Roederer, Louis

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Roederer, Louis, family-owned Champagne house known both for its early links with the Russian court and for its extensive vineyard ownership. The original company was founded by a M. Dubois around 1776; Louis Roederer joined in 1827, becoming owner in 1833. By the second half of the century, russia had become the major market for Champagne Louis Roederer: 666,386 bottles out of a total company production of 2.5 million were exported there in 1873. In 1876, Louis Roederer was commissioned by Tsar Alexander II to create a special personal cuvée in clear glass crystal bottles that was named Cristal. But in 1917 the Russian Revolution brought the immediate loss of the company’s principal export market. Camille Orly-Roederer, widow of the great-nephew of Louis, rebuilt the company after this blow, in particular by strengthening Roederer’s vineyard holdings at a time when other houses were selling, a move many later regretted. In 1924, responding to demand for the legendary Cristal, she reintroduced it, bottled in the original design of crystal glass with no punt, creating the first prestige cuvée champagne. By the mid 2010s the company’s vineyards extended over 240 ha/593 acres, much of it in the Grands and Premiers Crus villages. Mainly thanks to these vineyard holdings, Roederer produces more vintages of Cristal than is usual for a prestige cuvée. The company, unusually for a substantial champagne house, remains independent. Jean-Claude Rouzaud, Camille’s grandson, continued in expansionist vein, buying more vineyards and investing in other wine regions. Roederer Estate in anderson valley, first released in 1988, was one of California’s finest sparkling wines. An investment in Jansz in tasmania was terminated. The company, now headed by Frédéric Rouzaud, seventh generation to lead the company, also owns Adriano Ramos Pinto in Portugal, Champagne Deutz, Delas Rhône wines, Domaines Ott in Provence, and in Bordeaux Chx de Pez and Haut-Beauséjour in St-Estèphe and, since 2007, second growth Ch Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande in Pauillac.