The NV Collection 242 is a new wine from Roederer that replaces the Brut Premier in the range. The Collection (which now will be numbered by harvest) is a blend of three components: a perpetual reserve done in the classic non-malo Roederer style, reserve wines in oak with a touch of malo, and a base vintage, in this case 2017. That blend results in a NV Champagne that offers lovely richness and resonance, with plenty of yellow orchard fruit and floral character. Whereas Brut Premier was typically a focused, nervy wine that, while consistently excellent, also was not always in line with the Roederer house style, the 242 tastes more like a Roederer Champagne in terms of its complexity. Incidentally, there is no Vintage, Cristal or Cristal Rosé in 2017, so all the best lots went into this bottling. Dosage is 8 grams per liter, so lower than the 9 or so that was typical for recent Brut Premier and much lower than the 12-13 that was once customary. The 242 was also bottled with a bit less sugar than the norm, which results in lower atmospheres of pressure in the bottle and silkier texture.
“Brut Premier was created in the late 1970s and 1980s, when we struggled to ripen,” Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon explained. “It was our way of compensating for lack of ripeness in the field and the variability of quality across vintages. Because of climate change, achieving ripeness is not an issue today. Instead, our challenge is maintaining freshness and precision. For that reason, we decided to re-think our NV and start from a place of positive rather than negative selection.”
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