Cristal, the jewel of Champagne Louis Roederer, was created in 1876 for the Tsar Alexander II of Russia. It remains faithful to its origin, inspired by elegance and purity. Cristal is produced with regimented standards of winemaking that require a rigorous selection of crus, vintages, grapes, and wine.
The color of the 1996 vintage is a matured yellow with a pastel green-gold tint. On the nose, the wine is rich with ripe fruit aromas of yellow and white peaches with apricot. The sweet aromas and delicate bubbles indicate a powerful wine. A hint of brioche can be detected on the nose, but ripe fruit is predominating. It has a full, round attack on the palate. This wine is concentrated with an elegant, fresh and lingering finish becoming more well-balanced with age.
The winter in 1996 was gray and cool with low rainfall. A warm June provided favorable growing conditions with the exception of the cooler last ten days. This weather fluctuation resulted in staggered flowering of the Chardonnay grapes, which caused small uneven berry size on the grape clusters throughout Champagne.
The month of September was sunny but mild with light scattered showers creating exceptional grape maturation with high sugar and acidity levels. This unique sugar/acidity balance combined with small, concentrated berries revealed an aromatic depth rarely attained in Champagne. On Sept 21, the beginning of the harvest, there were all of the signs for declaring 1996 would be a vintage year.