As the largest independent family-managed Champagne producer, Louis Roederer rank amongst the region's absolute finest. Established in 1776, the House today is managed by seventh generation family member Frédéric Rouzaud alongside long-time Chef de Cave and Champagne legend Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon. They own an astounding 242 hectares of vineyards many in chalk rich Grand Cru villages covering two-thirds of their grape requirements. Roederer have become pioneers in biodynamic farming & by 2012 all 78 hectares the “Cristal Estates” are farmed using biodynamic methods. By 2021 Roederer have 115 hectares certified organic. All the grapes in Cristal & other vintage cuvee’s come from their own vineyards. The estate is made up of 410 plots which are fermented separately in one of the 450 stainless steel tanks in their Reims cellars. In 2020 Roederer replaced Brut Premier with “Collection” allowing each years non-vintage blend to be identified and “re-engineering” the non-vintage cuvee to maintain freshness in the light of global warming on the Champagne region. Today Cristal is, widely recognised as the world's most awarded prestige cuvée champagne.
In 1876, Russia's Tsar Alexander II, a long-time lover of Louis Roederer wines, asked the producer to create a special cuvée for his personal use which was unique in both its style and bottle design. Dissatisfied with standard champagne bottles that concealed the beautiful colour and effervescence from the eye, he requested that his personal cuvée be served in transparent crystal glass bottles with a flat bottom to foil the insertion of explosives by would-be assassins. Thus, Louis Roederer selected the best vines from seven Grand Crus on his estate and Cristal, the first prestige cuvée, was born. Today some 45 plots make up the "Cristal Estates" and each vintage can sometimes be made up of all plots or as is normal often a few plots don't make the final blend.
Weather: The 2008 vintage began with difficulty for Louis Roederer. After a stormy and rainy spring, flowering was late with widespread disease producing small and dense clusters of grapes. The dry summer, though cool with relatively little sunshine, resulted in a maturation process that was both dry and fresh. Exceptionally favourable weather conditions in September then fostered perfect maturation of the grapes, producing wines with an exceptional and natural balance between freshness and a concentration of flavours. As more releases hit the market, 2008 is being considered the next-best vintage since 2002.
This is the first Cristal that has had 10 years lees ageing, previous vintages have experienced 5-7 years.
Vineyards: 100% Grand Cru
Grape Varieties: 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay
Lees Ageing: 8 years
Dosage: 8 g/l
Drink: Now to 2035+
Champagne in clear bottles must be stored in complete darkness, it spoils quickly if exposed to any light source. Cristal is supplied in yellow wrapping (not shown in photo) do not remove it and ideally place in a box. Read More
Tasting Note: So light on the palate but has such richness. This has so much power and has loads of elements: tropical fruits, subtlety, elegance and lightness of touch. I would have difficulty picking this over 2002 or indeed 1988! Stunning. This has really benefited from the extra lees ageing of 10 years.
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