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Cristal 2009 is the most recent release at £549 per 6×75 (£1,098 per 12×75). Antonio Galloni awarded it 96+ points in August, praising its “remarkable depth and striking purity” and noting that it “is a superb Cristal in the making”. The 2009 is 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. Galloni said that the percentage of wine aged in oak is 15%, which is down slightly from previous vintages.
Cristal 2009 has been pitched at a similar level to the 2006 and 2007 vintages. Both were awarded 97 points by Galloni. The similarly scored, 97-point 2004 last traded at £1,350 per 12×75, while the 96-point 2002 last traded at £1,850 per 12×75, perhaps reflecting the markets appreciation of the acclaimed 2002 vintage. Most of the older vintages from 2002 or earlier have increased since release as supply has diminished. The 1999 vintage, for example, traded at £920 per 12×75 in May 2005 and last traded at £1,940 per 12×75, up 111%.
Out of the last ten vintages, only the 2006 is currently trading at a lower price than it was when released. The 2006 vintage only started to rise one year ago after bottoming out in 2015. It last traded at £1,030 per 12×75, up 12% from its lowest trade of £920 per 12×75 in July 2015. James Suckling awarded the 2006 vintage 97 points, Jancis Robinson gave it 18/20 and David Schildknecht of the Wine Advocate scored it 93 points.
Wine Advocate-Parker :
The 2009 Cristal is a blend of Grands Crus from the Montagne de Reims, the Vallée de la Marne and the Côte des Blancs (a total of 33-34 parcels of which 40% were farmed biodynamically). Like the 2008 Cristal, the 2009 also blends 60% Pinot Noir with 40% Chardonnay, and 16% of the wine was vinified in oak casks. No malolactic fermentation was done. The 2009 was aged for six years in the cellars and was disgorged in March 2016 with a dosage of eight grams per liter. Released two years ago, the 2009 is just starting another, more Burgundian life. Tasted in May 2018, the bouquet was pretty reductive, with flinty and toasty/nutty notes and some potted ginger flavors. Full-bodied, round and rich on the palate, this is a stunningly pure, fresh and salty 2009 that is driven by its chalky terroir and the lingering salinity. Is it really 2009? It is ripe, yes, but driven by the strength of chalk. The finish is pure, clean, fresh, very complex and long yet delicate and endlessly salty. However, two years after disgorgement, the 2009 Cristal is closing down and in a pretty reductive stage right now. Tasted May 2018.
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
A continental, sunny year with a real winter that was very cold and dry followed by a glorious sun-filled summer and almost no rain in August and September. All this meant traditional vine growth, excellent health and remarkable grape ripeness for the production of dense, fruity and delicious wines. 2009 is an obvious addition to the select group of brilliant and accomplished Champagne vintages with a light, sunny character.
60 % Pinot noir, 40% Chardonnay, 16% of the wine vinified in oak casks, no malolactic fermentation.
Cristal is a blend of Grands Crus from the Montagne de Reims, the Vallée de la Marne and the Côte des Blancs. The wine is aged for 6 years in the cellars and left for a minimum of 8 months after disgorging to attain the perfect maturity. The dosage is 8 g/l.
The most emblematic cuvée of the prestigious Louis Roederer Champagne House, Cristal is only produced in vintages that deserve to be immortsalised. The 2009 vintage is the product of a sunny year with a very cold and dry winter, followed by a sunny and dry summer. The grapes reached perfect maturity before the harvest and were picked under excellent health conditions. 2009 joins the ranks of brilliant Champagne vintages, which will remembered for its light and sunny character. The Cristal 2009 blends 60% Pinot Noir with 40% Chardonnay. The winemaking is carried out without malolactic fermentation, with 16% vinified in oak casks. The wine is aged for 6 years in the cellars and 8 months after disgorging.
At tasting, the Louis Roederer Cristal 2009 offers a golden yellow colour with matte and amber reflections. The bubbles offer a beautiful persistence, brilliance, finesse and tension. The nose is subtle, offering concentrated aromas. There are citrus, candied apricot and honeysucklearomas, and with aeration, cocoa bean and toasted hazelnut fragrances follow with light hints of liquorice and cinnamon. On the palate, this prestige champagne is well-structured and energetic. There are dense, ripe, silky flavours and mineral freshness. The champagne is light, airyand enveloped with a great personality.
Warmest conditions since 2003, optimal maturity, healthy fruit. Balanced wines with average sugars, lower acidities. High overall maturity. Vintage year for some, principally récoltants-manipulants (individual growers). In ’09, new EU rules reduced dosage for Brut to 12 g/l.
The 2009s are ripe, radiant and seductive. It is an atypically ripe year, yet at least some producers will declare the vintage. The first wave of 2009-based grower Champagnes is beginning to appear in the market, and those wines clearly show the voluptuous, racy personality of the year. At least some houses will release their 2009 tête de cuvée ahead of the 2008.