x
  • Country ranking ?

    551
  • Producer ranking ?

    31
  • Decanting time

    10 min
  • When to drink

    now to 2025
  • Food Pairing

    Chicken Caesar Salad

The Tb points given to this wine are the world’s most valid and most up-to-date evaluation of the quality of the wine. Tastingbook points are formed by the Tastingbook algorithm which takes into account the wine ratings of the world's best-known professional wine critics, wine ratings by thousands of tastingbook’s professionals and users, the generally recognised vintage quality and reputation of the vineyard and winery. Wine needs at least five professional ratings to get the Tb score. Tastingbook.com is the world's largest wine information service which is an unbiased, non-commercial and free for everyone.

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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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Vintage 1979

A piercingly cold winter delayed the start of the growing season and was followed by a decidedly cool spring with some frosts in May. As a result, growth was subdued but initial flowering was good. The weather improved in June and July with nice sunshine and gentle heat creating excellent conditions for ripening. Despite rainfall during harvest, sugar and acidity levels remained high and disease pressure didn't mount too much of an assault, producing Champagnes of impressive character and length. On top of quality, great quantity was also achieved, with an average crop of 11,061 kg/ha being picked between October 3rd and 31st. The Chardonnays were particularly successful and high-yielding. Krug Clos du Mesnil is sheer perfection, going from strength to strength over the years. There are plenty of great Champagnes still in outstanding form. They include Krug Vintage, Louis Roederer Cristal, as well as Lanson Vintage Collection and Noble Cuvée.

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Average Bottle Price

2016 2015 2014 2012 2010 2005 2000
1 098€ +18.2% 929€ -5.6% 984€ -4.7% 1 032€ +49.8% 689€ +183.5% 243€ +117.0% 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

45 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Light, Gold and Bright

ending

Long, Gentle and Round

flavors

Vanilla, Bread, Waxy, Toasty, Smoky and Mineral

nose

Intense, Complex, Seductive and Generous

taste

Average in Acidity, High alcohol content, Perfectly balanced, Well-Integrated, Good texture, Developing, Medium-bodied, Ripe, Elegant, Round and Dry

Written Notes

Deep golden colour, steady slow flow of bubbles. Strong toasty and mushroomy fruity and round nose. Excellent tight-knitted structure. All elements in harmony, linear acidity bringing a great freshness and youthfulness to the wine. Beautiful wine that is drinking well today. Due to harmonious nature can be kept for 10 more years.

  • 97p

The 1979 Louis Roederer Cristal was drier and longer with even more zip.  While long, it was less sweet and flamboyant than the 1982, although Miss Congeniality loved ‘the sugary sweetness of ’79.’  This was dustier on the palate, with flavors of orange rind and game (95).

  • 95p
For a long time this wine was undeveloped and young. At the age of twenty-two years, however, all its bits and pieces are in the right places. The nose is wonderful, with its elegance and peachy intensity. Now there are also delicious notes of roasted lobster shell and black truffles. The taste is superb, with an incredibly rich, exotic fruitiness. The height of elegance together with nutty, smoky complex maturity.
  • 97p

The vegetative cycle began late, but the early growth of the Chardonnays and pinots was excellent. Grape-worms and Brenner disease affected certain areas of the vineyard. The Chardonnays flowered rapidly, allowing them to ripen under good conditions, and leading to a particularly abundant, unusually late harvest (October 3). The grapes were quite healthy compared with the small harvest of 1978, so spirits were high.
Harvest: Baumé 9°4 GL – Total acidity 8.8 g/l H2SO4 – S/A 18
Chardonnay: Baumé 9°5 GL – Total acidity 8.7 g/l H2SO4
Yield: 10,339 kg/ha
Assemblage: 100% Chardonnay Grand Cru, exclusively from the Côte des Blancs and the Montagne de Reims. A bottle from outside the house so they don't know the disgorgement date.
Dark brassy colour. A little old and oxidised on the nose. But then it turned into something like a lovely Chenin Blanc with its honey and flowers. It has kept remarkably well. Sweet, polished walnut nose and then more like a liqueur almost than a champagne. Certainly quite sweet. Then refreshingly dry on the end. Quite a sweet and sour puzzle. Mushroomy but by no means unpleasant!

  • 95p
Only 1972 Cristal was not made in the 1970s, which was a good decade for quality Champagne. Cristal 1979 is a blend of 64% Pinot Noir and 36% Chardonnay, with 10% oak fermented, and was harvested in early October rather than the usual mid–September. This magnum was disgorged in 1984. Still plenty of fizz in the glass, which bodes well until the first sniff…A grubby, unpleasant nose that continues in the mouth. Another bottle was much nicer – honeyed, still crisp, and a very pleasant Cristal.
  • 85p
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Information

Origin

Reims, Champagne

Vintage Quality

Outstanding

Value For Money

Very good

Investment potential

Good

Fake factory

None

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Cristal Vinothèque

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Vintage

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