Creators of the glorious Cristal, beloved bubbly of rappers and royalty alike, the Louis Roederer champagne house came into being in 1776, around the same time a nascent America was struggling to stand up in its cot. The serious timeline involved in that statement adds an unassailable aura of authenticity to the proceedings; let’s face it, any family that can hold a business together for almost two-and-a-half centuries has to have something going for it.
The visionary Louis Roederer inherited the house in 1833 and set about acquiring some of Champagne’s grand cru vineyards, an entirely original approach in those times. While the other houses purchased their grapes, he set about learning how to grow them himself, gaining insights into the characteristics of each parcel and gradually acquiring the finest plots.
In 1876, his son and successor, Louis Roederer II, developed the first ever prestige cuvée, Cristal. In fine French tradition, Roederer also had, from the 1930s, their own dynamic widow running things: the formidable Camille Olry-Roederer was owner of one of the most notable horse-racing stables in the world and famous for the parties she regularly held in the family’s Hotel Particulier in Reims.
Today the company is managed by her great-grandson, Frédéric Rouzaud, as it draws on a rich palette from the three Champagne districts, the Montagne de Reims, the Vallée de la Marne, and the Côte des Blancs. With two-thirds of their grape requirements under company ownership, the increasingly biodynamic Roederer have a great deal of control when it comes to the quality of their product.
Operating under the ethos, ‘the better the vine, the better the wine’ their vineyards are meticulously maintained and well-honed traditions adhered to. Roederer themselves pay homage to ‘those people in the vineyards and cellars who daily orchestrate the score for a great champagne.’