Louis Roederer Cristal Brut 2008
Amber hue with green and orange tints. Fine, even and lively sparkle. Complex and intense bouquet disclosing candied citrus, yellow fruit, Williams pear, pollen, and toasted almond. The delicately seductive bouquet shows intensity and well-honed precision. The wine is powerful, full yet tight, on entry to the palate. The 2008 vintage is undeniably well structured but in a particular way: the wine’s almost saline concentration has not been created by the sun but is derived from the dryness of the chalk soil in a particularly cool summer. The result is a smooth, almost liquorous, mouthfeel that coats the palate with a powerful yet soft texture. This gives way to an incredible finish, underpinned by freshness and an impression of absolute purity with a taut and very saline character. The Cristal 2008 is deep, intense and masterful. It offers the quintessential reflection of its chalk soils which lend it is velvety texture and delicate tension. This wine’s energy has been tamed by an unusually long period of bottle ageing: Cristal 2008 was in fact aged for 10 years before its release on the market. A first!
Blend: 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The latest incarnation of Roederer’s iconic Champagne, this comes from a great vintage and is balanced, moving towards maturity. White stone fruit are shot through by lemon acidity. A steely edge contrasts with the underlying richness. Drink now, although the wine will age for many years.
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.
Associated with luxury, celebration, and romance, the region, Champagne, is home to the world’s most prized sparkling wine. In order to bear the label, ‘Champagne’, a sparkling wine must originate from this northeastern region of France—called Champagne—and adhere to strict quality standards. Made up of the three towns Reims, Épernay, and Aÿ, it was here that the traditional method of sparkling wine production was both invented and perfected, birthing a winemaking technique as well as a flavor profile that is now emulated worldwide.
Well-drained, limestone and chalky soil defines much of the region, which lend a mineral component to its wines. Champagne’s cold, continental climate promotes ample acidity in its grapes but weather differences from year to year can create significant variation between vintages. While vintage Champagnes are produced in exceptional years, non-vintage cuvées are produced annually from a blend of several years in order to produce Champagnes that maintain a consistent house style.
With nearly negligible exceptions, . These can be blended together or bottled as individual varietal Champagnes, depending on the final style of wine desired. Chardonnay, the only white variety, contributes freshness, elegance, lively acidity and notes of citrus, orchard fruit and white flowers. Pinot Noir and its relative Pinot Meunier, provide the backbone to many blends, adding structure, body and supple red fruit flavors. Wines with a large proportion of Pinot Meunier will be ready to drink earlier, while Pinot Noir contributes to longevity. Whether it is white or rosé, most Champagne is made from a blend of red and white grapes—and uniquely, rosé is often produce by blending together red and white wine. A Champagne made exclusively from Chardonnay will be labeled as ‘blanc de blancs,’ while ones comprised of only red grapes are called ‘blanc de noirs.’
Representing the topmost expression of a Champagne house, a vintage Champagne is one made from the produce of a single, superior harvest year. Vintage Champagnes account for a mere 5% of total Champagne production and are produced about three times in a decade. Champagne is typically made as a blend of multiple years in order to preserve the house style; these will have non-vintage, or simply, NV on the label. The term, "vintage," as it applies to all wine, simply means a single harvest year.