The PERSON: Arnaud Weyrich (winemaker and vice president of production)
The PLACE: The Roederer Estate in the Anderson Valley of California’s Mendocino County
ROEDERER ESTATE Brut, Anderson Valley, NV ($18.99)
A 12% alcohol, estate-grown 60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir methode champenoise sparkler aged 2 years on yeasts and dosed to a 1.2% residual sugar Brut finish. Medium-gold-straw in color and fully sparkling; dry, medium-light-bodied with fresh acidity and scant phenolics. Fresh but with a welcome richness from the presence of up to 15% cask-aged multi-vintage reserve wines. Fine mix of citrus and tree fruit with some spice and good yeasty-nutty notes as well as a clean mineral note. Has enough weight and richness to take on some food. Lovely fizz for the money. BearScore: 91.
About Roederer Estate:
Roederer’s unique winemaking style is based on two elements: complete ownership of its vineyards and the addition of oak-aged reserve wines to each year’s blend or cuvee. Jean-Claude Rouzaud, then president of Champagne Louis Roederer and fifth generation descendant of the founder, selected the 580-acre Anderson Valley vineyard and winery site in 1982. Rouzaud, who has since handed down the family tradition and position to son Frederic Rouzaud, believed that estate-owned vineyards were essential to ensure top quality wine, and had searched California for ideal growing conditions throughout the course of several years.
The Anderson Valley offers a cool climate and well-drained soils with warm days and cool nights. Roederer uses an “open lyre” trellis system for training the vines on moveable wires, providing extra exposure to sunlight. Roederer Estate only uses Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes grown in its own . The winery uses only about 70 percent of the total juice pressed (the first 120 gallons/ton of juice from the free run and one press cycle. All the juice from the remaining press cycles is sold off in bulk.
Roederer is unique in California in its program of developing and using reserve wines in all its cuvees. These reserve wines are selected and blended solera-style each year and aged in large oak casks (foudre). These aged reserve wines are added to each blend, creating a cuvée with extra richness and depth of flavor.
About Arnaud Weyrich:
Arnaud Weyrich began his career at Roederer Estate as an intern after he graduated in 1993 from Montpellier’s Ecole Supérieure d’Oenologie (the UC –Davis of France) with a Master of Science in Viticulture and Enology. After several years in retail in France, Weyrich returned to Roederer to work as an assistant winemaker at Champagne Louis Roederer. In 2000, he moved his family to California where he took over the management of the Roederer Estate.