Press Releases

October 8, 2014

Champagne Louis Roederer

Champagne Louis Roederer and Philippe Starck Debut Brut Nature

Champagne Louis Roederer Debuts Brut Nature 2006 Co-produced with Philippe Starck

Bottle and Label Design Reflect the Purity and Simplicity of Louis Roederer’s First All Natural Champagne

(New York, October 8, 2014) - Louis Roederer, the famed Champagne house behind Cristal and one of the only luxury houses to remain firmly in the hands of its founding family since 1776, announces the US debut of Brut Nature 2006, a non dosage champagne created in collaboration with esteemed artist and designer, Philippe Starck. This new Cuvée is the first addition in 40 years to the prestigious Grande Marque's portfolio, and also marks Starck's first foray into champagne creation.

Drawn together by a mutual appreciation of each other’s aesthetic values, Frederic Rouzaud, Louis Roederer’s President and Starck began a conversation about the ideal Champagne, one that was 'stripped to the bone', straightforward, and authentic. From these conversations, and due to the exceptional maturity and rare depth of flavor and texture of the 2006 Pinot Noir grapes, the Cellar Master Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon decided 'to allow nature to take its course’ and, consequently, not to add any dosage, the process that provides an additional sweetness through added sugar.

“I have always admired Philippe’s creative genius. When I met him for the first time, I had no preconceptions - I was simply convinced that we could and should work together. And his declaration that he only drank non-dosé (non-dosed) champagnes coincided with - and motivated us to continue - a project we had been concentrating on since 2003, which involved developing a different kind of wine - a Louis Roederer cuvée based on a truly authentic terroir”, explained Rouzaud.

Designed by Philippe Starck, the label continues the organic theme of simplicity by highlighting the words of importance in color, while the others remain simply evocative. As explained by Philippe, ‘The theme of the bottle of Brut Nature 2006 is really related to its contents, and the contents were so potent that I decided to design a bottle that was stripped of any superfluous embellishment.’

Starck added: “Other champagne houses had contacted me previously, but I always turned their offers down because I felt there was something deceptive about selling a bottle marked ‘Starck’ without a ‘Starck’ contribution to the contents. If I had accepted to work only on the bottle’s exterior, I would not have achieved something truly authentic. So, for this cuvée, I had to be involved in the winemaking process itself to ensure that the final bottle would be the fruit of an honest process and a comprehensive collaboration in every way; I knew that this would be the only way to achieve total coherence between the design and the contents.”

Co-creation

Creating wine with someone from outside the industry has its challenges: Starck commented; “we discussed it at great length. I spent many hours describing my vision of the ideal champagne; I told the story from different points of view, using very precise words that conjured up powerful images. [Lécaillon] and his teams managed to transform these words and this abstraction into wine through our tastings sessions. Fortunately for me, Lécaillon masters two languages—that of words and that of wine!”

Frédéric Rouzaud – “Philippe provided his more emotional, creative vision of the wine. This was enriching for us, because it gave us the creative freedom that we lacked. Philippe enabled us to go much further than we would have envisaged without his enlightening participation. The more precisely he described his vision the more precise we were able to be in producing the champagne. I remember him talking about a wine that was. And his vision coincided with an approach that we had already adopted in 2003.”

The result

Philippe Starck - “[Lécaillon] had succeeded in ‘translating’ my words into champagne, tastes, aromas, liquid, and bubbles. I wanted to create a champagne with a modern elegance, without losing sight of its history and roots, and this delicate equilibrium had been magnificently attained. I felt that we had reinvented champagne because we had achieved success on a number of levels: we had invented a method that consisted of 'translating' the concept of the wine and the words that describe it into the creation of the wine itself.”

Frédéric Rouzaud - “The initial tasting was a moving experience. It was the materialization of the maison’s long-standing philosophy; a constant quest for creativity through research. The work of artists helps us to enrich our wines; Brut Nature 2006 is the perfect illustration of this influence, and is the fruit of several convergences: between a terroir with a remarkable year, and between the maison and Philippe Starck, a creative genius and a free spirit.”

Authenticity

For the Brut Nature 2006, Lécaillon and his team drew inspiration from river wines from Cumières to create a medium-dry, terroir-based champagne, strengthening the concept of authenticity so central to both Starck’s and Roederer’s work. As such, every measure was taken to ensure optimal maturity on these south-facing parcels of Pinot Noir to obtain an excellent fruit that would require very minor corrective measures - as true an expression of the spirit of the terroir as possible. As it happened, in 2006, the Cumières Pinot Noir was exceptionally mature with great depth of flavour and texture. Because of the fruitiness and richness of the grapes, Lécaillon decided 'to allow nature to take its course’ and, true to Starck’s vision, was not dosé.

Character

The Pinot Noir from Cumières is intense with great vinosity (without malolactic fermentation) and slightly spicy notes, characteristic of the village. Complemented by select Chardonnays and a small amount of Meunier, the cuvée is ample, elegant, and extremely pure; the wine’s smooth and velvety structure is combined with the remarkable freshness and fruitiness of the grapes that are characteristic of Louis Roederer’s champagnes.

For further information, please contact:

Xavier Barlier, VP Marketing and Communication / (510) 587-2000