Camille Volibarts 2020, a bubble-free tribute to the woman who reinvented the great house of champagne

The renowned champagne brand Louis Roederer has recently launched its latest Camille 2020 wine collection – Hommage.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
02 June 2023 Friday 04:28
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Camille Volibarts 2020, a bubble-free tribute to the woman who reinvented the great house of champagne

The renowned champagne brand Louis Roederer has recently launched its latest Camille 2020 wine collection – Hommage. They are a bubble-free tribute to Camille Olry-Roederer, one of the most influential figures in the history of this champagne firm. Camille was the woman who ushered in a new era at Louis Roederer. With her bold and visionary spirit, she fought for the survival and development of this maison to restore it to its former splendor. She directed Louis Roederer in the long period from 1932 to 1975, overcoming the many difficulties and wars of the time.

They say that she was “exuberant and eccentric, at the same time as elegant and refined”. This witty widow created a circle of wine lovers, devotees of Louis Roederer champagnes. It is for this reason that the brand wanted to honor her and give her name to this new collection, made up of two still wines, a red Pinot noir (Camille Charmont 2020) and a white Chardonnay (Camille Volibarts 2020). They are limited edition and monovarietal.

From Roederer they affirm that "they offer a new perspective of the Champagne terroir, and encapsulate the vitality and finesse of the terroir". With these wines, the president of the company, Fréderic Rouzaud, affirms that they wanted to pay tribute to the "restless spirit and audacity" of his great-grandmother.

These wines are the result of a series of payments that Camille husband's husband had the good sense to buy after the phylloxera crisis. They are plots planted in the municipalities of Aÿ, Avize, Cramant, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Mareuil-sur-Aÿ or Cumières. From Louis Roederer they say that "they constitute the treasures of the house, the basis of its unique style". Its non-sparkling wines, white and red, are a reflection of these places, "the roots of a terroir that moved Camille so much". This new collection is born with a double inspiration: a look at the past, in homage to Camille, and a nod to the future.

The 2020 vintage followed a similar trajectory to that of 2019: a mild and rainy winter followed by a dry summer with several heat waves, although less extreme than in 2019 but which had an impact on the vines. Fortunately, a rather gloomy June allowed for a wet interlude between two dry spells. Despite the heat strokes and constant insolation, the temperatures of the 2020 campaign were relatively normal. These continental conditions with normal annual averages made it possible to produce, according to Louis Roederer, "mature and balanced wines".

The winery affirms that its objective is "to work the land by going directly to the essence, allowing the land to express itself." They use viticulture and winemaking capable of bringing their terroirs to light in a "different and brilliant" way. They add that their work "unites man with nature." In fact, they use precision viticulture respecting biodiversity and giving increasing importance to the principles of biodynamic agriculture. They seek to sublimate what nature offers them through work "as close as possible to the vineyard, with a viticulture that seeks sunshine and a custom winemaking with which "to make our terroirs known in a different way."

Their new Camille Volibarts 2020 is a very interesting chardonnay from a beautiful vineyard in the town of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, in the Cotê des Blancs. They selected the grapes from these historic vines of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, a plot of just 0.546 hectares planted in 1997, facing south-east, slow-growing and mild, dubbed Volibarts.

Its grapes were harvested on September 11, 2020. A third of the wine, which fermented spontaneously, underwent a pre-fermentative maceration. Aging was carried out using the lees for 14 months, 28% in new French oak barrels, 44% in ceramic containers and the remaining 28% in stainless steel tanks. It was bottled on January 12, 2022. Of this vintage, 2,906 bottles were produced (sample number 1,019 tasted).

It is a crisp, bright straw yellow parcel white. Woody notes are well integrated into the wine, which stands out with freshness, liveliness and a glyceric tactile sensation. It also shows floral notes, aromatic herbs infusion (chamomile) and fruit (pears, plums and tropical pineapple), and a slightly bitter final almond tip.

It is elegant, round, unctuous, tasty, with good acidity and minerality (evidencing its origin in chalk, marl and calcareous soils). With 13º of alcohol. From Louis Roederer they affirm that they were looking for a chardonnay "with purity and breadth", and they have achieved it.

It is an ideal white to pair with sole meunière, oysters or scallops in champagne, fettuccine with baby eels and red prawns, and even stewed pheasant in the oven. The president of the company likes to harmonize it with fresh dishes. He believes that Camille Volibarts 2020 is a perfect accompaniment to a tuna tartare with avocado.

Founded in 1776, Louis Roederer has been owned by the same family since 1819. It is one of the great Champagne maisons that remain independent today. The seventh generation of the family firm manages a wine farm of about 240 hectares. With their own grapes they manage to satisfy 70% of their needs. Louis Roederer has been considered the most prestigious Champagne maison in history by the Revue du Vin de France. Among its champagnes are the iconic Cristal.

In addition to champagne production, they also own Champagne Deutz, the Bordeaux Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande (Grand Cru Classé de Pauillac), Château de Pez (Saint-Estèphe) and the Maison Descaves; Estate Ott* in Provence; Maison Delas Frères in the Rhone Valley, Porto Ramos Pinto in Portugal and, in California, Roederer Estate, Scharffenberger Cellars, Anderson Estate, Merry Edwards Winery and Diamond Creek Vineyards.