Louis Roederer Cristal Brut
Louis Roederer Cristal Brut
Louis Roederer’s most famous wine was created in 1876 to satisfy the demanding tastes of Tsar Alexander II. The emperor asked Louis Roederer to reserve the House’s best cuvée for him every year. He was particularly fond of the House’s wine. To distinguish this cuvée, this exceptional champagne came in a flat-bottomed, transparent lead-crystal bottle. The new brand was named after this precious material, which is particularly transparent and luminous.
Produced uniquely during the best years, when the Chardonnay (around 40%) and Pinot noir (around 60%) grapes have attained perfect maturity, Cristal is aged for 6 years in Louis Roederer’s cellars and left for a further 8 months after dégorgement.
Cristal is a remarkably balanced and refined champagne whose length is inimitable. It has a silky texture and fruity aromas, complemented by a powerful mineral quality with white fruit and citrus notes. Cristal is a wine that keeps well: it can be conserved for over twenty years without losing its freshness and character.
Wine Advocate 98: One of the finest Champagnes I have ever brought to my lips, the 1999 Cristal bursts from the glass with fresh hazelnut and apple scents. Elegant, deep, and silky-textured, this medium to full-bodied beauty is immensely concentrated, pure, packed with apple flavors, and astoundingly long in the finish. Louis Roederer does not display a disgorgement date or consumer friendly lot number on its non-vintage Brut. This is regrettable as it has consistently been one of the finer bottlings in this category.
James Suckling 97: From the family collection, disgorged ten years after harvest, slightly lower than original dosage. A warm year, the hottest since 1959 at the time, this has high ripeness and plenty of spice, a touch reductive, gentle citrus peel and some candied tropical fruits, clear chalk, dried honey and brioche too. The palate has a compression to it, smooth and finely layered texture here, some flesh and some succulent texture, generous dried red cherry fruit flavours pressed together with layers of more savoury autolysis. Complex and textural Champagne.
Wine Advocate 98: Disgorged in September 2017 with 7.5 grams per liter dosage, the 2008 Cristal was produced from 37 of the 45 parcels that are candidates for inclusion in this cuvée—some 40% of which were farmed organically back in 2008—and it's a blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. The finest young Cristal in decades, the wine wafts from the glass with a pure and vibrant bouquet of crisp orchard fruit, clear honey, warm brioche, citrus zest and white flowers. On the palate, it's full-bodied, intense and incisive, with superb concentration, racy acids and a long, searingly chalky finish. Pristinely balanced, there are some 500,000 bottles of this legend-in-the-making.
James Suckling 100: One of the masterpieces of this exceptional vintage (the last that was this cool). Ravishing nose of Amalfi lemon and white peach with hints of white chocolate, chamomile and oyster shell. Super-elegant and tightly structured with a hint of creaminess on the mid-palate adding tension. Very long steely finish carried by the linear mineral acidity. A cuvée of 60% pinot noir and 40% chardonnay, part of which (unusually for Cristal) underwent malolactic fermentation. Getting very scarce on the secondary market, partly because of the great aging potential! Tasted at the Cristal vertical tasting at the champagne house on July 6th, 2023.
Wine Advocate 95+: If the 2014 vintage was especially open and demonstrative, the 2015 Cristal is going to require more patience. Unwinding in the glass with aromas of citrus oil, crisp stone fruits, white flowers, crushed mint and subtle hints of buttery pastry, it's medium to full-bodied, deep and layered, with a deep, concentrated and rather introverted core of fruit framed by chalky extract and animated by a pretty pinpoint mousse. This is a serious, vinous Champagne that has considerable substance to age and may well evolve along the lines of the lovely 1985.
James Suckling 97: For the warm and dry vintage this has tremendous freshness and elegance. The complex nose of citrus blossom, mint, lemon and lime zest opens up slowly as this aerates in the glass. The wine’s ample structure is still quite firm, which is a vintage characteristic, the mousse very fine but also very lively for an eight-year-old champagne. Cristal fans will love this as it is, but a year or two more in the bottle will do a lot for the very long mineral finish of this youthful masterpiece. A cuvee of 60% pinot noir and 40% chardonnay, picked from all 45 Cristal vineyard plots. Tasted at the Cristal vertical tasting at the champagne house on July 6th, 2023. Drink from release.For the warm and dry vintage this has tremendous freshness and elegance. The complex nose of citrus blossom, mint, lemon and lime zest opens up slowly as this aerates in the glass. The wine’s ample structure is still quite firm, which is a vintage characteristic, the mousse very fine but also very lively for an eight-year-old champagne. Cristal fans will love this as it is, but a year or two more in the bottle will do a lot for the very long mineral finish of this youthful masterpiece. A cuvee of 60% pinot noir and 40% chardonnay, picked from all 45 Cristal vineyard plots. Tasted at the Cristal vertical tasting at the champagne house on July 6th, 2023. Drink from release.
Vinous 96: I have tasted the 2015 Cristal three times so far - once as part of an extensive vertical I will be reporting on shortly, and then later in my office. Those tastings paint a portrait of a complex Champagne that is still finding its center. Tasted at the maison, the 2015 is rich, dense and explosive, with tremendous textural intensity and also a good bit of energy to back it up. Citrus confit, spice, ginger, chalk and dried flowers abound in a Champagne endowed with tremendous aromatic presence in a style that offers notable richness, but lighter than vintages such as 2012. There is a bit of the savoriness that is such a signature of the year, but it is nicely integrated in the wine’s fabric.
Decanter 95: An open and inviting nose references cream, oatmeal and Amalfi lemon with the slightest edge of smoke. The palate immediately strikes with a mouthwatering lemon ripeness and a juicy, mouthfilling generosity reminiscent of yellow plum. It stays true to the trademark sleekness of Cristal and speaks of the concentration of 2015. Fine mousse accentuates the fullness and roundness of the wine while the long finish hints at chalky depth which, for now, is dominated by ripe stone fruit and more of that textured, rich notion of oatmeal.