2013 Louis Roederer, Cristal Rose, Bottle (750ml) RP99/AG98/JD98
2009 Louis Roederer, Cristal [Gift Box], Magnum (1.5L) AG97/JD97/JS97

Cristal Champagne: The Golden Icon with Substance & Longevity

As one of the world’s most collectable Champagnes, Louis Roederer's iconic Cristal is an enduring treasure for every type of wine drinker. As Champagne’s first tête de cuvée, its celebrity is well-earned, but for all the mystique and grandeur, the wine itself is a masterpiece of immense patience and supreme terroir.

From Russia with Love: The Origins of Cristal's Prestige

Since its inception in 1876, Louis Roederer's prestige cuvée Cristal has secured its place as one of Champagne's most coveted and mythical wines. Before hip-hop and fashion trends steered a modern audience towards the striking golden icon, Russia was the original trend-setter — Cristal was first created exclusively for Russian Tsar Alexander II, upon his request. With political instability and constant fear of assassination haunting him, Alexander requested the bottle be shaped flat on the bottom (without a punt, within which a bomb might be smuggled in) and clear (to keep weapons from concealment). By the early 20th century, with the Russian Revolution and the Depression severely affecting business, the Roederer Estate went into a steep decline. It was a make-or-break moment for the firm, which was shrewdly propped up by 4th generation Camille Olry-Roederer who made the bold decisions needed to push through the toughest years and re-establish their brand on a global scale. It was in this fateful era in which Cristal was finally released to the public.

Grand Cru Terroir

Although Russian nobility and rap artists have played roles in promoting Cristal throughout its history, the true power behind Cristal’s enduring excellence is the wine itself. A blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the grapes are sourced from old vines plots in seven Grand Cru villages of Montagne de Reims and Côte des Blancs. The crowning distinction for this style is its commitment to biodynamic fruit with the landmark achievement of becoming 100% Demeter-certified, a rare feat for a region with so many viticultural pressures. This meticulous approach dramatically restricts yields, ensuring the production of high quality grapes. In the hands of Roederer’s Chef de Cave (cellar master) Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, the resulting wines are exquisitely fashioned with balance and finesse, but even with its immediate appeal and outright radiance, there is still more to be unveiled.

Cristal's Hidden Virtue

While vibrant and immensely satisfying in its youth, with extended cellar age Cristal truly blossoms  to reveal extraordinary depth. One of the many overlooked pleasures in life is aged Champagne, a delicacy overlooked by the “carpe diem'' crowd. Delayed gratification is not always an important goal when there’s ready access to a beautiful bottle of Champagne, but Cristal can be worth the wait if you’re up to the challenge. The immense complexity that can come with 10-20 years of patience can result in layers of brioche, dried fruits, and chalky minerality, with surprising persistence on the palate. It’s an experience worth seeking out and embracing whole-heartedly.

Special Bottlings for Special Occasions

Explore the range of Cristal styles we are offering today, including the 2009 Cristal which is singing with lush fruit expression, the more chiseled and energetic 2015 Cristal, which Lisa Perrotti-Brown ensures will “undoubtedly reward the patient with a richer, toastier, more obvious and opulent style,” and the copper-hued 2013 Cristal Rosé, which Wine Advocate describes as “full-bodied, layered & multidimensional…amply cloaked in exuberant, expressive and notably concentrated fruit.” 

An exciting part of our featured collection is the 2009 Cristal Magnum (1.5L), which is the ideal format for lengthy age. With a greater ratio of liquid to air in the bottle’s ullage space (the space at the neck exposed to cork, and thus smaller amounts of oxygen), a larger bottling optimizes Champagne’s aging trajectory and allows the wine to exhibit a slower, more graceful maturity process. Additionally, a magnum's eye-catching presence can certainly add grandeur to any special occasion.

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