Louis Roederer & Philippe Starck
Louis Roederer is a champagne house with a firm reputation and fame for producing champagne that balances passion for tradition and an astute vision for the future. Philippe Starck is a French industrial architect and designer known for his wide range of designs.
The idea for the cuvée Brut Nature was born in 2006 in the Louis Roederer vineyards. This champagne is the result of an encounter between a Champagne House working alongside nature and a creative genius with a free spirit: Philippe Starck.
Roederer CEO, Frédéric Rouzaud brought his intuition, the designer developed the idea and the Cellar Master Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon set the wheels in motion. Their discussions, beginning with the first opus, have evolved towards the creation of a second and third vintage.
Abstract conversations between Frédéric Rouzaud, Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon and Philippe Starck began with a few very specific words which formed the foundations for Brut Nature: honest, minimal, diagonal and modern. Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon gave these words texture and brought them to life. This quest for authenticity reflects the pure elegance and true friendship that characterises Brut Nature, a sincere wine produced by honest people who seek to provide the ultimate in tasting pleasure.
The sun reflects off of the black earth of Cumières, with its cold beauty and south-facing clay hillside. Its ten hectares of vines are cultivated by hand and raked up around the foot of the vine in line with traditional practices and biodynamic principles. This is a haute couture approach to wine growing and therefore a natural choice for their vineyards. This demanding approach to viticulture, which is based on and in-depth understanding of the vine, was introduced around the year 2000 and is now used in over 150 of the 410 plots that form the Louis Roederer vineyards.
“We came up with the idea of making a fresh cuvée from clay soils in a sunny year,” explains Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon. The deep clay reflects the warmth of the sun in Champagne and softens the landscape. “In order to achieve this, we did exactly the opposite of what we would normally do when crafting a new cuvée. We started with the finished article and then moved back up the process of its creation and construction,” he adds.
Brut Nature Champagne is a work of such purity, verticality, history, modernity and honesty that there was nothing to hide. The packaging reflects the champagne: the bare minimum, the first principle.
Philippe Starck created the label of Brut Nature in the spirit of “a man who has created a champagne that he is proud of. He draws the beautiful, classical script on a piece of white paper that he happened to come across, a flyleaf of a book or a sheet from his daughter’s sketch book. Then, simply, naturally, he underlines the significant words in felt-tip. This champagne requires nothing artificial. Beauty is revealed at its very core, when there is nothing left to remove. This is the case with Brut Nature, the only thing left to remove is the cork in order to drink the champagne.”
The cuvées of the House of Louis Roederer are the fruit of patient work with fundamental ingredients, the collaboration of experts, a quest for the perfect balance, and hardy and generous grapes, cultivated in the Champagne soil, producing a wine with a summery character and crystalline elegance.
When he inherited the Champagne House in 1833, the aesthete and entrepreneur Louis Roederer took a visionary approach to enriching his vines, aiming to master every stage of the wine’s creation. He forged the wine’s unique style, character, and taste. In the mid-nineteenth century, Louis Roederer acquired some of Champagne’s grand cru vineyards—an approach that contrasted sharply with contemporary practices.
While other Houses bought their grapes, Louis Roederer nurtured his vineyards, familiarized himself with the specific characteristics of each parcel, and methodically acquired the finest land. Louis Roederer’s guiding principle was that all great wine depends on the quality of the soil, a passion for tradition, and an astute vision of the future. His heir, Louis Roederer II was equally enlightened and adopted his father’s conscientious approach to the production of champagne, patrimonial estate management, and instinctive audacity.
In the 1920s, the future heir to the House of Louis Roederer, Léon Olry-Roederer consecrated his efforts to creating a highly balanced wine—a consistent and delicate blend of several vintages, to ensure that the wine would always be of the highest quality. This wine would form the basis for the later Brut Premier. This fine blend greatly contributed to the renaissance of the House of Louis Roederer.
After his death, from 1933 onwards, the winery was managed by his strong-minded widow, Camille, who ran the Champagne House with formidable intelligence and singular dynamism. Camille loved horse racing and owned one of the most famous stables in the world; she was also an enlightened patron and embraced the more festive and pleasurable aspects of champagne. Camille Olry-Roederer held many receptions in the family’s Hôtel Particulier in Reims. These parties had a lasting impact on the history of the House and introduced a whole new generation of wine lovers to the joys of Louis Roederer Champagne.
Her grandson, Jean-Claude Rouzaud, an oenologist and agronomist, took over the running of the entire estate and decided to consolidate the vineyards. Through his passionate commitment to the metier of wine-growing, he cultivated more than ever the inventive qualities that are so representative of the House’s philosophy.
The Louis Roederer House has remained an independent, family-owned company and is now managed by Jean-Claude’s son, Frédéric Rouzaud, who represents the seventh generation of the lineage. With the same patience and unshakeable faith in its creative vocation, the House of Louis Roederer’s annual exports total three million bottles around the world.
This precise work is carried out with great respect for biodiversity and, increasingly, the principles of biodynamic cultivation. Our vineyards are located in three classic Champagne districts: the Montagne de Reims, the Vallée de la Marne, and the Côte des Blancs. The diversity and fertility of these sites provide our House with an extensive and rich palette from which to fashion the wines.
The Louis Roederer estate cultivates the 3 traditional grape varieties: Chardonnay is appreciated for its minerality, finesse, and elegance; Pinot noir’s solid constitution adds structure to the blends and prepares them for ageing; Pinot Meunier is a slightly less refined sweet grape variety, whose adaptability brings harmony and softness to certain cuvées.
The grapes are meticulously gathered by hand and are collected in the buckets and pressed on the site of the harvest. The pressing process is a delicate one, because the berry must not alter the colour of the juice, which must maintain its golden hue and clarity.
This precise selection process and plot-by-plot vinification ensures that the origins and traceability of the grapes are respected and provides a perfect record of the fruit from each row of vines. Hence the natural equilibrium of each parcel is preserved, and the vines are protected from external influences. This brings out the finest qualities in our wines.
Inside the cuvées and the tuns the wine develops into an ‘entity’ in its own right, with its own qualities—and sometimes weaknesses—that the oenologists fully nurture and exploit. At this stage, all the richness and diversity of the fruits come to the fore. The contents of the fermenting tanks is tasted every day and classified into families of aromas, flavours, and characters. Every observation on the part of the wine tasters is carefully noted. Constantly tasted and reclassified, our wines gradually mature and develop their own unique characters.
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