Louis Roederer Cristal Brut 2006
Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France
Glistening color with light amber highlights, indicating a year of very fine ripeness. Soft, almost timid bubbles, in a fine, slow and steady flow. There is a rich bouquet with confit fruit (lemon, orange), white flowers (lilies) and lightly roasted nuts (hazelnuts and almonds). On airing, the dominant fruitiness becomes intense, almost explosive: a sabayon of vine peaches,apricots, melon and mango. The mouth features a rounded, complex ballet of fruit. The texture is incredibly concentrated, giving the impression of biting into a ripe, fleshy fruit. The palate is enveloped by this depth of juicy, creamy, silky fruit, which soon makes way for a pure, sharp, graceful freshness. A transition follows from ripe fruit to a clear, light, delicate environment. Ripeness, softness and concentration arise from freshness and mineral quality, transforming the ripe fruit into a slightly sharp citrus flavor; the warmer notes make way for flowers, citrus zests and nuts. After this rapid succession of flavors, there is a lasting impression of harmony: the aromas, flavors, slight bitterness and freshness come in just the right proportions, intermingling to form a perfectly integrated yet complex whole. A few hints of tatin tart and Danish pastries add a final touch to the already complex range of aromas.
Blend: 55% Pinot Noir, 45% Chardonnay
Australian Wine Companion - "Three different versions of the blend (all emanating from Roederer) stipulate 62%, 60% or 55% pinot noir, the remainder chardonnay. Part barrel (20%) fermentation adds to the complexity of the base wine, the crisp finish reflecting the high acidity of the vintage, and the suppression of any malolactic fermentation. It is a wine with aromas of spring/white flowers, even a hint of honeysuckle, then a supple, silky and graceful palate, at once creamy and fruity. It effortlessly stamps its impact through its sheer length, and long-lingering aftertaste."
Decanter - "Fantastic from the start. A colossal power of beautiful rumbling Pinot maturity. It's like chewing on the ripest grapes from Ay and Verzenay. At the same time ultra stylish: unmistakable Cristal essence of peach and mango sweetness, pineapple, coconut, vanilla, sprightly acidity and citrus blossom. Many similarities with 2002 but with a clearer Pinot touch. "
Vinous / Antonio Galloni - "The 2006 Cristal is one of the most towering, structured young Cristals I can remember tasting. Roederer is among the first, if not the first, major house to release its tete de cuvees. Young Cristal can often deceive with its open, seductive personality, but that is not at all the case here. The 2006 is majestic, powerful Cristal that is going to need bottle age. Today it is massive, tightly coiled and imposing, with tons of structure, phenomenal balance and plenty of potential for the future.
Range: 96+ Points"
Wine Spectator - "This elegant version shows beautiful texture and a sense of finesse despite the underlying power of vibrant acidity and smoky minerality. The palate offers a finely layered mesh of blackberry, poached pear, almond pastry, lemon zest and pickled ginger flavors."
Wine Enthusiast - "Although it is still young, this vintage of Cristal promises great things. There’s an impressive balance between ripe fruit and crisp acidity, rich and food friendly, but also a fine apéritif. Apricot and grapefruit flavors are round and rich, but with considerable minerality as well."
International Wine Cellar - "Light, bright gold. Heady mineral- and smoke-accented citrus and orchard fruit aromas, with notes of fig, toasted nuts and sweet butter adding complexity and depth. Powerful, palate-staining poached pear and orange flavors are given spine by a smoky mineral quality, picking up floral and spicecake notes with air. Rich but lively and precise, finishing with superb clarity, power and spicy persistence."
The Wine Advocate - "Roederer’s 2006 Brut Cristal is striking in its sense of lift and delicacy, serving as one of many instances where those bringing preconceptions of this vintage’s warmth and ripeness of fruit to their experience may be pleasantly surprised. A nose of fresh apple, fennel and cucumber sets up associations with a slaw or salad that are crisply, lusciously and refreshingly redeemed on the palate. A garland of honeysuckle and heliotrope complements subtle suggestions of raw almond and vanilla, while alkaline and iodine notes as well as cooling but pungent green herbal notes add to the soothing yet stimulating finish."
Wine & Spirits - "A full-figured vintage of Cristal, this has broad lemon custard flavors and a robust structure that feels youthfully severe. There's a fruity mushroom tone to the flavors, Like chicken of the woods. This needs several years to mature, allowing the mineral structure to release its fruit. "
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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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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.