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  • Country ranking ?

    1 494
  • Producer ranking ?

    32
  • Decanting time

    15min
  • When to drink

    now to 2025
  • Food Pairing

    enjoy without food

The Story

In 1876 when Tsar Alexander II requested that a special cuvée be created for his court Roederer duly obliged, creating what many regard to be the first prestige cuvée. 

 

As the political situation in Russia was somewhat unstable, Tsar Alexander feared assassination. He ordered that Champagne bottles be made of clear glass, so that he could see the bubbles and to prevent anyone from hiding a bomb within, as could easily happen with a typical dark green bottle. Roederer commissioned a Flemish glassmaker to create clear lead crystal Champagne bottles with a flat bottom. 

Originally a sweet blend, the Champagne was named “Cristal” after these distinctive clear lead crystal glass bottles.

 

In 1909, the House of Louis Roederer was regarded as the “Official Purveyor of Champagne to the Imperial Court of Russia” – a business coup that was later reversed following the deposition of the Tsar during the 1917 Revolution. Prohibition in the US caused additional financial difficulties during the early 20th century. However, the house survived these setbacks and today Louis Roederer remains an independent, family-owned business, managed by Roederer’s descendant, Frédéric Rouzaud.

 

The composition of Cristal is approximately 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay. The grapes used in the wine come from only the finest vineyards in Grand Cru villages. Lecaillon talks about the crucial role that vineyards play in quality:
“A majority of our most recent development has been in vineyard operations. We have strict limits set for crop yields and we're using vines that are 25 years old on average. We evaluate the grapes coming from our own vineyards very critically. We try to improve the vineyards that aren't performing well and keep the ones that are at the highest level of quality.

 

The grapes from our own vineyards produce wines with an alcohol content that’s an average of 1% higher than those produced with purchased grapes. There’s less tart malic acid in our own grapes. Even though we strive for the highest possible acidity, it’s absolutely necessary that this is accompanied by a ripe fruitiness. We belong to the five-percent minority of Champagne's producers who do not use malolactic fermentation to reduce wine acidity. The range of aromas is accentuated by the high-acid structure, much in the same way a salad dressing brings out the aromas in the food.
“And we stopped using cloned vines - we're only using the vine offspring from our own vineyards to ensure natural diversity. In the 1950s, -60s and -70s cloning was far too simple a solution for such a complex thing." Chef de Cave Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon explained

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Average Bottle Price

2015 2012 2010 2005 2000
1 243€ +39.7% 890€ +2.7% 867€ +74.1% 498€ +318.5% 119€

This data comes from the FINE Auction Index, a composite of average prices for wines sold at commercial auctions in 20 countries. The average prices from each year have been collected since 1990. This chart plots the index value of the average price of the wines.

Latest Pro-tasting notes

17 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Medium, Gold and Bright

ending

Medium and Flat

flavors

Mushrooms, Earthy, Mineral and Nutty

nose

Mature

taste

Low in Acidity, Mature, Modest, Round and Dry

Verdict

Full-bodied and Intelligent

Written Notes

The 1976 Louis Roederer Cristal was more nutty and a little yeasty.  Many thought this was the freshest bottle of the three, but I found it the least interesting (92).

  • 92p
One of the most perfect Cristals I've ever experienced. It sums up everything the firm stands for in such a magically concentrated and buttery drink. The fruit is incredibly rich and the freshness is outstanding. This wine is wonderful and easily understood.
  • 97p

Information

Origin

Reims, Champagne

Vintage Quality

Outstanding

Value For Money

Very good

Investment potential

Good

Fake factory

Be Cautious

Other wines from this producer

Blanc de Blancs

Brut Nature

Brut Premier

Carte Blanche Demi-Sec

Carte Blanche Sec

Cristal Rosé

Cristal Rosé Vinothèque

Cristal Vinothèque

Vintage

Vintage Blanc de Blancs

Vintage Rosé

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