x
  • Country ranking ?

    944
  • Producer ranking ?

    21
  • Decanting time

    5min
  • When to drink

    now to 2030
  • Food Pairing

    Garden pea & cucumber and mint gazpacho

The Story

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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Vintage 1982

Louis Roederer II, his son, receives the credit for developing Cristal. The Russian Tsar was absolutely taken with Roederer champagne: in 1873, some 666,386 bottles, which amounted to approximately 27% of its entire production, were delivered to the court of Alexander II. In order to formalise Roederer’s status as official purveyor to the Imperial Court of Russia, Alexander II commissioned Louis Roederer to produce a very sweet, prestige blend packaged in a real crystal glass bottle. Roederer’s Martine Charlotte Lorson told us:”The first luxury cuvée was born. From the very beginning, the bottle was clear and flat-bottomed. We later patented the bottle’s design. We have tried to change from the flat-bottomed bottle, but we can’t. Because of and thanks to the patent, Cristal’s label and appearance have stayed the same since 1928!”

 


And how fortunate that is, because, at least in our opinion, it is quite possibly the most beautiful wine bottle in the world, especially when wrapped in its trademark amber cellophane. Chef de Cave Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon explained the practicalities:
”We started using cellophane in the late 1970s, and there were still bottles with and without cellophane available in the early 1980s. Champagne is a light-sensitive product, so even though the cellophane is beautiful, it also plays a key role in protecting the Cristal from ultraviolet radiation. The amber cellophane also makes the bottle instantly recognisable, thus serving as a brand-building tool.”
The story of Cristal’s genuine crystal bottle is well-known. This is why we were surprised to discover that there is not one true crystal bottle in existence or even a photograph of one.
”Unfortunately, that’s true”, says Lorson, and continues: ”We’ve been searching high and low without any luck. But then again, Cristal was only packaged in crystal bottles for one or two years. The bottle was too weak to withstand the pressure and, because the Tsar’s champagne was so sweet, there was some post-fermentation, and the resulting losses were too much even for the extravagant Tsar.”

 



The 1970s were a turning point of sorts for Roederer and Cristal. Camille Olry-Roederer’s grandson Jean-Claude Rouzaud joined the house and gradually took the helm. It was a rough start, as TCA, a chemical compound that causes cork taint, infested the Roederer cellars. The young man faced an enormous undertaking. A huge volume of wine had to be taken off the market and disposed of, and the entire production facility had to be sterilised and rebuilt.
This is also the period of Cristal’s emerging popularity, when Roederer worked with an American importer to make Cristal the world’s most in-demand champagne. A key detail of this plan was to double the price. When Rouzaud was named Decanter Man of the Year in 2001, he said in an interview that one of the most significant things he had done at Roederer was to decrease the production of Cristal from one third to under a fifth of Roederer’s overall production. High price and low availability - alongside uncompromised quality - have made Cristal the most coveted champagne in the world.

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Average Bottle Price

2016 2015 2012 2010 2005 2000
706€ +11.7% 632€ +7.1% 590€ +21.1% 487€ +89.5% 257€ +129.5% 112€

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, Straw and Bright

ending

Long, Flavorful and Lingering

flavors

Bread, Apricot, Meaty, Mineral, Caramel and Chocolate

nose

Complex, Seductive, Generous and Intense

taste

High in Acidity, Perfectly balanced, Well-Integrated, Multi-dimensional, Developing, Medium-bodied, Vigor, Refined and Dry

Verdict

Intelligent and Impressive

Written Notes

aturday night couldn’t come soon enough, this time at Restaurant Daniel.  We started off swiftly with a fight of old Cristal.  The 1982 Louis Roederer Cristal had a butterscotch and wheaty nose, a bit sandy with some nice zip to it.  Its palate was honeyed, long and still fresh.  Dave admired its ‘tertiary’ flavors (95+). 

