Champagne Louis Roederer Cristal
November 2021, Antonio Galloni
“The 2013 Cristal is a wine of extraordinary precision and tension. Searing acids drive a bold, racy Champagne that won’t be ready to offer its best drinking anytime soon. In recent vintages, Cristal has been quite open on release. That is far from the case with the 2013. Readers should plan on being quite patient. The blend is 60% Pinot Noir (from Aÿ, Verzy, Verzenay, Beaumont-sur-Vesle) and 40% Chardonnay (Mesnil, Avize, Cramant). Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon was especially selective and used only 30 out of the potential 45 plots that are typically available for Cristal. About 32% of the lots were done in oak, the rest in steel, with the malolactic fermentation blocked across the board. It was an October harvest, the sort of harvest that has become increasingly rare in Champagne. Lecaillon describes the summer as similar to 2012, but adds the vines were a month behind in their development. In tasting, the 2013 reminds me of the 1996 in its austerity, even more so than the epic 2008. (Originally published in May 2021)”
The Wine Advocate
September 23, 2021, William Kelley
“I've revisited Roederer's 2013 Cristal four times since I reviewed it in April of this year—including several times from my own cellar—and I had to admit that even my lavish praise didn't do it full justice. Combining the cool-vintage cut of 2008 with the more completely mature fruit of 2012, the 2013 Cristal might well be said to represent the perfect combination of the two from a purist's perspective. The wine unwinds in the glass with notes of crisp orchard fruit, white flowers, almond paste and citrus oil, followed by a medium to full-bodied, seamless and multidimensional palate that's intense but weightless, with racy acids, a pinpoint mousse and a long, penetrating finish. Drink the 2008 Cristal on its own, and you're unlikely—to put it mildly—to have any complaints; but compare it directly with the 2013 and you'll see Roederer's rapid progress in the vineyards writ large.”
96 Points, Hot Wines
August 25, 2021, Alison Napjus
“Exotic hints of tangerine and candied ginger are an enticing entrance for this vivid Champagne, accenting a finely meshed range of ripe green apple and cassis fruit, with rich notes of chopped almond, brioche and lemon curd. An underscoring streak of salinity gains momentum through the mouthwatering finish, echoing as it rides the plushly creamy mousse. This is decadence in a sleek and graceful package. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Drink now through 2033.”
June 17, 2021, James Suckling
“This is quite chalky with firm phenolics that frame the wine beautifully. It’s medium-to full-bodied with strawberries and earth. Dense, linear and intense. Hints of brioche and pie crust at the end. Very structured and gorgeous. Salty and lightly chewy. One third of the base wines fermented and aged in oak. Connoisseur Champagne. From organic vineyards of the Roederer domains. Smaller production than normal. Seven years on the lees. Give it two or three years to open.”
View From the Cellar
May 2021, John Gilman
“The 2013 vintage of Cristal from Maison Louis Roederer is the only one in the last two decades to be made from fruit that was harvested in October, as global warming has pushed most picking dates in the Champagne region forward into September. Spring was cool and flowering in 2013 did not occur until the month of July- almost unheard of in recent times! The cépages this year is sixty percent pinot noir and forty percent chardonnay, with one-third of the vins clairs barrel-fermented for this vintage. As always, none of the vins clairs went through malolactic fermentation and the wine was finished with a dosage of eight grams per liter. The wine delivers a beautiful young bouquet of apple, a hint of pear, yellow plum, a complex base of chalky minerality, brioche and a lovely array of fruit blossoms in the upper register. On the palate the wine is bright, full-bodied, focused and complex, with impeccable balance, a superb core, laser-like focus, very elegant mousse and a long, vibrant and very classy finish. This has the structure to age long and gracefully and may well close down a bit over the next couple of years, but for the moment, it so seamlessly balanced that I find it very easy to drink out of the blocks (which is not customary for my palate with Cristal, which I usually want to bury in the cellar for a decade!). This is a very beautiful vintage of Cristal and a very, very worthy follow-up to the stellar 2012 version! 2021-2075.”
May 3, 2021, Jeb Dunnuck
“Lots of ripe orchard fruits, toasted bread, brioche, and chalky mineral notes define the nose, and it's medium to full-bodied, with a layered, nicely concentrated, tight, inward style, beautiful precision and purity, and a great finish. It needs a good 5-7 years of bottle age to hit its stride and will keep for two decades or more.”
April 23, 2021, Simon Field MW
“The peak of drinkability is between 15 and 20 years from the harvest; so says Jean-Baptiste, but he has not spared the taster the wondrous early impression of perfection in the making. A soft gold with glistening highlights, like the river meadow at dawn; the nose effortlessly marries a panoply of flavours, the citric grip nodding to hints of passion fruit and Mirabelle plum, with hazelnut and almond signalling the grace of development. Texturally generous, yet tightly wound, taut and flinty yet ripe and open, the wine faithfully underlines the vigneron’s philosophy, every nuance of its template deftly rehearsed and charmingly enacted.”
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 2013 is composed of grapes sourced from 45 "lieux-dits". 32% of the wines are vinified in oak. No malolactic fermentation. The dosage is 8g/L.
A golden hue with soft, glowing highlights. Fine, steady, gentle bubbles. Powerful and complex on the palate, revealing a mixture of yellow fruit (mirabelle plum), juicy, ripe fruits (nectarine), citrus peel (candied orange) and finely-roasted nuts (hazelnut). The nose is simultaneously powdery and sweet, with elegant, chalky notes. Gentle, tactile and full-bodied on the palate. The bubbles create a gentle, vibrating sensation, then the wine becomes soft, dense and juicy. But it is the chalky freshness that quickly sets the tone: the sweetness becomes energetic and intense, giving the wine an elegant yet powerful texture. Fine, textured tannins reveal a poised and vinous dimension to the wine. The finish is savory and saline.
Cristal 2013 is a great classic in which maturity and freshness are harmoniously interwoven ensuring potential for long aging.
2013 was characterized by a particularly late growing cycle. A seemingly endless winter was followed by a very cool, late spring. We had to wait until the start of July for flowering to begin—something we hadn’t seen in Champagne for quite some time! Fortunately, summer was glorious with plenty of sunshine, record high temperatures and very low rainfall, ideal for the ripening of the Pinot noirs and Chardonnays. The temperatures were cool for the October harvest and the resulting wines are elegant and fresh—the signs of a "classic" vintage.
Varietals: 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay (32% vinified in oak casks)
Dosage: 8 g/L