Louis Roederer Cristal Brut 2005
Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France
Lively, uninterrupted bubbles, with a steady creamy flow. An intensely elegant, rich, ripe bouquet. A succession of white fruits (apple), ripe and juicier yellow fruits (peaches) and slightly sour citrus fruits (mandarin oranges). The quite typical Chardonnay notes appear after a few minutes: white flowers (acacia), dried fruit, buttery caramel hints, suggestive of almost vanilla-like pastries. The bouquet is striking: its has great aromatic freshness but is already very open and mature. The bite is full-bodied, soft and winey. It gives a well-rounded, almost smooth impression with ripe sun-drenched white and yellow fruits. The flavors are typical of Chardonnay: accessible, rich, fleshy fruit combined with warm, almost buttery hints. The measured bubbles and fresh limestone quality 'stretch' in the mouth, giving a pure, graceful impression. The finish is slightly tighter with a delicious, lingering, sensuous and almost sweet taste. This Cristal 2005 stands out from all other Cristal vintages due to its aromatic openness and typical Chardonnay character. The ripe 2005 grapes produced wines of a unique nature, combining wininess with long-lasting quality, elegance and consistency. It is even reminiscent of a few Burgundy-like delights.
Wine Enthusiast - "The iconic Roederer Champagne, Cristal’s latest release, brings a perfect balance of richness and age worthiness. It is full of apple flavor, and the mousse is very fine and almost imperceptible.
Wine & Spirits - "Every vintage can't be 2002, or even 2004. Even so, this is pretty great, an open, airy, whip-smart delivery of Cristal's spark, a wine of formidable delicacy. The undertow is there, drawing down a wave of spicy oak notes and heady crème caramel to reveal glints of limestone, the bright shimmer of acidity sustained by the cool rootedness in the soil. In 45 words of my notes on this wine, there's not a single mention of fruit. Instead, they focus on brightness, subtlety, lusty juiciness, balance and mouthwatering complexity."
Wine Spectator - "Vibrant and mouthwatering, this offers a range of patisserie pear and apple fruit, candied lemon zest, pastry dough and marzipan notes set on a finely detailed texture, which imparts a great deal of finesse. The lasting finish echoes a smoky mineral note. Drink now through 2025."
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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.