After completing my 2018 Washington Report I decided to celebrate in style last night. One of the great historic Champagne houses, Louis Roederer only produces their ‘Cristal’ Champagne in specific vintages. ‘Cristal’ Champagne was created in 1876 to satisfy the demanding tastes of Tsar Alexander II. The emperor asked Louis Roederer to reserve the House’s best cuvée for him every year as he was fond of Louis Roederer’s style. This Champagne was initially distinguished by being presented in a flat-bottomed, transparent lead-crystal bottle. The ‘Cristal’ brand was named after the lead-crystal bottle, which is particularly transparent and luminous. ‘Cristal’ Champagne blending is typically around 40% Chardonnay and 60% Pinot Noir, although that varies on the vintage. Cristal is aged for 6 years in Louis Roederer’s cellars and then left for a further 8 months after dégorgement. The ‘Cristal’ Rose Champagne is always composed of estate fruit and the wine is primarily fermented and aged in steel, but roughly 15-20% of the blend is aged in oak. Over time the cellar master has been lowering dosage to 8-9 g/l.
The 1999 Louis Roederer ‘Cristal’ Rose Champagne (WWB, 95) is drinking at its peak right now. It is a stunning Champagne that is best served out of a white wine glass right now. I spent a good amount of time moving between flute and white wine glass and the range and bouquet was considerably better out of the white wine glass. What stuck me most about the Champagne was how the tertiary notes are now dominating the red fruits. While red fruits like cran-raspberry are quite nice, the fruit flavors are now more delicate, as the musty character like biscuit, peat moss and wild mushroom, are really singing. For those who love an aged Champagne, the ’99 is really at a marvelous place. While it is drinking nicely now, it will cellar well for a decade or more.
Learn more about this great Champagne at http://www.louis-roederer.com/en/wine/cristal
1999 Louis Roederer ‘Cristal’ Rose Champagne- The 1999 ‘Cristal’ Rose Champagne by Louis Roederer is a glorious Champagne that is absolutely singing right now. The wine is composed of largely old vine Pinot Noir from the village of Cumières in the Marne region of Champagne. Upon entry, the Champagne is quite intense, particularly when enjoyed in a white wine glass. The aromatic range is glorious here, from cran-raspberry to wild mushroom to mulberry to peat moss. The red fruits are quite delicate as the tertiary notes are playing first chair. The palate shows a wonderful silky texture and mouthfeel. Red raspberry, orange rind, forest floor and hints of black truffle parade on the palate. A seriously good aged effort, I can see this cellaring well for the next ten to fifteen years — but why wait? Drink 2018-2030- 95