Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
75cl * 12% ABV * Champagne, France
'A wine of pure pleasure and a sophisticated gastronomic wine, Cristal is both powerful and delicate, combining subtlety and precision.'
Roederer's most famous wine was created in 1876 to satisfy the demanding tastes of Tsar Alexander II. The emperor asked Louis Roederer to reserve the best cuvée for him every year. To distinguish this cuvée, Roederer bottled it in a flat-bottomed, transparent lead-crystal bottle. The Champagne became synonymous with this precious, glistening material, which is particularly transparent and luminous. Some say these characteristics made the Tsar feel happier drinking the Cristal as he could see that the wine had neither been poisoned (due to the clear glass) or implanted with an explosive (due to the lack of punt-space on the flat bottom).
Only produced during the best years, when the Chardonnay (around 40%) and Pinot noir (around 60%) grapes have attained perfect maturity, Cristal is aged for six years in Louis Roederer’s cellars and left for a further eight months after dégorgement.
2013 was characterised by a particularly late growing cycle. A seemingly endless winter was followed by a very cool, late spring. Flowering began at the start of July - something that hadn’t seen in Champagne for quite some time! Fortunately, summer was glorious with plenty of sunshine, record high temperatures and very low rainfall, ideal for the ripening of the Pinot Noirs and Chardonnay grapes. The temperatures were cool for the October harvest and the resulting wines are elegant and fresh - the signs of a 'classic' vintage.
Powerful and complex on the palate, revealing a mixture of yellow fruit (including mirabelle plum), juicy, ripe fruits (such as nectarine), citrus peel (think candied orange) and finely roasted nuts (like hazelnut). The nose is simultaneously powdery and sweet, with elegant, chalky notes. Gentle, tactile and full-bodied on the palate. The bubbles create a gentle, vibrating sensation, then the wine becomes soft, dense and juicy. But it is the chalky freshness that quickly sets the tone: the sweetness becomes energetic and intense, giving the wine an elegant yet powerful texture. Fine, textured tannins reveal a poised and vinous dimension to the wine. The finish is savoury and saline.
Drink to 2045.