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Louis Roederer, Champagne Brut Cristal, 2013

$329.00
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Cristal needs no introduction: it's one of the greatest of the great names of Champagne. Taste the 2013 and you'll see why all the fuss: pure, precise, delicious, complex. It is perfect.

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Louis Roederer is one of the largest family-owned and run Champagne houses—and one of the oldest. Because they’ve been purchasing land for nearly 250 years, they’ve amassed valuable land all over Champagne; they are able to pick and choose which parcel goes into which cuvée, taking into account the specifics of each plot.

Founded in 1776, by the 19th century Louis Roederer was named the official wine supplier to the Russian court, by Tsar Nicholas II. They were among the first major Champagne houses to produce a tête de cuvée—the famed Cristal was first released in 1945.

These days, Roederer is acclaimed for their rigorous standards in farming—with nearly a third of their 590 acres farmed biodynamically, they are the largest biodynamic grower in Champagne. Nearly every cuvée they produce is made from estate fruit; the one exception is the Brut Premier, which includes roughly 20% bought fruit, purchased from farmers with whom they have long term contracts.

Professional Reviews

Antonio Galloni

AG 97
"The 2013 Cristal is a wine of extraordinary precision and tension. Searing acids drive a bold, racy Champagne that won’t be ready to offer its best drinking anytime soon. In recent vintages, Cristal has been quite open on release. That is far from the case with the 2013. Readers should plan on being quite patient. The blend is 60% Pinot Noir (from Aÿ, Verzy, Verzenay, Beaumont-sur-Vesle) and 40% Chardonnay (Mesnil, Avize, Cramant). Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon was especially selective and used only 30 out of the potential 45 plots that are typically available for Cristal. About 32% of the lots were done in oak, the rest in steel, with the malolactic fermentation blocked across the board. It was an October harvest, the sort of harvest that has become increasingly rare in Champagne. Lecaillon describes the summer as similar to 2012, but adds the vines were a month behind in their development. In tasting, the 2013 reminds me of the 1996 in its austerity, even more so than the epic 2008." -Vinous

Robert Parker

RP 98
"I've revisited Roederer's 2013 Cristal four times since I reviewed it in April of this year—including several times from my own cellar—and I had to admit that even my lavish praise didn't do it full justice. Combining the cool-vintage cut of 2008 with the more completely mature fruit of 2012, the 2013 Cristal might well be said to represent the perfect combination of the two from a purist's perspective. The wine unwinds in the glass with notes of crisp orchard fruit, white flowers, almond paste and citrus oil, followed by a medium to full-bodied, seamless and multidimensional palate that's intense but weightless, with racy acids, a pinpoint mousse and a long, penetrating finish. Drink the 2008 Cristal on its own, and you're unlikely—to put it mildly—to have any complaints; but compare it directly with the 2013 and you'll see Roederer's rapid progress in the vineyards writ large." -Robert Parker

Decanter

D 96
"The peak of drinkability is between 15 and 20 years from the harvest; so says Jean-Baptiste, but he has not spared the taster the wondrous early impression of perfection in the making. A soft gold with glistening highlights, like the river meadow at dawn; the nose effortlessly marries a panoply of flavours, the citric grip nodding to hints of passion fruit and Mirabelle plum, with hazelnut and almond signalling the grace of development. Texturally generous, yet tightly wound, taut and flinty yet ripe and open, the wine faithfully underlines the vigneron’s philosophy, every nuance of its template deftly rehearsed and charmingly enacted."

Wine Spectator

WS 96
"Exotic hints of tangerine and candied ginger are an enticing entrance for this vivid Champagne, accenting a finely meshed range of ripe green apple and cassis fruit, with rich notes of chopped almond, brioche and lemon curd. An underscoring streak of salinity gains momentum through the mouthwatering finish, echoing as it rides the plushly creamy mousse. This is decadence in a sleek and graceful package."

Details

  • Grape Variety

    Chardonnay , Pinot Noir

  • Vintage

    2013

  • Size

    750ml

  • Farming Practice

    Biodynamic

  • Sweetness

    Dry

  • Body

    Light Bodied

Champagne

Champagne boasts some of the world’s greatest luxury brands with Krug, Cristal and, of course, Dom Perignon. But it’s also home to hundreds of small dynamic producers—farmers who grow their own grapes (often organically) and make (often with natural methods) tiny amounts of pure and absolutely delicious wine that reflect the individual personalities of their villages and terroirs. Toast with these wines, for sure. But also treat them like the great wines they are: taste, drink, explore!

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