2008 Louis Roederer Cristal Champagne
In 1845, Louis Roederer acquired 15 hectares in the Grand Cru vineyards of Verzenay. The idea—which was quite unusual at a time when grapes had little value—was to become a wine grower in order to master the entire process of creating his vintage wines. Ever since, every Louis Roederer vintage originates exclusively from their own vines, which is rare in the Champagne region. The quest for a diversity of terroirs, crus, parcels, and grape varieties in the vineyards was rapidly integrated by the House of Louis Roederer. A groundbreaking strategy was implemented, which involved buying specific parcels selected for their capacity to produce distinctive wines. This strategy is still a core component of the House’s continuing development.
The Louis Roederer estate cultivates the 3 traditional grape varieties: Chardonnay is appreciated for its minerality, finesse, and elegance; Pinot Noir’s solid constitution adds structure to the blends and prepares them for ageing, Meunier is a slightly less refined grape variety, whose adaptability brings harmony and softness to certain cuvées.
The grapes in the plots are meticulously gathered by hand and are collected in the buckets and pressed on the site of the harvest. This precise selection process and plot-by-plot vinification ensures that the origins and traceability of the grapes are respected and provides a perfect record of the fruit from each row of vines. Hence the natural equilibrium of each parcel is preserved, and the vines are protected from external influences. This brings out the finest qualities in their wines.
A superb creamy white mousse literally flows out of the glass leaving in its wake a straw pale gold tinged base wine that’s finely threaded by a very persistent bead. Very refined the nose offers up a complex bouquet of toasty yeast lees, cashew and baked bread followed by roasted nuts, citrus and a hint of oiliness. Rich and exceptionally long with a light satiny feel the palate balances power, finesse and tension superbly. Flavours of yeast lees, baked bread and subtle citrus fruits fill the mouth, melding into delicate oily toast like characters, roasted almonds and honeyed cashews. Dry creamy finish with finely tuned fresh acidity concluding very long and fine.
Cellar 8-10 years.
The 2008 Cristal is a real head-turner. Powerful, ample and explosive in all of its dimensions, the 2008 takes hold of the sense and never lets up. There is a crystalline purity to the flavors that is simply remarkable. Although still a baby, the 2008 looks like it will soon take its place alongside the greatest Cristals. Today, it is breathtaking. Drink 2020-2058.
Antonio Galloni – Vinous
Disgorged October 2016 and will be the first Cristal to be released ten years from harvest when it is offered in 2018. 35 parcels used from a possible 45 in this vintage. The assemblage is 60% pinot noir and 40% chardonnay. This is so fresh and tense and mineral with extremely exuberant chardonnay notes on the nose of white peach, lemon and yellow grapefruit, and hints of almost brambly sous bois aromas. The yeast characters are also super fresh, and there are subtle woody notes, with a hint of vanilla bean and light spices. The palate is super long, and very pure, powerful and focused. It drives deep and taut. Pinot noir is a strong core and the chardonnay sits at the edge offering lemon and white nectarine sorbet flavors. Staggeringly concentrated, yet the balance makes it seem airy and light. Acidity is perfectly positioned, and the power is intense and long. This is an ultra precise Cristal, finishing with a mere suggestion of savoriness and warmth to come. Impressive on release, this will be at its best drinking from 2025.
The 2008 Cristal is a perfect wine, and Champagne simple does not get any better. This incredible wine offers a beautiful perfume of clean, crisp fruits, layers of complexity in its toasted spice and white flowers, and an utterly seamless, yet powerful style on the palate. This is a rich, decadent expression of Cristal yet it’s still crystalline and elegant, with no sensation of weight, and it just glides over the palate. Haut Couture at its finest and this majestic, profound, legendary Cristal can be drunk anytime over the coming 2-3 decades. Drink 2018-2038.