Roederer Estate Brut is the first California sparkling wine to be produced by Champagne Louis Roederer, further building upon a 200-year tradition of fine winemaking from this family owned company. 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 cuvée.
The Roederer winemaking philosophy has guided the development of Roederer Estate, located 125 miles north of San Francisco near the Mendocino Coast. Since 1982, Roederer Estate winery has been quietly developing its own vineyards and crafting fine wines from the Anderson Valley. Roederer Estate's Anderson Valley Brut debuted in October 1988 followed by the winery's first vintage cuvée, L'Ermitage, in 1989, released in the fall of 1993.
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 Frédéric 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 offered the cool climate and well-drained soils that are ideally suited to the Roederer winemaking style. This premium grape growing region's proximity to the ocean gives rise to a gentle cycle of warm days and cool nights, allowing grapes to mature slowly on the vine and develop full varietal character. Among the very few California sparkling wine houses that only sources estate-grown fruit, Roederer Estate is meticulous about all its farming and winemaking decisions. The winemaking process begins with in-depth knowledge of the Roederer Estate soils to introduce open lyre trellis system or high density plantation, extends to the decision to farm vineyards organically and biodynamically, and finishes by painstakingly tracking grape maturity to achieve perfect balance at harvest.
Roederer Estate winery only uses Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes grown in its own top choice vineyards, which is key in producing quality wines. As a result, the winery can be very selective, and generally uses only about 70 percent of the total cuvée pressed (the first 120 gallons/ton of juice), and none of the premiere or deuxieme taille (subsequent pressings of 16 gallons/ton each).
The quality is also attributed to the addition of reserve wines which are selected from the best wines each year and aged in Center of France oak casks. Wines from this special reserve cellar are added to each blend, creating a cuvée in the traditional Roederer style, known for its body, finesse and depth of flavor. This balancing of reserves is the best demonstration of Roederer's winemaking skills.