The 2004 Brut Cristal has put on quite a bit of weight since I first tasted it earlier this year. It is a powerful, structured Cristal layered with considerable fruit. Chardonnay seems to play the leading role in 2004, at least today. Cristal is often accessible young, but that is far from the case here. This is a serious, painfully young Cristal that will require considerable patience. Readers who are willing to spend some time with the wine today will find a super-impressive, complete Cristal. The 2004 Cristal is 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2034. 97 Points, Robert Parker
In 1876, Tsar Alexander II was already a great fan of Louis Roederers champagne and he asked Louis Roederer to go one step further and produce, for his own personal consumption, a wine unique in quality and bottle. Louis Roederer offered to create an exceptional white crystal bottle to house the best selection from the 7 finest vineyards of his estate, thus creating the first Prestige cuvee of Champagne. This wine is only produced in the great years when the ripeness of the Chardonnay and Pinot noir enables a subtle, precise balance.
Cristal 2004 is 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 its historic vines, located on the finest Champagne Grand Cru terroirs.
The blend is composed of 55% Pinot noir and 45% Chardonnay (20% of which is matured in oak casks with weekly batonnage). No malolactic fermentation occurs. Cristal is produced using harvests from the finest vineyards of Montagne de Reims, the Vallée de la Marne and the Côte des Blancs. Cristal ages an average of 5 years in the cellars and rests 8 months after disgorgement to perfect its maturity. The dosage of between 8 and 10 g/l is customised to complement each vintage.