years. Fermented in stainless steel temperature-controlled tanks, aged on lees minimum 4 to 5 years
Bright luminous pale gold, sustained mousse of bubbles still alive on the second day of tasting, impactful but not aggressive. Splendidly fresh mineral nose showing yellow citrus scents, spring flowers and, with air, notes of orchard fruits, quince, apricots and a hint of wild honey, pineapple, fenne. Very stable and long finish. a genuine keeper till 2027 and beyond – exceptional ****.
Very good food Champagne with moules marinière, salmon trout, North Sea Dover sole, ragoût of fruits de mer, excellent,too as an aperitif. Disgorged in 2018. Dosage 6 to 8 g/l
Internationally respected Champagne, Sparkling Wine and food author & journalist. Ex Chief Inspector & Wine Editor for the Egon Ronay 'Restaurant Guide'.