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Rush down to Waitrose and join the queue

NV Louis Roederer, Collection 242, Champagne, France

£52, Waitrose

I am out on a limb this week because, as I write this column, nothing is confirmed. I am crossing my fingers that Waitrose receives its stock on time so that come Monday you can be first in the queue to buy the finest-ever release of this exquisite wine. Hot on Waitrose’s heels, thefinestbubble.com should also have receive their allocation of 242. 

Roederer is a serious House and the wine trade has held its breath, willing this wine to work. The 2017 vintage is the 242nd at this illustrious wine business and forms the base of this Champagne. Blended into the picture are reserve wines from 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, and oak is more than present in the whole. 

Does it work? Yes, yes and yes again. It is very rare in our helter-skelter existence to have a world-famous wine company launch an affordable wine (yes, £52 in this context is affordable) with this much élan and obvious build quality. The 242 is every inch a Roederer wine, but it is a little more forward, lustier, more expressive and more palate-coating than the more refined, classical vintage releases which we traditionally treasure. 

This is Roederer’s short-cut wine – it gives us an illusion of flamboyance and decadence, and it lasts just until you take the next sip and this, in itself, is a triumph.  This is not a wine to cellar, nor is it one to analyse too closely. It is a wine to celebrate and drink with enthusiasm, and we all need things like this in our lives.

Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (matthewjukes.com).

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