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News

CRISTAL LAUNCHES VINOTHÈQUE

The release covers the 1995 brut and rosé, which were disgorged just over 10 years ago but then kept back in Roederer’s cellars to age.

Just 400 bottles of the brut and 200 bottles of the rosé have been released meaning global allocations are extremely tight. In the UK Richard Billett, managing director of the Roederer Group’s distribution arm in the UK, Maisons Marques & Domaines, told db he expected just 48 bottles of the brut and 12-18 bottles of the rosé to be made available.

The bottles (no larger formats have been released – this time) have initially been offered to the premium off-trade and high-end on-trade.

The wines were introduced by the house at a ‘surrealist spectacular’, held at Roederer’s Reims headquarters in early October to celebrate its 241st anniversary.

Although Roederer’s executive vice-president, Michel Janneau, conceded that the amount of wine released was “infinitesimally small”, he added, “fear not – it is not without sequel; other vintages will follow this.”

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History

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.

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Vineyards

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

 

Our vineyards have a pronounced northern character and the estate’s land is the source of our quality wines. All our parcels—the estate, which originally comprised 100 hectares acquired in 1850, now extends over 240 hectares—were carefully chosen and acquired in the best terroirs of Champagne, in the Grands and Premiers Crus of the Montagne de Reims, the Côte des Blancs, and the Vallée de la Marne. The men and women of Louis Roederer have a profound attachment to the vineyards—this is what distinguishes our House from all the others. All the wine growers are perfectly acquainted with their parcels and even each vine, which they tend year after year. This creates a unique link between the vines and the men and women who devote all their time and energy to them.

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Winemaking

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.

 

Winemaking

 

The wines need to be blended to create the Louis Roederer champagnes: the unique blends are the fruit of the intuition and talent of a team of women and men led and guided by the Cellar Master, who guarantees the integrity of the House’s style. The diverse sensibilities and different talents are the key to Louis Roederer’s uniqueness. With an extraordinary palette of wines at their disposal, the Cellar Master and the oenologists create their wines—the cuvées—, which are bottled when they have attained a perfect equilibrium. They then undergo a new phase of fermentation for 3 to 6 weeks…

 

The magical process continues in the quiet dark cellars, where the compositions of the oenologists are finally transformed into champagnes. Louis Roederer’s team has worked hard to bring the wine to this point—now time is the key factor. The only intervention required on the bottles is daily riddling, a process that ensures that any suspended deposits settle in the bottlenecks. The deposits are then removed, leaving a perfectly clear and luminous champagne that only requires the final touch: the champagne will only be complete after adding the liqueur d’expédition, which distinguishes the House’s unique style. The wine is ‘the fruit of the input of everyone involved in its creation’, and each of our champagnes perpetuates the traditions of the House, its quest for perfection, and its spirit of innovation and experimentation; this paves the way for future heirs to ‘do even better’ than their predecessors…

 

Today’s masterpieces are setting ever higher standards
for tomorrow’s wines— Louis Roederer’s quest for perfection

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13 different wines with 191 vintages

Winemaking since 1776

  • Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon

    Cellar Master
    A wine of pure pleasure and a sophisticated gastronomic wine, Cristal is both powerful and delicate, combining subtlety and precision. A wine of pure pleasure and a sophisticated gastronomic wine, Cristal is both powerful and delicate, combining subtlety and precision.

Highlights

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Wine Moments

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

 Michael Scott / Wine Importer, Pro (Canada)  tasted  1 wines  from  Louis Roederer . In a tasting of  9 wines 

Henriot Millésime 2008 / Golden yellow hue with clear, bright tints. Elegant, dynamic and softly integrated effervescence. The nose is initially subtle and quite restrained. It gradually opens up to reveal a bouquet of orchard fruits such as apples and pears, and evolves towards slightly sweet floral and honeyed notes, before giving way to concentrated citrus aromas and zesty redcurrant fruit. The attack is rich, concentrated, broad, deep and fruity.

5d 15h ago

 Tuula Hällström, Pro (Finland)  tasted  2 wines  from  Louis Roederer . In a tasting of  6 wines 

Cristal 2013 / Vibrant and mouthwatering, this offers a range of patisserie pear and apple fruit, candied lemon zest, pastry dough and marzipan notes set on a finely detailed texture, which imparts a great deal of finesse. The lasting finish echoes a smoky mineral note. 97p

10d 18h ago

 Essi Avellan MW , Wine Writer (Finland)  tasted  3 wines  from  Louis Roederer . In a tasting of  8 wines 

Every Dom Pérignon vintage is built to eventually become a Plénitude 2 and Plénitude 3 and so is the P2 2003! It was such a challenging and unprecedentedly hot year. Yet there is nothing heavy in Dom Pérignon of the year. The nose is stunningly toasty with sweet, vanilla laden fruit, hay, juniper, cookie dough and cream. On the palate it is exuberant, round and textured with a notion of firming phenolics of a hot year on the back palate. The time on lees seems to have created some extra roundness and delicious sweetness to the fruit. Finely bubbling energetic palate finishing on a pure mineral freshness.”

