The Wine Advocate - Antonio Galloni - January 23, 2009
96 Points "Roederer’s 1996 Cristal is gorgeous. The expressive, floral bouquet melds seamlessly into an expansive palate of sweet fruit. This is an exceptionally polished and finessed Cristal, but like so many vintages, it needs time in bottle, regardless of how rewarding it is today. Even after all of these great 1996s, the Cristal delivers the goods."
The Wine Advocate - Antonio Galloni - January 2009
96 Points "The estate’s 1996 Cristal, from a legendary vintage, does not disappoint. ...The 1996 is an insanely beautiful Cristal loaded with floral, perfumed fruit and vibrant minerality. The wine turns delicate in the glass, yet this is a sublime, fresh Cristal that is in need of further cellaring."
Wine Review Online - Ed McCarthy - August 2005
99 Points "Champagne doesn't get much better than Cristal; in the great vintages, it has no peer. Louis Roederer has been making Cristal as a dry prestige cuvée only since the end of World War II, but since then, this house has made some of the world's greatest Champagnes... The '96 Cristal stood out like a beacon at a recent Champagne luncheon of prestige cuvees. Its intense, honeyed flavors penetrate the palate and are backed with piercing acidity."
Wine Spectator - B.S. - November 2003
94 Points "A paradox. This has weight yet a sensation of weightlessness thanks to its seamless texture and harmony. Still firm and forceful yet elegant, offering citrus, pastry, biscuit and hazelnut notes enmeshed in the creamy texture. Great structure for aging. Drink now through 2015."
The Wine Advocate - Robert Parker - December 2002
International Wine Cellar - Stephen Tanzer - December 2002
94+ Points "Multidimensional nose offers baked apple, orange oil, acacia honey, white chocolate, toffee and earthy low tones. Expansive, super concentrated and powerful but not aggressive, with wonderfully sweet flavors of orange, flowers and honey supported by strong underlying structure. An amazingly solid Champagne with the stuffing for extended development in bottle."
Wine Enthusiast - W.E. - December 2002
92 Points "Fresh brioche and roasted honey aromas are as rich and intense as the apple and anise flavors. The mouthfeel is creamy yet crisp and vibrant."
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
In 1876, Tsar Alexander II was already a great fan of Louis Roederer’s champagne and he asked
Louis Roederer to «go one step further» and produce, for his own personal consumption,a unique wine in quality and bottle. Louis Roederer off ered to create an exceptional white crystal bottle to house the best selection from the 7 finest vineyards of his estate.
Cristal was only produced in the “great” years when the ripeness of the Chardonnay and Pinot noir enabled a subtle, precise balance. Cristal is the region’s most prestigious Champagne.