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    LOBSTER WITH CITRUS INFUSION

Wine & Spirits - Joshua Greene - December 2007

94 Points One of 100 Best Wine "The first impression is supple, with floral scents of jasmine to contrast darker tones of red fruit and wood. It's immediately apparent how fresh this is for a '99, an attribute that only grows more striking with air as the tensions turns toward richer nut tones and bright raspberry-strawberry flavor, savory rather than sweet. The balance of the wine captures all those elements in a dynamic finish that lasts for minutes, then lasts in memory. This is young and will continue to improve over the next decade."

Robb Report - Anthony Dias Blue - June 2007

Best of the Best "Roederer Cristal Rosé is always exquisite and complex, and the current, 1999 vintage, is long, resonant, and fresh....The extra effort [of skin maceration] pays off in seamless balance and harmony. Pure and elegant on the palate, the Cristal Rosé shows mingled notes of cherry, raspberry, and strawberry with remarkable length and finesse."

Wine & Spirits - December 2006

96 Points "Classical Champagne, this is predominantly pinot noir from old vines in Cumieres, creating a wine that focuses its flavors high in the mouth. It feels sleek and lively and lasts for minutes. The floral scents of strawberry and brisk taste of toasted lees provide a transparent flavor tha magnifies the minerality of the wine. The perfect form makes it lovely to drink on its own, or with slices of sashimi."

International Wine Cellar - Stephen Tanzer -

94 Points "Dark pink. Rich and complex on the nose, showing an array of red berries, cherry pit, fuitcake and pungent rose scents. Fresh, strikingly pure and spicy, with vibrant cherry and raspberry flavors deepened by notes of floral honey and nutmeg. This has real size and a rich, chewy texture but it's also impressively balanced, with equal parts finesse and power. Finishes with an exotic spicy note and superb length."

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The Story

Cristal Rosé was first born a hundred years after the original Cristal, in 1974. It is an intriguing and particular prestige cuvée rosé, as it has the palest colour, yet a contrastingly fleshy, fruity, well-built palate of amazing freshness. Its secret is in the 60 per cent Pinot Noir from two hectares of Roederer’s own old-vine vineyards in Aÿ, Bonotte-Pierre-Robert and La Côte du Moulin, which are now cultivated according to biodynamic principles. It is these ripe, concentrated grapes that give the wine its delicate hue via the saignée, or bleeding method. Then 30 per cent of Côte des Blancs Grand Cru Chardonnay from Le Mesnil sur Oger and Avize is added to give spine and elegance.

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Vintage 1999

In 1876, a Roederer champagne made for Russia’s Tsar Alexander II became the world’s first luxury cuvée. But with the sudden collapse of the Russian market, the champagne house endured a long struggle on the verge of bankruptcy. Eventually, the family’s shrewd patriarchs managed to turn things around, and today, Roederer is the most solvent of Champagne’s houses; indeed, its future looks Cristal clear.
Roederer is one of the few top champagne houses to remain family-owned. Although the house’s history actually begins in 1776, the company was not called Roederer until 1833, when Louis Roederer inherited the business from his uncle. It was Louis Roederer himself who increased the house’s production volume to its present level, 2.5 million bottles a year. He laid the foundation for exports and, particularly in Russia, enjoyed great success.
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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Tasting note

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Written Notes

This is a wine that seems to be incapable of failing! Probably the most eminent wine of this vintage. Not in any way great or forward, no no, rather an unobtrusive scent of spring, yet with such aristocratic deportment that all the subtleties become conspicuously distinct and discernible. The streak of wild strawberry, the white chocolate, the exotic pink scent of orchids, that magical, whirling pearl necklace mousse and the long strawberry toffee finish all taken together make it possible for one just to lean back and enjoy one of the most seductive wines on this earth.

  • 95p

Information

Origin

Reims, Champagne

Vintage Quality

Above Average

Value For Money

Good

Investment potential

Below Average

Fake factory

None

Other wines from this producer

Blanc de Blancs

Brut Nature

Brut Premier

Carte Blanche Demi-Sec

Carte Blanche Sec

Cristal

Cristal Rosé Vinothèque

Cristal Vinothèque

Vintage

Vintage Blanc de Blancs

Vintage Rosé

Highlights

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95p
 Richard Juhlin / The number One champagne expert in the world, Pro (Sweden)  tasted  Cristal Rosé 1999  ( Louis Roederer )

This is a wine that seems to be incapable of failing! Probably the most eminent wine of this vintage. Not in any way great or forward, no no, rather an unobtrusive scent of spring, yet with such aristocratic deportment that all the subtleties become conspicuously distinct and discernible. The streak of wild strawberry, the white chocolate, the exotic pink scent of orchids, that magical, whirling pearl necklace mousse and the long strawberry toffee finish all taken together make it possible for one just to lean back and enjoy one of the most seductive wines on this earth.

8m 7d ago

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