Born in Aÿ in 1831, Pol Roger founded the négociant house that bears his name in 1849, when he was only 18 years old. By 1876 he had established a presence in Great Britain, selling to the most prestigious clubs, restaurants and hotels, and in 1877 he received a Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria. The English market would soon become the cornerstone of Pol Roger’s business, thanks to his savvy agent, Conrad Reuss, and his success here would eventually allow him to discontinue selling wine to other firms sur lattes and to focus exclusively on sales of his own brand.
Upon his death in 1899, his sons Maurice and Georges took over the firm, and in a tribute to their father, they legally changed their family name from Roger to Pol-Roger. The house was struck with disaster in 1900, when a major portion of their cellars in Epernay collapsed, destroying 1.5 million bottles of champagne; however, with the help of other Champagne firms, the brothers kept the business alive, further establishing the brand in important markets such as the United States and France.
The latter half of the 20th century saw Pol Roger continue to flourish under the direction of Christian de Billy and Christian Pol-Roger, both great-grandsons of Pol Roger himself. Christian de Billy’s son Hubert joined the house in 1988 and is its commercial director today; Laurent d'Harcourt is the Président du Directoire, while Dominique Petit has been the chef de caves here since 1999.
Pol Roger’s 87 hectares of vines provide for about 55 percent of their needs, with the rest of the grapes purchased through long-term contracts. The wines are made in the house’s extensive network of cellars in Epernay, which is built on three levels, covering over seven kilometers and reaching depths of up to 35 meters. The exceptional coolness of these cellars, which maintain an unusually low ambient temperature of 9°C all year round, contributes to the fine mousse that is a hallmark of Pol Roger champagnes.
Information courtesy of Peter Liem's ChampagneGuide.net ©