Louis Roederer Cristal, the first Prestige Cuvée, was created in 1876 for Tsar Alexander II of Russia. One hundred and thirty-six years later, it remains faithful to its origin' inspired by elegance, purity, and precision. "It is a blue sky, without any clouds," says Cellar Master Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon.
Precise, seductive and delicious, Cristal 2005 has a slender and almost living freshness. Thoroughly contemporary in terms of its harmony and immediate seductiveness, it nonetheless remains first and foremost a great classic of northern Champagne, combining freshness, energy and an almost chalky mineral quality. The Cristal hallmarks are evident: purity, precision and the unique harmony of flavors associated with the subtle power of our older vines, located on the finest Champagne Grand Cru terroirs.
Twenty percent of the wines were matured in wood (oak barrels) with weekly batonnage. There was no malolactic fermentation. Cristal is made from grands crus from the Reims mountains, the Marne Valley and the Côte des Blancs. Matured for an average of 5 years in the cellars, it is left to rest for 8 months after disgorging to complete its maturation. Dosage is adapted to each vintage, at between 8 and 10 g/l.
"Lively, uninterrupted bubbles, with a steady creamy flow. An intensely elegant, rich, ripe bouquet. A succession of white fruits (apple), ripe and juicier yellow fruits (peaches) and slightly sour citrus fruits (mandarin oranges). The quite typical Chardonnay notes appear after a few minutes: white flowers (acacia), dried fruit, buttery caramel hints, suggestive of almost vanilla-like pastries. The bouquet is striking: its has great aromatic freshness but is already very open and mature. The bite is full-bodied, soft and winey. It gives a well-rounded, almost smooth impression with ripe sun-drenched white and yellow fruits. The flavors are typical of Chardonnay: accessible, rich, fleshy fruit combined with warm, almost buttery hints. The measured bubbles and fresh limestone quality 'stretch' in the mouth, giving a pure, graceful impression. The finish is slightly tighter with a delicious, lingering, sensuous and almost sweet taste. This Cristal 2005 stands out from all other Cristal vintages due to its aromatic openness and typical Chardonnay character. The ripe 2005 grapes produced wines of a unique nature, combining wininess with long-lasting quality, elegance and consistency. It is even reminiscent of a few Burgundy-like delights." - Jean Baptiste Lécaillon, Cellar Master
The 2005 vintage was a year of marked contrasts between seasons and regions. Following a fairly harsh winter, 2005 had a mild spring with relatively warm temperatures all year long. There was above-average sunshine and a slight water deficit, as had been the case throughout the dry cycle of 2005/2004 and 2003. The heat and humidity in July produced larger grapes and bunches, rather unusual for the Champagne region, while the cooler weather in August, followed by a very sunny month of September, led to favorable ripening in spite of heavy parasite pressure. The harvest dates were typical of those of the decade: September 12th for Chardonnays and the following day for Pinots noirs.