Today’s mission: PARTY! To accompany this spirit, we present a Champagne symbol: Cristal. This extraordinary cuvée prestige, was created in 1876 by Louis Roederer to satisfy the demanding tastes of Tsar Alexander II. It has been named Cristal, referring to the aspect of the bottle (transparent and with a flat bottom). But the magic resides inside the bottle: Cristal is only produced during the best years of Champagne, only from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and kept for at least 6 years in Louis Roederer’s cellars, being kept for additional 8 months after disgorging.
Louis Roederer is one of the best still family-owned houses in Champagne, and its history starts in the 18th century (established in 1776 under the name of Dubois Père & Fils). But the real success started in 1833 when Louis Roederer inherited the company from his uncle, changed its name and started to activate international sells. Soon, Louis Roederer is nominated as the official wine supplier of the Imperial Court of Russia and the Cristal cuvée became the most prestigious of the house. Even after the fall of the Russian monarchy in 1917, Cristal has still remained the preferred champagne for the Russian aristocracy exiled in Paris. Nowadays, Cristal is a top class champagne, difficult to find on the market and widely appreciated by the champagne lovers. Its prestigious position on the market caught the attention of the US rappers, and for a while it was associated with the opulence in their music video clips. Scenes with rappers pouring champagne from Cristal bottles on strippers or using it for spraying each other while singing, led to an increase irritation and disapproval from the Roederer family and most of the true champagne lovers. The criticism was well founded as this extraordinary cuvée is a masterpiece of delicacy and finesse. The rappers finally abandoned Cristal and concentrated their opulence on a different champagne (but that’s another story).
We were really delighted to taste Cristal 2008 (considered by critics as the best Cristal in decades, as Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, chef de caves Louis Roederer, mentioned in an interview). Every aspect of this cuvée is so special that we both concluded Cristal is a higher level of champagne (this happened extremely rarely during our tasting experiences). The nose is softly but persistently caressed by a mix of brioche, citric fruits, red apple, toasted pineapple, a finesse impossible to forget. On the palate one can feel the tension and the complexity of this champagne — it is all about grace and charm: almonds, fine pastry, apple, passion fruit, pear, honey and ground ginger notes, finishing with the perfect balanced acidity mixed with the chalkiness of the terroir. Incredibly sophisticated, elegant, beautiful, offering cosmic fine bubbles perfectly integrated, leading to an outstanding mineral aftertaste. This champagne is a jewel of the Champagne region, a superb cuvée to celebrate every 14 July. Vive la France, vive le champagne!
|Type of champagne||Brut|
|Grapes||60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay|
|Maison||Louis Roederer (est. Reims)|
|Village/terroir||best 37 parcels from Montagne de Reims, the Marne Valley and the Côte des Blancs|
|Aged||sur lies 8 years plus at least 8 months in cellars after disgorgement|
|Number of bottles||approx. 500,000|
|Price range (euro)||230(if lucky)-280|
|Chef de Caves||Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon|
|Other considerents||no malolactic fermentation|