After World War II, Winston Churchill declared Pol Roger champagne the best in the world.
By Mary Elizabeth Collins
One hundred and sixty years of history, five generations, an impeccable reputation, and core values such as excellence and independence are the main factors that make Pol Roger one of the leading French champagne labels. Its excellent quality has captivated kings, queens and great statesmen.
It all began in 1849, when—at a very young age—Pol Roger sold his first champagne batch. Family tragedy pushed him into the business as his father—a distinguished notary and champagne producer—suffered from a terrible incurable disease and was unable to fulfill his duties in the family business.
His client was a merchant from Ay, the town where Pol Roger was born. The trade was developing rapidly and, in 1851; the business moved to northern France to Epernay—a city located in wine country—whose history and economy is heavily intertwined with champagne production.
In 1855, Pol Roger began to favor the production of brut champagne, aware of the fact that it was the British’s favorite brand. The UK has always been a major consumer of this bubbly.
Roger died of pneumonia in 1899 and his two sons, Maurice and Georges, took over the business. In 1900, both faced one of the greatest disasters experienced by the firm when part of the wineries and the buildings collapsed. Five hundred barrels and half million bottles were irretrievably lost.
Many years later, when it seemed that everything was back on track and many European royal houses had become regular customers of the Pol Roger brand, World War I broke out. Afterwards came the Russian Revolution, and to make matters worse, Prohibition was established in the United States. But instead of being discouraged, Maison Pol Roger intensified its presence in other countries and grew to maintain its product identity.
At the end of World War II, the company’s golden period began: Winston Churchill said that Pol Roger champagne was the most delicious in the world, which increased its demand.
By 1955, sales had grown so much that the company expanded its range of wines; first with the creation of a Vintage Rosé in 1961 and, a few years later, in 1975, a vintage Blanc de Blancs. At the same time, the firm continued acquiring more vineyards, and by 1999 they had reached 85-hectares (currently they have 89). In 1998, the United States became their primary global export market.
Today, Pol Roger carries an exciting range of seven different champagnes: Brut Reserve, Pure Extra Brut, Rich Demi Sec, Vintage Brut, Blanc de Blancs Vintage Rosé Vintage, and Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill. These special elixirs reflect the refined lifestyle, a family’s commitment to developing flagship champagnes, and the character of a terroir that produces unforgettable wines. ■
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