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Founded in 1776, and property of the same family since 1819, Champagne Louis Roederer is today one of the last major champagne houses to be an independent family affair. The annual production of its wines (Brut Premier, Carte Blanche, Brut Vintage, Rosé Vintage, Blanc de Blancs, Cristal, Cristal Rosé) represents just over three million bottles, distributed to 100 countries worldwide. In 1974, almost 200 years after the establishment of the Champagne house of Louis Roederer and 100 years after the creation of Cristal, Jean-Claude Rouzaud decided to create the Cristal Rosé cuvée. To achieve this, he selected old-vine Pinot Noir grapes using massal selection, which involves propagation from the vineyard’s most successful plants.
Cristal is a blend of Grand Crus from the Montagne de Reims, the Marne Valley and the Côte des Blancs. The wine is aged for six years in the cellars and left for a minimum of eight months after disgorging to attain the perfect maturity.
The 2008 vintage was characterised by an unusually cool, dry summer. It was a continental vintage which produced an exceptionally powerful, concentrated wine, nevertheless, the unusually cool summer temperatures made their mark on the vintage, giving it a remarkably intense saline freshness.
Amber in colour with green and orange tints and a fine, lively sparkle.
Complex and intense with aromas of candied citrus, Williams pear, pollen and toasted almond. The 2008 has an almost saline concentration derived from chalky soil in a particularly cool summer. The result is a smooth yet powerful wine with a long, taught and pure finish.
the 2008 has been tamed by an unusually long period of bottle ageing: it was aged for 10 years before its release.
Perfect with white fish such as monk fish, and white meats.
Disgorged October 2016 and will be the first Cristal to be released ten years from harvest when it is offered in 2018. 35 parcels used from a possible 45 in this vintage. The assemblage is 60% pinot noir and 40% chardonnay. This is so fresh and tense and mineral with extremely exuberant chardonnay notes on the nose of white peach, lemon and yellow grapefruit, and hints of almost brambly sous bois aromas. The yeast characters are also super fresh, and there are subtle woody notes, with a hint of vanilla bean and light spices. The palate is super long, and very pure, powerful and focused. It drives deep and taut. Pinot noir is a strong core and the chardonnay sits at the edge offering lemon and white nectarine sorbet flavors. Staggeringly concentrated, yet the balance makes it seem airy and light. Acidity is perfectly positioned, and the power is intense and long. This is an ultra precise Cristal, finishing with a mere suggestion of savoriness and warmth to come. Impressive on release, this will be at its best drinking from 2025.
Score: 100 - Nick Stock, JamesSuckling.com, October 2017
This latest incarnation of the famous brand is a superb wine. It is on par with, maybe even better than, the already legendary 2002. Its balance is impeccable: Apple and citrus flavors working with the tight minerality to give a textured yet fruity wine. Produced from Roederer's own vineyards which are mainly biodynamic, the wine has its own intense purity and crispness. It has amazing potential and is likely to age for many years. Drink from 2020.
Score: 100 - Roger Voss, Wine Enthusiast, December 2017
Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon and the team at Louis Roederer decided to release the very fine 2009 Cristal ahead of the more racy 2008 version, and this seems to have been a very good idea, as this decision has allowed the 2008 version to rest comfortably in the cellars for an additional year or two. In fact, the 2008 Cristal will be the first vintage of this wine to be released ten years out from the vintage. This is not the only exceptional aspect of the 2008 Cristal, as this is one of the very, very few vintages of this iconic wine that has included a small percentage of vins clairs that have gone through malolactic fermentation, as Monsieur Lécaillon observed that sixteen percent of the blend in 2008 is composed of wines that went through malo. The results are magical, as this small part of the blend that has undergone malolactic fermentation seems to have rounded off the snappy acids of 2008 a bit and given the wine an unprecedented textural accessibility out of the blocks that was not found in a similarly racy vintage like 1996, which was tensile and hermetically sealed when first released. Twenty percent of the vins clairs for the 2008 Cristal were barrel-fermented and the wine was finished with a dosage of 7.5 grams per liter. The wine is flat out stunning, offering up a pure and youthfully complex bouquet of apple, lemon, warm brioche, stunningly complex, chalky minerality, a touch of orange zest, fresh almond and a floral topnote redolent of lemon blossoms and mimosa. On the palate the wine is deep, fullbodied, complex and utterly seamless in its balance, with a great core, laser-like focus, utterly refined mousse and a very, very long, racy, complex and seamlessly balanced finish. This is a breathtakingly beautiful wine in the making! It is approachable today, but like all vintages of Cristal, the 2008 really deserves at least another decade in the cellar before starting to drink it with abandon. Disgorged September 2017. 2028-2095+
Score: 99 - John Gilman, View From the Cellar (74), May 2018
The 2008 Cristal is a real head-turner. Powerful, ample and explosive in all of its dimensions, the 2008 takes hold of the sense and never lets up. There is a crystalline purity to the flavors that is simply remarkable. Although still a baby, the 2008 looks like it will soon take its place alongside the greatest Cristals. Today, it is breathtaking. Drink 2020-2058.
Score: 98+ - Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, July 2017
Let's start describing the 2008 Cristal technically first. It is a 60/40 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from 36 plots in seven grands crus: Verzy, Verzenay, Beaumont and Aÿ for the Pinot Noir and Mesnil, Avize and Cramant for the Chardonnay. Twenty-five percent of the wine was fermented in oak, and 16% underwent malolactic fermentation to moderate the fresh acidity of the 2008 vintage. The assemblage was bottled in May 2009. After 8.5 years on the second lees (longer than any Cristal before), the first release was disgorged in September 2017 with a relatively low dosage of 7.5 grams per liter.
So, here is how it tastes as a "young" cuvée: The 2008 Cristal opens bright, super clear, fresh and pure on the exciting, absolutely fascinating nose with its fine, complex and elegant bouquet of gorgeously ripe and matured fruits, brioche and chalk expressions. This is the finest you can get from Champagne. The palate is pure, lean, fresh and filigreed but concentrated, highly complex, full of tension and enormously vibrant. This is a great vin de terroir, a dense and elegant Super-Cristal that goes straight and precise as a laser beam over the palate but also has texture in the form of sensually fleshy fruit. The dosage, however, is the lowest ever: just 7.5 grams. The endless and highly tensioned finish is complex, citrusy fresh, full of chalk and crystalline finesse. The 2008 Cristal is a vitalizing drug, "the Chevalier Montrachet of Champagne," as Jean-Baptise Lécaillon puts it. It is the most exciting 2008 Champagne I have tasted thus far (May 2018).
Score: 97+ - Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate, June 2018
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