x
  • Country ranking ?

    4 659
  • Producer ranking ?

    132
  • Decanting time

    15min
  • When to drink

    Now - 2025
  • Food Pairing

    Seafood, Salads & Consommes

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.

Read more
Close

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

Read more
Close

Wine Information

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.

Read more
Close

Tasting note

color

Medium

flavors

Toasty and Honey

nose

Refined

recommend

Yes

taste

Well-structured, Harmonious, Focused and Elegant

Written Notes

A weak vintage and surely a disappointment to many, considering the name and the price tag. The wine is still incredibly discreet and unborn. Everything is delicate but super-elegant, and actually faithful to its extraction. Like a skeleton, if compared to—say—an '82 Cristal. The acidity still remains in this light, fresh wine, but the aroma is slight corrupted by oxidation tones so it will never be a great wine.
  • 88p
The vintage 1994 was by means one of the bests in Champagne. However, Roederer manages to produce great Cristal also on lesser vintages. This wine was fairly open for its age and will not be one of the longest-lived Cristals. However, a great joy to enjoy now and for the next ten years.Attractive bright yellow colour with signs of development. Small-sized elegantly behaving bubbles on the glass. The nose is pure, fruity and focused: apple, dried fruits, toast and honey. The medium-bodied palate is structured and linear. Lacking the charm and richness of riper vintages. The wine is harmonious from the beginning until the long end. A great bottle of Champagne, however not a great bottle of Cristal.
  • 90p
The vintage 1994 was by means one of the bests in Champagne. However, Roederer manages to produce great Cristal also on lesser vintages. This wine was fairly open for its age and will not be one of the longest-lived Cristals. However, a great joy to enjoy now and for the next ten years. Attractive bright yellow colour with signs of development. Small-sized elegantly behaving bubbles on the glass. The nose is pure, fruity and focused: apple, dried fruits, toast and honey. The medium-bodied palate is structured and linear. Lacking the charm and richness of riper vintages. The wine is harmonious from the beginning until the long end. A great bottle of Champagne, however not a great bottle of Cristal.
  • 91p
Load more notes

Information

Origin

Reims, Champagne

Drinking temperature

12

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

Highlights

Latest news

TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS Austrian 2020 vintage  / A challenging, yet rewarding year
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS ORNELLAIA ANNOUNCES NEW NAPA PROJECT / Tuscan estate Ornellaia has announced a new venture in California in partnership with Dalla Valle Vineyards, called ‘DVO’.
WINERY NEWS Promontory / BWW 2021 - Best New Winery of the World have been selected – Promontory! BWW – Best W  more ...
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS BWW 2021 – Top 10 Champagnes of the World have been selected / Rare Champagne 2008 is the Winner!
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS The Bordeaux 2020 Vintage / by Angelus
WINERY NEWS Piper-Heidsieck /    CHAMPAGNE PIPER-HEIDSIECK APPOINTS NEW CELLAR MASTER Champagne house Piper-Heidsiec  more ...
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS BWW- Best Wine of the World 2021 Competition's Winners have been selected! / - the Best wine in the world is Château Mouton-Rothschild 2018
WINERY NEWS Stony Hill / HEITZ CELLAR OWNER BUYS STONY HILL Gaylon Lawrence, the owner of Heitz, and Carlton McCoy MS, Hei  more ...
WINERY NEWS Domaine Leflaive / Legendary California winery Williams Selyem will hand over control to a French producer One of th  more ...
VINTAGE NEWS: 1985 / Bordeaux / The year 1985 was a tremendous vintage. Extremely cold winter followed by extremely   more ...
VINTAGE NEWS: 1945 / Tastingbook’s TOP 10 wines from 1947&1945 tasting  (66 wines tasted) 1. Chât  more ...
WINERY NEWS Château Mouton-Rothschild / Xu Bing illustrates the label of Château Mouton Rothschild 2018 Each year since 1945, a fam  more ...
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS Champagne Magazine's 100 Best Champagnes for 2021! / The world's only Champagne magazine and tastingbook.com select the World's Best Champagnes – The winner is Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2008
VINTAGE NEWS: 1990 / 1982 versus 1990 Bordeaux When you receive an invitation to a comparative tasting of all Premier   more ...
WINERY NEWS Tyrrell's Wines / 2020 Vintage: A Statement from Bruce Tyrrell Tyrrell’s has made the decision to have a seve  more ...
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS BWW2020 received over 3 million votes! / The most voted wine is Penfolds Grange 2015
VINTAGE NEWS: 2010 / Vintage Reports by Château Latour and Lafite:  After a mild and rainy autumn 2009, r  more ...
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS MOST FAKED WINE / TOP 30 LIST
VINTAGE NEWS: 1945 / Tastingbook’s TOP 10 wines from 1947&1945 tasting  (66 wines tasted) 1. Chât  more ...
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS BWW 2020 - Best Wine Shop of the World have been selected  / Millésima from France is the Winner.

Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users. or to see wine moments from your world.
Incorrect Information
If you found some information that is wrong, let us know
Are you sure you want do delete this wine? All information will be lost.
Are you sure you want to recommend this wine?
Are you sure you want hide this written note ?
Are you sure you want show this written note ?

HOW TO USE TASTINGBOOK?

We recommend you to share few minutes for watching the following video instructions of how to use the Tastingbook. This can provide you a comprehensive understanding of all the features you can find from this unique service platform.

This video will help you get started



Taste wines with the Tastingbook


Create Your wine cellar on 'My Wines'



Explore Your tasted wines library



Administrate Your wine world in Your Profile



Type a message ...
Register to Tastingbook
Register now, it's fast, easy and totally free. No commitments, only enjoyments.
  Register