Sophisticated champagnes that deserve greater attention - 2004 Rodez Ambonnay

Posted by Joe Salamone

"Sophisticated champagnes that deserve greater attention"
2004 Rodez Brut Grand Cru Ambonnay

"Anyone who thinks that monocru champagne is incapable of complexity and completeness, or that grower champagne is rustic and lacking in finesse, needs only to taste Rodez’s wines to see that neither of these need necessarily be true."
-Peter Liem

I've spent almost a year trying to get my hands on Éric Rodez's Champagne.

Peter Liem's quote above encapsulates why I've gone through all the effort.

Rodez's Champagnes are a fascinating expression of grower's Champagne. There's a level of breeding and regal grandeur on display that's striking.

They've cruised under-the-radar for far too long. Rodez's 2004 is only available in one other place in the U.S. Which is a shame - as Peter Liem writes, they "deserve greater attention."

While many Champagne growers look towards small, quality obsessed producers, like Jacques Selosse, for inspiration, Rodez's Champagnes seem to take their cues more from the refinement and power of Krug. The answer why is easy: Rodez spent years working at Krug.

Ambonnay is simply holy ground for Champagne. When you talk to Champagne fanatics about the greatest of Grand Crus, the answer is always the same: Mesnil, Cramant, Äy, Verzenay and Ambonnay.

However, Rodez's working in a renowned terroir is only half the story. Another important piece is his experience working with Krug. The Krug connection feels very important. Most immediately, it's the way that Rodez's wines combine power, depth and refinement. Like Krug, in Rodez's Champagnes, you also get a very adept use of wood. Also, like Krug, Rodez is obsessed with vinifying parcels separately and then blending. Out of his 36 parcels, he vinifies 60 different wines.

Rodez's 2004 Brut Grand Cru is equal parts Pinot Noir and Chardonnay sourced from choice parcels. The Pinot comes from the mid-slope, while the Chardonnay comes from the top of the slope where the soil becomes even chalkier.

The 2004 thrives on layered complexity and finesse. The vintage lends beautiful verve that accentuates the finesse and adds yet another dimension to the Champagne's depth of complexity. Overall, the impression is one of harmony and subtlety.

Rodez's style stands apart and is recommended for this reason as well as for the outright quality. His 2004 is only showing a glimmer of its potential today. It's well worth it to pick up a 3-pack to watch it evolve.

To order, please email us at or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits