Champagne Louis Roederer Cristal
The Wine Advocate
March 5, 2020, William Kelley
“Tasted from the original 2009 disgorgement, the 2002 Cristal is a broad, vinous wine, bursting with aromas of honeyed yellow orchard fruit, warm butter, brioche and fresh peaches. On the palate, it's full-bodied, textural and mouthfilling, rendering the fine-boned chalky structure and textural finesse that distinguish this quintessentially elegant style of this cuvée in a broader-shouldered, more enveloping register. The 2002 is beginning to enter its plateau of maturity and is drinking beautifully today, though it still has many years ahead of it.”
March 22, 2012, James Suckling
“Super fine texture to this wine. It is very dense and powerful with loads of dried fruits, white pepper and papaya. It’s full and long. There is so much power and energy to this. The finish shows ginger, apple pie and bread dough, which was on the nose as well. This is one to age for five or six more years to show its true greatness.”
Wine & Spirits
December 2009, Joshua Greene
“If a wine could ever make you want to pull the top down on your '68 Ferrari convertible, rip off the rearview mirror and take off, this is it. It has a different kind of energy than the '02 Cristal Rosé, which is more ethereal, like strawberries at the right hand of some ancient Gallic god. This is more insolent, brash, earth bound. All the scents and flavors seem to emanate from limestone, as does the acidity, which hits at the front of the mouth and powers through the wine with the kind of solar energy that lifts mist off the white chalk on a cool morning in Cramant. The wine goes on for miles. It's already irresistable, and will only improve with ten, 20, 30 and 40 years of age.”
December 1, 2008, Roger Voss
“This is an exceptional wine, as is the vintage. The fruits—grapefruit, crisp red apple—balance with a fine yeasty character. There is a great depth of flavor, the fruits going in a pure line of freshness. The one problem is that it is much too young, the result of the demand from the market for the next vintage. Age this wine for at least four years.”
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. Louis Roederer offered him an exceptional crystal bottle, holding the fruit of vines selected from the seven great crus on his estate. The chardonnay and pinot noir grapes provide the subtle, precise balance that has now become synonymous with the leading prestige cuvée of Champagne.
Cristal is Louis Roederer’s flagship cuvée. It was created in 1876 and is composed of Grand Crus from the Montagne de Reims, the Marne Valley and the Côte des Blancs.
Cristal is produced using only the finest vintages from crus guaranteed to originate from the Louis Roederer vineyard. Matured for an average of 5 years in the cellars, Cristal is left to rest for 8 months after disgorging to complete its maturation.
Brilliant yellow with light amber highlights. A beautiful mousse with fine cordon of persistent and regular bubbles. The nose is intense and delicate. Revealing a clean and well-blended mixture of flavors of honey, cocoa, lightly toasted hazelnuts, candied citrus fruit… without exuberance, but luxurious simplicity. On the palate, a savory explosion of ripe fruit on the attack, revealing red fruit, white chocolate, caramel and Danish pastry, typical of Cristal. Silky, concentrated texture, leaning on intense, powerful and vinous structure, but maintaining refinement. The palate builds up to attain a delicious sensation of a well-blended harmony of flavors. A fresh finish with a hint of bitterness making it almost crunchy. All the exceptional characteristics of the 2002 vintage have literally been captured in this 2002 Cristal, which is generous and lush, revealing perfect balance between concentration and finesse, freshness and vinosity, intensity and refinement. In three words: proud, rich and luxurious.
This was a characteristically dry, warm year with outbreaks of heavy rain. August was a month of extremes, with rain followed by scorching temperatures then violent thundery intervals. An anticyclone at the start of September gave way to rain towards 8 September followed by fine weather that lasted throughout the harvest with the exception of light drizzle. The vintage was marked by the outstanding quality of the grapes, registering a degree of alcohol content rarely achieved in Champagne.
An early maturing year brought about by dry soil conditions that accelerated ripening; work in the vineyards to improve the quality of the yield: targeted manuring at the start of the season; pruning to restrict yields; crown suckering of fruit-bearing shoots to remove excess clusters; green harvesting over a total 20-hectare area; sunny conditions throughout the month of September. These conditions allowed the team to start harvesting on September 12 in the Côte des Blancs, September 13 in the Marne Valley, and September 16 in the Montagne de Reims. Harvesting in each vineyard sector lasted 13 days and pickers were in excellent spirits. The quality of the grapes was remarkable throughout the vineyard.
The strength and finesse of Cristal are perfectly suited to delicate foods. It is a flattering accompaniment to caviar, fish and shellfish such as scallops, John Dory, lobster and crayfish. The ideal serving temperature is between 46°F and 50°F.
Varietals: 55% Pinot Noir, 45% Chardonnay