Louis Roederer Cristal Brut (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2002
Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France
Cristal, the jewel and tête de cuvée of Champagne Louis Roederer, was created in 1876 for the Tsar Alexander II of Russia. It remains faithful to its origin, inspired by elegance and purity. Cristal is produced with regimented standards of winemaking that require a rigorous selection of crus, vintages, grapes, and wine.
Cristal is produced using only the finest vintages from crus guaranteed to originate from the Louis Roederer vineyard. All the exceptional characteristics of the 2002 vintage have literally been captured in this Cristal 2002, which is generous and lush, revealing perfect balance between concentration and finesse, freshness and vinosity, intensity and refinement. In three words: proud, rich and luxurious.
Cristal 2002 is brilliant yellow with light amber highlights and has a beautiful mousse with fine cordon of persistent and regular bubbles. The nose is intense and delicate, revealing a clean and well-blended mixture of flavors of honey, cocoa, lightly toasted hazelnuts, candied citrus fruit. A savory explosion of ripe fruit on the attack, the wine reveals red fruit, white chocolate, caramel and Danish pastry, typical of Cristal. Its silky, concentrated texture relies on its intense, powerful and vinous structure, but maintains refinement. The palate builds up to attain a delicious sensation of well-blended harmony of flavors. A fresh finish with a hint of bitterness makes it almost crunchy.
Wine & Spirits - "If a wine could ever make you want to pull the top down on your '68 Ferrari convertible, rip off the rearview mirror and take off, this is it. It has a different kind of energy than the '02 Cristal Rose, which is more ethereal, like strawberries at the right hand of some ancient Gallic god. This is more insolent, brash, earth bound. All the scents and flavors seem to emanate frm limestone, as does the acidity, which hits at the front of the mouth and powers through the wine with the kind of solar energy that lifts mist off the white chalk on a cool morning in Cramant. The wine goes on for miles. It's already irresistible, and will only improve with ten, 20, 30 and 40 years of age."
Wine Enthusiast - "This is an exceptional wine, as is the vintage. The fruits—grapefruit, crisp red apple—balance with a fine yeasty character. There is a great depth of flavor, the fruits going in a pure line of freshness. The one problem is that it is much too young, the result of the demand from the market for the next vintage. Age this wine for at least four years."
The Wine Advocate - "Roederer's 2002 Cristal is still in its infant, fresh stage. Subtle notes of pears, flowers, spices, mint, minerals and oak are woven into a cashmere-like frame of extraordinary grace and elegance. This beautifully-sculpted Champagne possesses notable clarity but with the additional depth of fruit that is characteristic of this vintage. It is a gorgeous, seductive Cristal of the highest level. In 2002, Cristal is 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay with 10 grams of dosage. 20% of the wine was fermented in oak."
Connoisseurs' Guide - "55% Pinot Noir; 45% Chardonnay. Its Pinot Noir portion notwithstanding, this wine has a crisp, chalky, lightly citrusy, lightly toasty aroma that is more than a little bit suggestive of an elegant Blanc de Blancs. And perhaps that is its secret. It is an incredibly refined yet deep wine whose suggestions of roasted soy and caramel are kept as complex nuances within a well-filled, refreshing, crisp set of flavors and a graceful, lengthy aftertaste. It occupies a comfortable middle ground between the quiet refinement of Dom Perignon and the bold approaches of the top Bollinger and Krug wines."
Wine Spectator - "A suave customer, with hints of citrus, berry and coffee. Harmonious and refined, with freshness and a bright structure. The finish shows a lot of potential, with a mouthwatering aftertaste. Better than previously reviewed. Drink now through 2030."
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Louis Roederer Winery
Champagne Louis Roederer was founded in 1776 in Reims, France and is one of the rare family owned companies, which is still managed by the Roederer family. In 1833, Louis Roederer inherited the company from his uncle and renamed the company under his namesake. Under his leadership, the company rapidly grew while remaining true to their philosophy of uncompromising quality. Today, the company is under the helm of Jean-Claude Rouzaud and his son Frédéric who continue to place quality before quantity.
Champagne Louis Roederer is one of the only French champagne producers to own nearly 75 percent of the grapes in the most desirable vineyards in the Champagne. The property is located on 450 acres in the finest villages of Montagne de Reims, Côtes des Blancs, and Valleé de la Marne. Each region is selected to produce Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with the elegance needed for perfectly balanced champagne. The Louis Roederer vineyards rate an average 98 percent based on France’s statutory 100-point classification scale.
The reserve wine is then tasted and graded by a team of Roederer specialists. They choose as many as 40 different wines from several lots for the blend. For the final touch, the wine is then added in order to enhance the cuvee and guarantee consistency while retaining the champagne's characteristics. View all Louis Roederer Wines
About ChampagneView a map of Champagne wineries Champagne is both a region and a method. The wines come from the northernmost vineyards in France and the name conjures an image like no other can. An 18th Century Benedictine monk named Dom Perignon is said to be the first to blend both varietals and vintages, making good wines not only great, but also special and unique to their winemaker. Today, nearly 75% of Champagne produced is non-vintage and made up by a blend of several years' harvests.
All Champagnes must be made by a strictly controlled process called "Méthode Champenoise." The grapes are pressed and fermented for the first time. The blending phase follows and the wine is bottled and temporarily capped. Then comes the second fermentation, a blend of sugar and yeast is added and, this time, the carbon dioxide is kept inside the bottle. This process leaves a great deal of sediment that is extracted through a process of "racking" or "riddling." The bottles are progressively turned upside down until all the sediment is collected in the neck. The necks are then frozen and the sediment is "disgorged." After this phase, the winemaker may decide to add sugar to sweeten the wine. Finally the wine is corked. Some wines move through this process in a couple of months, while others are aged after the riddling phase to build greater complexity and depth.
Champagnes range from dry, "Brut," to slightly sweet, "Demi-Sec." Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes are used in Champagne blends, but "Blancs de Noirs" is made entirely of Pinot Noir and "Blancs de Blanc" is made from only Chardonnay grapes. The high acidity achieved by the northern location is crucial to the balance and structure of these wines.
Not every year is a "vintage" declared. In years when it is not, the wines are blended with the produce from other years to create the non-vintage blend, the house style that remains constant from year to year. But in a great vintage year, champagne houses will bottle by itself the unblended year's produce, and use other portions as "reserve" wines to supplement and enrich the non-vintage blend. A vintage champagne can age quite gracefully, and gain complexity just like any other great still wine.
Mild cheeses like gruyere and shellfish pair nicely with Champagne. Also, oysters and Champagne is a popular combination. A full-flavored vintage Champagne can go with almost any meal.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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