In 1876, Tsar Alexander II - already a great lover of Louis Roederer wines - asked Louis Roederer to 'take the exercise still further' and create a cuvée for his personal use which was unique, in terms of both its style and the bottle. So Louis Roederer offered him an exceptional crystal bottle, holding the fruit of vines selected from the seven great crus on his estate. This cuvée would be offered only in the truly 'great' years in which the ripeness of the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes could provide the subtle, precise balance that has now become synonymous with the leading prestige cuvée of Champagne.
Cristal 2006 is made with 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay and 20% wines matured in wood (oak barrels) with no malolactic fermentation. Cristal is a blend of grand crus from the Reims mountain, the Marne Valley and Côte des Blancs. The wine is matured for six to seven years in cellars and rests for eight months after disgorging. Dosage varies between eight and 10 g/l depending on the vintage.
Glistening color with light amber highlights, indicating a year of very fine ripeness. Soft, almost timid bubbles, in a fine, slow and steady flow. There is a rich bouquet with confit fruit (lemon, orange), white flowers (lilies) and lightly roasted nuts (hazelnuts and almonds). On airing, the dominant fruitiness becomes intense, almost explosive: a sabayon of vine peaches,apricots, melon and mango. The mouth features a rounded, complex ballet of fruit. The texture is incredibly concentrated, giving the impression of biting into a ripe, fleshy fruit. The palate is enveloped by this depth of juicy, creamy, silky fruit, which soon makes way for a pure, sharp, graceful freshness.A transition follows from ripe fruit to a clear, light, delicate environment. Ripeness, softness and concentration arise from freshness and mineral quality, transforming the ripe fruit into a slightly sharp citrus flavor; the warmer notes make way for flowers, citrus zests and nuts. After this rapid succession of flavors, there is a lasting impression of harmony: the aromas, flavors, slight bitterness and freshness come in just the right proportions, intermingling to form a perfectly integrated yet complex whole. A few hints of tatin tart and Danish pastries add a final touch to the already complex range of aromas.
2006 was a very warm year, characterized by contrasting rainfall patterns. Following on from an unusually cold and rainy August, a warm, dry September hastened up the ripening process producing distinctive, rich, complex grapes.
This concentrated, dense, ripe, fresh and long Cristal 2006 is unhesitatingly made using full-bodied, smooth Pinots and fresh, elegant mineral Chardonnays. The ripeness of 2006 harvests makes it possible to achieve a distinctive culmination of matter and purity, richness and softness.