Mystery and intrigue surround the disappearance of Roerderer's presence in Russia. He just vanished, according to Natalia Feduschak writer for the KYIV Post in an article from Sudak, Ukraine dated January 30, 2003. She says, “The man himself seems to have just disappeared from Czarist Russia’s winemaking scene. What is known, however, is that the company became one of the leading producers of champagne in the Russian Empire. " (A taste of Ukraine, one sip at a time) http://www.kyivpost.com/guide/travel/13471/
Threads of time weave into a legend and unlimited possibilities exist. Where in the world is Roederer?
This sparkling wine producer originally founded in 1776, under Louis Roederer I, spent the first thirty-eight years reaching sales of 2,500,000 bottles, 660,000 in Russia alone, according to http://www.champagne-roederer.com/origine/us/louis.html. The creation of Cristal cuv'ee by Louis II followed in 1876 and by 1909 he was Russia's top supplier.
After the Great Depression the Roederer family was saved from financial disaster through efforts of the family matriach, Camille-Olry-Roederer in 1932. To this day the grandson, Jean-Claude Rouzaud, along with his son Fre'de'ric steer the 200-year old icon in the United States. With the same genealogical drive of their forefathers and inherited matriachal finesse’ they manage Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes on the four hundred and ninety four acres in France (Cote des Blancs, Montagne de Reims, and Valle'e de la Marne), eventy-five miles northeast of Paris.
Louis Roederer Estates caused flap of a California kind. I didn't hear it until 2003 and the local talk suggested heated discussions over his presence in the valley began in 2000. According to public record he was there nine years before that.
But, the holdings of Roederer didn't disappear, they expanded and included an educational component in Siraz country. Five-hundred and eighty acres in Menocino County, specifically Philo have joined the case surrounding the disappearance of Roederer and sparkling Shiraz has become another crop in the area. One part of the mystery is solved. But, still there remains a nine year hole in the story. “L'ErmitageBrut" his first California wine, debuted in 1989.
According to the Wine Spectator, since he purchased the property he has been seen buying in Bordeaux in 1995, partying in Paris in 1997, and in 1999 selling off parts to a subsidiary named Scharffenberger (also in Philo-8501 Highway 128, (800) 824-7754). Scharffenberger was named Pacific Echo from 1998 to 2004, but he's back, too, and managed by Maisons Marques et Domaines Ltd. This company was contracted in 1986 by Roederer and continues to maintain exclusivity of the Roederer line, being the only distributor in the United Kingdom. Some say England created sparkling wine. But, argument ceases with unions (at least some). The question is indeed irrelevant in this case, what with the business mix of Roederer and Maisons Marques et Domaines Ltd.
I visited Philo in October of 2003, with a stay at Highland Ranch just south of Roederer Estates. The climate is indeed well-drained and cool that time of year (By all means, take long johns. ). Here grapes mature slowly balancing acid and sugar. According to reports this fifth generation Roederer searched since the late 70s for climatic conditions similar to his precious Champagne region in France. The estate's regional rustic dormers is all that's seen of the estate from the roadside, so he is still staying “hidden" somewhat.
I sat a mile and half as the crow flies at a thousand foot elevation, at the ranch with gorgeous views obstructed by redwoods near Hendy Woods National Forest, so I couldn't see Roederer either. In a little over a year the stir Roederer's presence caused, with real estate prices not wine, appears amiably settled. I wonder if the Russians know where he is yet.
It turns out the cloak-and-dagger disappearance is an expansion and asset management strategy, which has served well to protect the whereabouts of Roederer.
This excellent sparkler is consumed all over the world. A bottle of “Brut" can be had for $16.99.
Grapes used in Roederer's sparklers as Legend Has It
RED-SHIRAZ/SYRAH (Australia/France and U. S. ) unlike Petit Sirah
Persian King Jamshid found one of his slaves knocked out in the grape cellar due to the CO2 from fermenting grapes and the king's distraught mistress meaning to commit suicide, ended up drunk revealing the grapes’ mysterious power. Also, in 1/330 BC the destruction of Persepolis was said to be a direct result of Shiraz grape ingestion per Peter Svans, http://www.uncork.com. au/tidbits10.htm. Others claim it originated in the Rhone Valley of France. http://www.wineintro.com/types/sirah.html. These grapes are vigorous, disease resistant and grow well in cool climates, which the Mendocino hills certainly are – hosting a flavor of pepper.
The Burgundy (Gaul) region of France touts the beginning of a first century AD legend that the Aedui (Celtic family) brought the grape along with their invasion of Lombardy and Italy, others say Barbarians drove Romans from the already established area and Catholic monks took custody of Pinot Noir.
As luck would have it, mine ran out searching for legend surrounding the white/green grape. It is thought to have migrated from the 8th century BC to Italy, and somewhere, somehow ended up in the Champagne region of France.
Legend and myth continues to blend and meld things into oblivion. Even the word champagne which means “white chalky plane". Written on Cognac labels, the reference is to the Cognac area not the area of the same name.
Roederer Estate Inc.
P. O. Box 67
Philo, CA 95466
For more information see:
http://www.philoapplefarm.com/Map.html (Just north of this farm on the right Roederer Estate sits. Plentiful fields of apple and olive in the Northern Sierra Mountains, add flavor to another part of a “growing" mystery. )
Linda’s writing appears in From Eulogy to Joy, Beischel, Xlibris Press, 2000, Bootsnall.com , and http://www.ezinearticles.com She loves to travel, write, design, decorate, and paint. Linda studied writing through Long Ridge Writers Group in Connecticut, journalism at MSCD, Denver, and painting at the Art Academy in Loveland, Colorado, USA.