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  • Country ranking ?

    433
  • Producer ranking ?

    13
  • Decanting time

    10min
  • When to drink

    now to 2025
  • Food Pairing

    Scrambled egg appetiser with a hint of truffle

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 50 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 Wine Advocate - Antonio Galloni - January 2009

97 Points "The 1990 Cristal is a dramatic, sweeping wine endowed with masses of apricots, peaches, flowers and minerals. A large-scaled Cristal, the 1990 combines size with clarity and focus in a remarkably complete style that recalls the 1982. The wine remains generous on the palate, with stunning length and a finish that lasts forever."

 

The Wine Advocate - Robert Parker - August 2008

96 Points "From magnum, the Louis Roederer 1990 Cristal is still a youngster. Gorgeous brioche, orange rind, and citrus notes are offered in a full-bodied, unbelievably pure style that could have been 5-6 years old rather than 18. It is always remarkable how well great Champagne can age."

 

Decanter - August 2005

5 Stars "Lavender honey nose with great nuttiness. A sublime balance of fruit, richness and acidity awe-inspiring. Occasionally methuselahs appear at auction."

 

Wine Spectator - December 15, 1998

94 Points "You won't soon forget this vivid and expressive Champagne. It packs in compound layers of citrus, vanilla, pear and nutmeg that harmonize and linger on the finish. Bright acidity makes it extra refreshing and layered. It has really opened up since last year. Best from 2000 through 2010. Tasted twice, with consistent notes."

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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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Wine Information

Founded in 1776 in Reims, Louis Roederer is one of the most prestigious and admired Champagnes. In the mid-19th century the Russian Czar Alexander II was such a fan of Roederer that he ordered a special cuvee for his court and Louis Roederer was later designated by the Russian ruling family as the official Champagne supplier to the Imperial Court. Today the estate is owned and operated by the Rouzaud family, making it one of the few historic Champagne estates that remain entirely independent. The estate makes a number of Champagnes, from a non-vintage Brut to its justly famous Cristal Rose Millesime and Cristal Millesime. There are 506 acres of vines planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Louis Roederer is known for its relatively high percentage of Chardonnay, usually at least 40%. Vines are on average 25 years old and there is a total annual production of some 2.7 million bottles. Of the total some 500,000 are Cristal Millesime and 20,000 are Cristal Rose Millesime.

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Vintage 1990

After a particularly rapid spurt in vegetation growth, the Champagne region is hit hard by spring frosts in April. Blossoming is therefore difficult in the cold and rainy conditions. Blossom drop and uneven grape development are only compensated by the large number of bunches and the wide branches. A heat wave summer then sets in and remains until the generous downpours in the days leading up to the harvest, (on 11 September). The musts boast an exceptional composition and homogenous quality; throughout the Champagne region.

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Average Bottle Price

2016 2015 2012 2010 2005 2000
522€ +7.2% 487€ +19.1% 409€ +5.1% 389€ +30.1% 299€ +115.1% 139€

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

33 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Light and Straw

ending

Long, Round and Spicy

flavors

Mineral, Floral, Waxy, Toasty, Apricot and Truffles

nose

Youthful, Fresh, Generous and Refined

recommend

Yes

taste

Average in Acidity, Low alcohol content, Complex, Balanced, Good texture, Youthful, Medium-bodied, Fresh, Ripe, Harmonious and Dry

Verdict

Well-rounded and Fine

Written Notes

The very warm March quickened the blooming and due to this the area suffered from some spring freezes. Irregular pollenization and incomplete fruit development were problems. Good weather with intense heat and precipitation at the right moments assured an exceptional maturation. Alcohol and acidity levels were exceptional, yields substantial. A top vintage by any measure! This vintage was very successful at Cristal too producing wine with great ageing potential but an instant charm.
                                 Deep developing light yellow colour. Classic nose with refreshing floral aromas combined with ripe apple fruit. Very fresh and crisp palate with youthful character. Delicate creaminess softens the racy acidity. Very long mineral finish. Truly classic wine with great potential.

