2002 louis roederer, cristal late release
Why We're Buying
Louis Roederer Cristal is one of the most prestigious names in wine, and with good reason. The Champagne is the predecessor of the prestige cuvée and a staple among the world's wine-consuming elites, ranging from Russian royalty to rappers like Jay-Z, Sean Combs, and The Notorious B.I.G. Today, Late Release Cristal is an ultra-limited edition that retails around $300 per bottle.
The 2002 Cristal (magnum) is off the charts. In magnum, the 2002 shows a bit less of the opulence and richness it presents in bottle, which is not at all a bad thing for a vintage that has so much natural exuberance. Creamy and exquisitely layered in the glass, the 2002 is wonderfully expressive today, not to mention incredibly inviting. Dried flowers, mint, Mirabelle and wild flowers give the 2002 captivating inner perfume and tons of sheer allure. This is the original 2009 disgorgement. Dosage is 9 grams per liter, lower than was once the norm here, and the result of a combination of factors including climate change, generally riper fruit and a warm growing season.
This is an exceptional wine, as is the vintage. The fruits—grapefruit, crisp red apple—balance with a fine yeasty character. There is a great depth of flavor, the fruits going in a pure line of freshness. The one problem is that it is much too young, the result of the demand from the market for the next vintage.
A re-release of the original 2010 disgorgement. Super fine, super fresh and super savory aromas of chalky stones with hints of flowers, white almonds, lemon peel and grapefruit. The palate has intense, mouth-filling, lemon-curd flavor. Very powerful, very concentrated and very expressive. Smooth finish that’s full of life, leaving a bright, white cherry note.
The 2002 Cristal is one seriously big, huge even, Champagne, and while this cuvee normally shows a seamless, elegant style, the 2002 vintage’s fruit profile dominates this wine. Toasted bread, oak spice, orchard fruits and toasted nuts give way to a full-bodied, mouthfilling, rich 2002 that stays light, graceful and elegant on the palate, with good to moderate acidity. It’s beautiful today, yet has two more decades of longevity.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Roederer's 2002 Cristal is a fabulous wine! Originally released in 2009, it was re-released in March this year—and was sold out in a very short time. The Cristal I tasted at Roederer in May 2018 was disgorged in 2010, after seven years sur lie. Its amazing richness and concentration makes it a forerunner of the 2015 and follows the 1999. Only two times—2002 and 2015—the fruit from all 42 plots reserved for Cristal was used for the Cristal. "I couldn't do any better blend than the one assembling all the 42 plots," says Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, stressing that at that time only two hectares were farmed biodynamically. As a result of the conversion to biodynamic farming, Lécaillon promised himself the production of even more beautiful, vital and balanced wines, and you can feel his satisfaction whenever he speaks of the cuvées that are yet to come such as 2012 and 2015, the latter of which he calls "the new 2002." Back to history: the nose of the 2002 Cristal shows a deep, ripe and elegant fruit with aromas of white chocolate, wet chalk, wild vanilla and pepper (typical for 2002) as well as terroir-driven truffle notes. Intense and very elegant in the mouth, this is a ripe, rich and concentrated yet also pure and vital Cristal with great finesse, elegance and mineral complexity. It's a sublime Champagne right now, although it's more wine than Champagne. Tasted in Reims in May 2018.