Cristal - incisive, seductive and delicious - has a “slender”, almost “living” freshness. Highly contemporary in its harmony and immediate seductiveness, it nevertheless remains first and foremost a great classic of northern Champagne, combining freshness, energy and an almost chalky mineral quality. The Cristal hallmarks are evident: purity, precision and the unique harmony of flavours associated with the subtle power of our historic vines, located on the finest Champagne Grand Cru terroirs.
ORIGIN OF THE WINE In 1876, Tsar Alexander II – already a great lover of Louis Roederer cuvées – asked Louis Roederer to ‘take the exercise still further’ and create a cuvée for his personal use which was unique, in terms of both its quality and the bottle. So Louis Roederer offered to produce an exceptional white crystal bottle, for which he concocted the finest selection from the vines of 7 great crus on his estate. This cuvée, made only from the ‘great’ years in which the ripeness of the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes enabled a subtle, precise balance to be produced, was the first top-class cuvée of Champagne.
HARVESTS 2006 was a very warm year, characterised by contrasting rainfall patterns. Following on from an unusually cold and rainy August, a warm, dry September hastened up the ripening process producing distinctive, rich, complex grapes.
STYLE This concentrated, dense, ripe, fresh and long Cristal 2006 is unhesitatingly made using full-bodied, smooth Pinots and fresh, elegant mineral Chardonnays. The ripeness of 2006 harvests makes it possible to achieve a distinctive culmination of matter and purity, richness and softness.
ELABORATION 60% Pinot Noir – 40% Chardonnay – 20% wines matured in wood (oak barrels) with weekly batonnage– no malolactic fermentation. Cristal is made from Grands Crus from the Montagne de Reims, the Marne Valley and the Côte des Blancs. Matured for an average of 5 years in the cellars, it is left to rest for 8 months after disgorging to complete its maturation.
DOSAGE : Adapted to each vintage, at between 8 and 10 g/l.TASTING NOTES Glistening colour with light amber highlights, indicating a year of very fine ripeness. Soft, almost timid bubbles, in a fine, slow and steady flow. There is a rich bouquet with confit fruit (lemon, orange), white flowers (lilies) and lightly roasted nuts (hazelnuts and almonds). On airing, the dominant fruitiness becomes intense, almost explosive: a sabayon of vine peaches, apricots, melon and mango.
The mouth features a rounded, complex ballet of fruit. The texture is incredibly concentrated, giving the impression of biting into a ripe, fleshy fruit. The palate is enveloped by this depth of juicy, creamy, silky fruit, which soon makes way for a pure, sharp, graceful freshness. A transition follows from ripe fruit to a clear, light, delicate environment. Ripeness, softness and concentrationarise from freshness and mineral quality, transforming the ripe fruit into a slightly sharp citrus flavour; the warmer notes make way for flowers, citrus zests and nuts. After this rapid succession of flavours, there is a lasting impression of harmony: the aromas, flavours, slight bitterness and freshness come in just the right proportions, intermingling to form a perfectly integrated yet complex whole. A few hints of tatin tart and Danish pastries add a final touch to the already complex range of aromas.