26d 17h ago

 Andre Brattland, Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Louis Roederer . In a tasting of  29 wines 

Some of the best wines tasted 2019-2021

1m 16d ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Louis Roederer . In a tasting of  15 wines 

2014 Mastroberardino Taurasi Riserva Radici /Ruby. Cherries, anise, liquorice, dark fruits, some spices, exotic spices, cinnamon and light tobacco note nose. Faintly floral. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, juicy with texture, anise, fruit driven, fuller bodied than last bottle I had of this, lovely balance, drinking very well now, long finish. My best bottle to fate of this. Just starting development. Piero Mastroberardino himself suggest up to 60 years storage and compares it with the fresh 1968 vintage. 13,5% alcohol. 92

2m 8d ago

 Louis Roederer  has updated producer and wine information

2m 21d ago

 Antonio Galloni, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  5 wines  from  Louis Roederer . In a tasting of  19 wines 

The 2012 Cristal is another absolutely stellar wine this flight of recent releases. Rich, vinous and beautifully textured, the 2012 has been nothing short of magnificent on the three occasions I have tasted it so far. In the glass, the 2012 is radiant and luscious, yet it possesses remarkable transparency and striking aromatic depth. Light tropical notes develop in the glass, giving the 2012 a real feeling of exotic beauty. The 2012 is the first vintage of Cristal done with 100% organically-farmed fruit, an approach introduced gradually starting with the 2007 that has profoundly changes Cristal, especially in its aromatic breadth. Two thousand twelve is the vintage where endless trials and experiments in farming and winemaking are fully realized. The 2012 is just stunning. It’s as simple as that. Dosage is just over 7 grams per liter, the lowest it has even been for Cristal.

2m 22d ago

 Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Wine Writer (South Korea)  tasted  1 wines  from  Louis Roederer . In a tasting of  26 wines 

Château Mouton Rothschild 2016 / Gorgeous, subtle, layered Mouton with delicate and detailed flavors that linger on the palate for a long time. The density of the tannins combine with wonderful freshness and layers of flavors that range from dark berries, savory spices to cedar and earth. A glorious Mouton that has stature and concentration without any heaviness. The blend is 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 1% Cab Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. The latter two varieties were co-fermented.


99 points

3m 5d ago

 Antonio Galloni, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Louis Roederer . In a tasting of  26 wines 

The NV Brut Grande Cuvée Grand Siècle No. 24 (Magnum) is ethereal and beautifully lifted. White flowers, mint, white pepper and green orchard fruit all grace this exquisite, super-expressive Champagne. I would cellar the No. 24, as it is pretty tight today and also not ready to deliver the full Grand Siècle experience. The blend is 2007 (60%), 2006 (20%) and 2004 (20%), three vintages that are especially complementary. Disgorged May 27, 2019. 

4m 22d ago

 Richard Juhlin , Wine Writer (Sweden)  tasted  1 wines  from  Louis Roederer . In a tasting of  20 wines 

Salon Oenothèque 1961 / 99 points / If I was close to crying in disappointment over the 66' on the Tidelius tasting, the tears really came in the next flight when this bottle disgorged at the same time and with exactly the same low dosage was so lovely that the emotions overflowed. In fact, this wonderfully youthful champagne is the bottle that most reminded me of the world's best wine 1928 Pol Roger Grauves. Here was the same unlikely contrast between youthfulness and nicely mature notes. The scent is so unreal with its euphoric pheromone-like perfume uplifted by linden, geranium, lily of the valley, acacia, ginger, fresh tarragon, mint, lime peel and Sorrento lemon. Glass-clear brilliance and laser-sharp sharpness and precision. Caressing with faint undertones of vanilla, brioche and roasting. Pure flint mineral finesse and swirling little pearl necklace bubbles that dance ballet in the palate. What is missing in relation to 28' Grauves is a well thickened oiliness that may come in twenty years or so. Imagine that a 51-year-old can personify snowmelt, spring winter and the rebirth of life.

5m 6d ago

 Louis Roederer  has updated producer and wine information

6m 3d ago

 Achim Becker / Wineterminator.com, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Louis Roederer . In a tasting of  18 wines 

"Last Call"-tasting with wines like Lafite and Latour 1982, Krug 2004 and 1982, Monte Bello 1974 and 1984 etc...

6m 8d ago

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