2006 louis roederer, cristal
Why We're Buying
Cristal is the flagship sparkling wine from Louis Roederer, one of Champagne's oldest and most prestigious producers. The first cuvée dates back to 1876 and was created to satisfy the tastes of Russian royalty. Today, it's a favorite of hip-hop royalty, with name-drops in songs by R. Kelly, The Notorious B.I.G., Raekwon, and Jay-Z. Cristal was created in 1876 to satisfy the demanding tastes of Tsar Alexander II, who insisted on having the best cuvée Champagne from France. Today, Louis Roederer Cristal Brut Champagne remains one of the most renowned wines in the world and serves as the flagship offering in the Roederer portfolio. The 2013 vintage lives up to its regal status, earning a 98-point rating from wine critic James Suckling, while John Gilman called it, “This is a very beautiful vintage of Cristal and a very, very worthy follow-up to the stellar 2012 version!” The 2013 growing season had a challenging start. Then summer arrived in glorious style with copious sunshine, high temperatures, and minimal rain, ideal for ripening chardonnay (40%) and pinot noir (60%). The freshness of the biodynamically-farmed fruit shines through, in part, because 2013 Cristal did not undergo malolactic fermentation. As a result, the final product is full and rich with an acid-rich frame that bodes well for long-term cellaring. Strawberries, green apples, brioche, pear, brioche, flower blossoms, and crushed rocks form the nose with underpinnings of salinity. Every aspect exists in equilibrium, giving 2013 Cristal a harmonious balance. Wine critic William Kelley noted, "Less introverted than its 2012 predecessor, readers won't regret trying a bottle of the 2013 Cristal young—even if I'd recommend forgetting some for a decade too."
Fantastic from the start. A colossal power of beautiful rumbling Pinot maturity. It's like chewing on the ripest grapes from Ay and Verzenay. At the same time ultra stylish: unmistakable Cristal essence of peach and mango sweetness, pineapple, coconut, vanilla, sprightly acidity and citrus blossom. Many similarities with 2002 but with a clearer Pinot touch.
This elegant version shows beautiful texture and a sense of finesse despite the underlying power of vibrant acidity and smoky minerality. The palate offers a finely layered mesh of blackberry, poached pear, almond pastry, lemon zest and pickled ginger flavors.
Deep pinot-driven presence is the first and lasting impression. Power with control. Superfine bead, bread and spiced biscuits, candied ripe red fruits and a sense of tight-knit complexity. Some grapefruit, lemon pith & gently flinty notes too - impressive nose. In the mouth it is rich, powerful, mouth-filling and flavorsome with a core of the same biscuity red fruit flavor, savory nutty notes and a wrap of assertive, persistent acidity that holds rich powerful flavor deep and focused whilst maintaining a polished, gently creamy texture. Long chalky bread and biscuit finish. A superb pinot-driven vintage.
Although it is still young, this vintage of Cristal promises great things. There’s an impressive balance between ripe fruit and crisp acidity, rich and food friendly, but also a fine apéritif. Apricot and grapefruit flavors are round and rich, but with considerable minerality as well.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2006 Cristal shows rich and ripe (tropical) fruit on the nose along with delicate brioche notes. Round and textured on the palate, this is a generous but fresh, fine and salty Cristal with a very long and greatly finessed finish. Tasted in New York, November 2018.