Louis Roederer Cristal Brut (Giftbox)
Louis Roederer Cristal Brut (Giftbox)
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: The nose of the 2002 Cristal shows a deep, ripe and elegant fruit with aromas of white chocolate, wet chalk, wild vanilla and pepper (typical for 2002) as well as terroir-driven truffle notes. Intense and very elegant in the mouth, this is a ripe, rich and concentrated yet also pure and vital Cristal with great finesse, elegance and mineral complexity. It's a sublime Champagne right now, although it's more wine than Champagne.
James Suckling 98: A re-release of the original 2010 disgorgement. Super fine, super fresh and super savory aromas of chalky stones with hints of flowers, white almonds, lemon peel and grapefruit. The palate has intense, mouth-filling, lemon-curd flavor. Very powerful, very concentrated and very expressive. Smooth finish that’s full of life, leaving a bright, white cherry note. Drink in 2022.
Wine Advocate 96: The 2014 Cristal is a terrific effort that transcends the vintage. Bursting from the glass with expressive aromas of ripe citrus fruit, nectarine, white flowers, freshly baked bread and subtle hints of honeycomb, it's medium to full-bodied, vinous and fleshy, with an exuberant core of fruit that's girdled by racy acids, resulting in a wine that's simultaneously chiseled and demonstrative, meaning that early appeal doesn't come at the expense of the requisite tension for long-term cellaring. Concluding with a long, aromatic and intensely chalky finish, it is a brilliant Champagne that will offer a broad drinking window. This bottle was disgorged in June 2021 with seven grams per liter dosage.
James Suckling 97: Lots of mineral and oyster-shell aromas with light toasted-bread and pie-crust undertones. Hints of caramel, apple and pear tart, too. Medium to full body with phenolic intensity and length. Intense at the finish, with driving acidity and length. Generous and expressive. Dosage 7g/L. Very drinkable now, but even better in 2025.
Vinous 98: The 2014 Cristal is another in a long line of gorgeous wines from Roederer and long-time Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon. A dazzling, vibrant Champagne, the 2014 impresses with a stunning combination of fruit density and linear energy that brings to mind a hypothetical blend of 2012 and 2008. At times, the bubbles feel totally wrapped up in waves of creamy, resonant fruit to the point the mousse is barely perceptible, especially with aeration. The flavors are bright and finely sculpted, leaning very much into the citrus, floral and mineral end of the spectrum.
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.