  • 95p
One of this vintage's really top wines. Luxuriously scented and creamy rich. Slightly high dosage, but devastatingly good with its overflow of vanilla, almonds, honey, white chocolate, and citrus aromas when mature. One of the most brightly shining stars in the Cristal heavens at present. A half-notch from the 97 at this stage.
  • 96p
Jean–Baptiste Lecaillon described 1982 as, “One of the dream vintages of the last 30 years, especially coming after the catastrophic 1980.” As with Bordeaux of the same year, 1982 was a Champagne vintage that combined high yields and good quality. The varietal composition is 65% Pinot and 35% Chardonnay. Disgorged in 1987, and then aged, reckoned Lecaillon, as it would be in a typical cellar. This vintage of Cristal was made in an oxidative style (23% oak fermentation). A gentle bead is still apparent, though doubtless helped by the etched Riedel glass from which all the wines were tasted. The vinous, oxidative nose suggests brioche. Richly flavoured but not as concentrated as some of the more recent vintages. This is a good Champagne, with plenty of length, but not as fine as Cristal should – or can ¬– be.
  • 90p

Information

Origin

Reims, Champagne

Vintage Quality

Excellent

Value For Money

Very good

Investment potential

Below Average

Fake factory

None

Glass time

30min

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

Inside Information

I was completely blown away by the 1982 Cristal. This towering, monumental wine possesses incredibly vibrancy and delineation in its white truffles, honey and hazelnuts. This bottle shows some of the tertiary notes found in the 1979 but married to an intense expression of ripe fruit. While the 1979 is fully resolved the 1982 has another decade-plus of fine drinking ahead of it. The 1982 is 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. 20% of the wine was aged in oak. This bottle is an original disgorgement from 1987 or 1988 and received 12 grams of dosage. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2019.
In the Cellar 
Mar 2009
Antonio Galloni 98 Drink: 2009 - 2019 $737-$825
Read more

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users. or to see wine moments from your world.

95p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Cristal 1982  ( Louis Roederer )

aturday night couldn’t come soon enough, this time at Restaurant Daniel.  We started off swiftly with a fight of old Cristal.  The 1982 Louis Roederer Cristal had a butterscotch and wheaty nose, a bit sandy with some nice zip to it.  Its palate was honeyed, long and still fresh.  Dave admired its ‘tertiary’ flavors (95+). 

28d 3h ago

96p
 Richard Juhlin / The number One champagne expert in the world, Pro (Sweden)  tasted  Cristal 1982  ( Louis Roederer )

"One of this vintage's really top wines. Luxuriously scented and creamy rich. Slightly high dosage, but devastatingly good with its overflow of vanilla, almonds, honey, white chocolate, and citrus aromas when mature. One of the most brightly shining stars in the Cristal heavens at present. A half-notch from the 97 at this stage."

1y 5m ago

95p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Cristal 1982  ( Louis Roederer )

" The 1982 Cristal was stellar, as it should be. Its nose was fu ll of vitamins and yellow fruits, still wound but also round and rich. Citrus, butter and spice flavors were all there and harmonious in this rock-solid bottle of Cris (95)"

1y 7m ago

90p
 Stuart George, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  Cristal 1982  ( Louis Roederer )

"Jean–Baptiste Lecaillon described 1982 as, “One of the dream vintages of the last 30 years, especially coming after the catastrophic 1980.” As with Bordeaux of the same year, 1982 was a Champagne vintage that combined high yields and good quality. The varietal composition is 65% Pinot and 35% Chardonnay. Disgorged in 1987, and then aged, reckoned Lecaillon, as it would be in a typical cellar. This vintage of Cristal was made in an oxidative style (23% oak fermentation). A gentle bead is still apparent, though doubtless helped by the etched Riedel glass from which all the wines were tasted. The vinous, oxidative nose suggests brioche. Richly flavoured but not as concentrated as some of the more recent vintages. This is a good Champagne, with plenty of length, but not as fine as Cristal should – or can ¬– be."

2y 5m ago

94p
 Juha Lihtonen, Sommelier (Finland)  tasted  Cristal 1982  ( Louis Roederer )

"What an energetic and poetic champagne. Rich in flavours, beautifully evolving in the glass, great depth and persistency. "

3y 11m ago

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