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Cristal Rosé was first born a hundred years after the original Cristal, in 1974. It is an intriguing and particular prestige cuvée rosé, as it has the palest colour, yet a contrastingly fleshy, fruity, well-built palate of amazing freshness. Its secret is in the 60 per cent Pinot Noir from two hectares of Roederer’s own old-vine vineyards in Aÿ, Bonotte-Pierre-Robert and La Côte du Moulin, which are now cultivated according to biodynamic principles. It is these ripe, concentrated grapes that give the wine its delicate hue via the saignée, or bleeding method. Then 30 per cent of Côte des Blancs Grand Cru Chardonnay from Le Mesnil sur Oger and Avize is added to give spine and elegance.
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.