  • 96p
A classic Cristal that is sometimes more open and a bit fatter than the '89, but is mostly a bitingly acidity, unreleased wine. There is the same delightful aromatic spectrum, with Roederer's typical toffee tone and rich but varied fruit. Big bottle variation probably due to the partial avoidance of malolactic fermentation. Absolutely wonderful lately.
  • 95p
The most important details to work out were what to drink, and the wine list at Veritas is always a good place to begin. Both being the Champagne lovers that we are, 1990 Cristal was the aperitif of choice. I have been drinking a lot of Cristal recently, which is always a sign of a good holiday season. The 1990 was gorgeous, although a touch sweet. It had lots of yellow fruits, golden raisins and a spoonful of sugar that was right on the border of acceptable but didn’t cross it. An overall toasty and nutty personality encased this tasty and hedonistic bubbly, which still retained the hallmark Cristal elegance. Rich, warm, approachable yet still fresh and ascending, I found this to be another excellent Cristal but felt more impressed by recent ‘89s and ‘96s
  • 95p

The 1990 Cristal is remarkable. Polished, nuanced and light on its feet, the 1990 is all class. Citrus, orchard fruit and floral notes are wonderfully lifted throughout. A slight reductive note adds character on the finely knit finish. I can’t think of a better way to start this tasting. Simply put, the 1990 is a total rock star. Moreover, it is much more delicate than most wines from this ripe vintage. Amazingly, the 1990 tastes like it is still not ready! “Nineteen ninety was my second vintage here,” says Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon. “It was ideal. The fruit was just perfect. We blocked the malolactic fermentation completely and only fermented 6-7% of our lots in oak, as opposed to the more typical 20%, in order to preserve as much freshness as possible. The wine was made by my predecessor, Michel Pansu, but I was learning. This was the first year I started working with oxygen by reducing sulfites in vinification to pre-oxidize the Chardonnay musts, as I do know, which allows me to get rid of all the unstable, oxidative compounds. With Pinot, on the other hand, you need a little bit of sulfur at crush or you lose the brilliant fruit.

  • 97p
Cristal 1990 - 96 points “A blend of freshness and maturity” for the 1990 and 1988 pairing. 1990 was, “a very easy vintage,” said Lecaillon. Made from 63% Pinot and 37% Chardonnay, with 3% oak fermentation “to ensure the house style.” Only 11.2% alcohol, with no chaptalisation. This example was disgorged in June 2006 after extended lees ageing. A conspicuously faster and stronger bead than 1996, 1999, or 1988. The nose isn’t quite there at the moment – it’s still fresh but not yet complex. Much fresher and younger than the 1988, though. The palate is developing its structure beautifully – round, balanced and lovely. A streak of acidity on the finish suggests that this needs even longer to show its best. Fine and balanced, if not as long as some of the other wines. After an hour in the glass, the nose was becoming spicy, but remained relatively unfocused. This Cristal vintage was used for the Millennium Cuvée wine that was bottled into Jéroboams. Mark Bingley claimed to have personally drunk two of these big bottles, though, he quickly reassured us, not by himself. The Jéroboams received a slightly higher dosage than the standard 9-10g/ltr for 75cl bottles. The 1990 Millennium cuvée was fermented in Méthuselah, but this is very risky because of the pressure. “Riddling is difficult – you have to do with it two hands!”, joked Lecaillon, whose favourite wine of the tasting was the 1990, “for its balance”.
  • 96p
N: bright ripe fruit, opening up in the glass P: linear Ending: dry, harmonious In a nutshell: Like biting the perfect apple Final verdict: Classic Cristal
  • 96p
Good looking magnum size bottle.
- (Tasting note created by Tb's AI)
  • 97p
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Information

Origin

Reims, Champagne

Vintage Quality

Outstanding

Value For Money

Very good

Investment potential

Below Average

Fake factory

None

Other wines from this producer

Blanc de Blancs

Brut Nature Starck

Brut Premier

Carte Blanche Demi-Sec

Carte Blanche Sec

Cristal Rosé

Cristal Rosé Vinothèque

Cristal Vinothèque

Rosé Brut

Vintage

Vintage Blanc de Blancs

Vintage Rosé

Inside Information

Lustrous pale gold. Delicate, elegant bubbles forming a fine gossamer string. Very expressive on the nose, with an intense floral bouquet comprised of fragrant almonds, hazelnuts, and white flowers. On the palate is a generous, rounded, creamy attack followed by a touch of acidity to mark a finish of elegant persistence. Light and fresh, it is undoubtedly a wine of admirable magnitude with time. Overall, this is a wine guarding the Cristal tradition, possessing all the traits of a timeless creation.

A traditional wine of exceptional purity and finesse which will develop stronger characteristics with age. The strength and finesse of Cristal are perfectly paired with fine foods. It compliments caviar, fish and shellfish such as scallops, John Dory, lobster and crayfish.

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Highlights

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 Cristal 1990  has updated wine and vintage information

1y 4m ago

96p
 Edward Cuvée, Pro (Finland)  tasted  Cristal 1990  ( Louis Roederer )

"Cristal 1981 amazing"

8y 3m ago

96p
 Edward Cuvée, Pro (Finland)  tasted  Cristal 1990  ( Louis Roederer )

"Superb dinners in Tallin with d'Yquem 1985 as the start among Latour 1986."

8y 7m ago

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