2008 Brut Champagne Louis Roederer
|Grapes||Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier|
Let's start describing the 2008 Cristal technically first. It is a 60/40 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from 36 plots in seven grands crus: Verzy, Verzenay, Beaumont and Aÿ for the Pinot Noir and Mesnil, Avize and Cramant for the Chardonnay. Twenty-five percent of the wine was fermented in oak, and 16% underwent malolactic fermentation to moderate the fresh acidity of the 2008 vintage. The assemblage was bottled in May 2009. After 8.5 years on the second lees (longer than any Cristal before), the first release was disgorged in September 2017 with a relatively low dosage of 7.5 grams per liter. So, here is how it tastes as a "young" cuvée: The 2008 Cristal opens bright, super clear, fresh and pure on the exciting, absolutely fascinating nose with its fine, complex and elegant bouquet of gorgeously ripe and matured fruits, brioche and chalk expressions. This is the finest you can get from Champagne. The palate is pure, lean, fresh and filigreed but concentrated, highly complex, full of tension and enormously vibrant. This is a great vin de terroir, a dense and elegant Super-Cristal that goes straight and precise as a laser beam over the palate but also has texture in the form of sensually fleshy fruit. The dosage, however, is the lowest ever: just 7.5 grams. The endless and highly tensioned finish is complex, citrusy fresh, full of chalk and crystalline finesse. The 2008 Cristal is a vitalizing drug, "the Chevalier Montrachet of Champagne," as Jean-Baptise Lécaillon puts it. It is the most exciting 2008 Champagne I have tasted thus far (May 2018). Drinking range: 2023 - 2050 Rating: 97+ Stephan Reinhart, The Wine Advocate, erobertparker.com (Jun 2018)
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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. Drinking range: 2025 - Rating: 100 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com(Jan 2018)
This latest incarnation of the famous brand is a superb wine. It is on par with, maybe even better than, the already legendary 2002. Its balance is impeccable, apple and citrus flavors working with the tight minerality to give a textured yet fruity wine. Produced from Louis Roederer’s own vineyards which are mainly biodynamic, the wine has its own intense purity and crispness. It has amazing potential and is likely to age for many years. Rating: 100 The Wine Enthusiast www.winemag.com(Jan 2018)
To be released April 2018. I tasted a trial sample of a wine that is not yet disgorged. This will be the first time a Cristal has been launched at 10 years old. Lécaillon: ‘the Cristal 1996 should have been an exceptional vintage like 2008 but we all agreed that we picked a week too early. And we should have done more malo. So we improved on this in 2008 with 16% malo, and now the 2008s are “the perfect 1996s”’. Dosage was just 8 g/l, the lowest ever. Lécaillon thinks 2008 is even better than 2002 potentially; the concentration of 2002 is the result of wind, but the concentration of 2008 is soil-related, thanks to the very long growing season. Very persistent. This is a marvellous wine that is incredibly complete and but obviously still youthful. Cristal followers are in for a major treat. Rating: 19.5 Jancis Robinson OBE MW - www.JancisRobinson.com(Aug 2017)
Louis Roederer is one of the largest remaining independent Champagne Houses, owned by the same family since it was founded in 1776, the same year that the USA was officially founded. The house is famous for making 'Cristal' - the highly demanded Super Cuvée - but the Brut Premier is their classic, non vintage blend and represents excellent quality in the slightly fuller, creamier style.
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