2012 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."
A classic beauty, fresh-faced and focused today but with a harmonious grace of form suggesting a long career ahead. There's a creamy, viscous quality to the mousse that swathes the palate, carrying finely detailed flavors of poached quince, Mandarin orange preserves, toasted almond and pickled ginger. Mouthwatering throughout, with a pleasing, soft zestiness to the mineral-laced finish. Drink now through 2035
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Aromas of clear honey, crisp green orchard fruit, white peach, pastry cream and dried white flowers introduce the 2012 Cristal, a full-bodied, concentrated and powerful wine that's built for the cellar. Broader, more textural and more muscular than the 2008 Cristal, with seemingly even greater reserves of structuring dry extract, the 2012 is incisive and searingly chalky. This is the first Cristal produced exclusively from organically farmed fruit, and it marks the opening of a new chapter for Louis Roderer. The blend is 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay, vinified without malolactic fermentation and disgorged with 7.5 grams per liter dosage. Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon has once again excelled himself. Rating: 97+
As the first 100% biodynamic Cristal, entirely from Roederer-owned vineyards, this is an important milestone. This latest incarnation is a great Champagne with its density, elegance and poise. Still impressively young, the wine is taut, tightly wound and textured. At the same time, it has pure, ripe white and citrus fruits that are perfumed, and an important part of this wine’s long-term future. Drink at the earliest from 2023.
Such attractive, fresh, floral aromas here with fine bread, hints of white almonds and a lemon edge. White cherries and strong, chalky minerals, too. The palate has a very composed feel. Seamless and quite silky texture with effortless length and flow. Very fluid and composed. Very late, warming almond flavors. This is very long and smooth with a velvety finish. Super long pinot weight. Resolved and drinkable, but will age so well.
The 2012 Cristal is another absolutely stellar wine this flight of recent releases. Rich, vinous and beautifully textured, the 2012 has been nothing short of magnificent on the three occasions I have tasted it so far. In the glass, the 2012 is radiant and luscious, yet it possesses remarkable transparency and striking aromatic depth. Light tropical notes develop in the glass, giving the 2012 a real feeling of exotic beauty. The 2012 is the first vintage of Cristal done with 100% organically-farmed fruit, an approach introduced gradually starting with the 2007 that has profoundly changes Cristal, especially in its aromatic breadth. Two thousand twelve is the vintage where endless trials and experiments in farming and winemaking are fully realized. The 2012 is just stunning. It’s as simple as that. Dosage is just over 7 grams per liter, the lowest it has even been for Cristal.