Louis Roederer

Cristal Brut Champagne Chardonnay Pinot Noir Blend

9.42188 ratings
9.4583 pro ratings
Champagne, France
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
Top Notes For
Matt Nason

The eight five.

The eight five.

Mar 4th, 2019
Antonio Galloni

Founder, Vinous

9.8

Epic, but also very tight. Even so, we drained the bottle very quickly. Superb.

Epic, but also very tight. Even so, we drained the bottle very quickly. Superb.

Feb 28th, 2019
Greg Koslosky

Out of magnum for our dear friends Christie’s birthday . Incredible power yet elegant and refined . A iron fist in a Velvet glove . Best Cristal I have ever had !

Out of magnum for our dear friends Christie’s birthday . Incredible power yet elegant and refined . A iron fist in a Velvet glove . Best Cristal I have ever had !

Feb 8th, 2019
Eric Urbani

Overrated in my opinion...

Overrated in my opinion...

Dec 31st, 2018
Delectable Wine

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9.4


Hints of caramel, orange peel, apricot jam and spice run through the 1989 Cristal. Ample, creamy and generous, the 1989 is in great shape today. The slightly forward aromas and flavors suggest the 1989 has arrived at a plateau of maturity. I would prefer to drink it over the next decade or so, although the wine has more than enough density to hold for many years. I have had fresher bottles of the 1989, but this is a fine showing just the same. The 1989 is always a silky, gracious and totally understated Cristal, as it is once again today. “Nineteen eighty-nine was a riper year, and therefore more Pinot-driven, with about 63-64% Pinot in the final blend than the more typical 60%” adds Lécaillon. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, 1989)


Hints of caramel, orange peel, apricot jam and spice run through the 1989 Cristal. Ample, creamy and generous, the 1989 is in great shape today. The slightly forward aromas and flavors suggest the 1989 has arrived at a plateau of maturity. I would prefer to drink it over the next decade or so, although the wine has more than enough density to hold for many years. I have had fresher bottles of the 1989, but this is a fine showing just the same. The 1989 is always a silky, gracious and totally understated Cristal, as it is once again today. “Nineteen eighty-nine was a riper year, and therefore more Pinot-driven, with about 63-64% Pinot in the final blend than the more typical 60%” adds Lécaillon. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, 1989)

Dec 21st, 2018
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9.5

The 1985 Cristal is powerful and resonant on the palate, with just the earliest hints of oxidative notes starting to appear. The 1985 may not have quite the layers, focus or pedigree of the very best years, but it more than makes up for that with its inviting, generous personality. There is so much to like, including the wine’s soft curves and racy feel. The 1985 is an especially opulent Cristal, with attractive smoky and torrefaction overtones, and exceptional balance. “In 1985, we had a severe frost that lowered yields dramatically,” Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon recounted. “It was a vintage to handle carefully. From what the old-timers told me, because I was not here, set was so bad that the percentage of stems relative to fruit was quite high. Our crew works hard to cut as close as possible, especially in challenging vintages. But I imagine some stems and underripe berries made it into the tanks, resulting in somewhat green, bitter flavors at pressing. In the end though, those qualities have been pretty good for aging. Ultimately, Champagne is a battle between ripeness and greenness. If you are too ripe, you have rot, and if you aren’t ripe enough, you are green. You need to find the optimal window for picking.” (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, December 2018)

The 1985 Cristal is powerful and resonant on the palate, with just the earliest hints of oxidative notes starting to appear. The 1985 may not have quite the layers, focus or pedigree of the very best years, but it more than makes up for that with its inviting, generous personality. There is so much to like, including the wine’s soft curves and racy feel. The 1985 is an especially opulent Cristal, with attractive smoky and torrefaction overtones, and exceptional balance. “In 1985, we had a severe frost that lowered yields dramatically,” Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon recounted. “It was a vintage to handle carefully. From what the old-timers told me, because I was not here, set was so bad that the percentage of stems relative to fruit was quite high. Our crew works hard to cut as close as possible, especially in challenging vintages. But I imagine some stems and underripe berries made it into the tanks, resulting in somewhat green, bitter flavors at pressing. In the end though, those qualities have been pretty good for aging. Ultimately, Champagne is a battle between ripeness and greenness. If you are too ripe, you have rot, and if you aren’t ripe enough, you are green. You need to find the optimal window for picking.” (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, December 2018)

Dec 21st, 2018
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9.6

The 1983 Cristal is fabulous. Rich, ample and generous, the 1983 is incredibly inviting, with tons of class and personality. A wine of real volume and textural breadth, the 1983 has enough pedigree to drink well for many years. None of the elements stand out in the 1983, the whole is far greater than the sum of the parts. “Nineteen eighty-three is a different animal from some of the other wines of the decade,” Lécaillon explains. “It was a heavy crop, with a lot of fruit. There was so much wine in the cellar that the team could not get to everything in a timely fashion, and so there were some lots that started to oxidize a bit, and that, naturally, made the wine bigger.” In tasting, though, there are no off aromas or mushroomy flavors that suggest the wine is fading. If anything, the 1983 is spectacularly beautiful right now, even in the presence of other wines from more highly reputed vintages. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, December 2018)

The 1983 Cristal is fabulous. Rich, ample and generous, the 1983 is incredibly inviting, with tons of class and personality. A wine of real volume and textural breadth, the 1983 has enough pedigree to drink well for many years. None of the elements stand out in the 1983, the whole is far greater than the sum of the parts. “Nineteen eighty-three is a different animal from some of the other wines of the decade,” Lécaillon explains. “It was a heavy crop, with a lot of fruit. There was so much wine in the cellar that the team could not get to everything in a timely fashion, and so there were some lots that started to oxidize a bit, and that, naturally, made the wine bigger.” In tasting, though, there are no off aromas or mushroomy flavors that suggest the wine is fading. If anything, the 1983 is spectacularly beautiful right now, even in the presence of other wines from more highly reputed vintages. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, December 2018)

Dec 21st, 2018
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9.7

Another highlight in this tasting, the 1981 Cristal is ridiculously great. Powerful and resonant in the glass, yet also nuanced, the 1981 is just starting to show the first signs of full maturity. Candied orange peel, apricot, dried flowers, chamomile and exotic spices all fill out the wine’s ample frame effortlessly. “The 1981 Cristal is really the last wine of the pre-climate change era in which the flavors were concentrated solely because of low yields,” Lécaillon continues. Even without that fascinating background, the 1981 is a stunning Champagne. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, December 2018)

Another highlight in this tasting, the 1981 Cristal is ridiculously great. Powerful and resonant in the glass, yet also nuanced, the 1981 is just starting to show the first signs of full maturity. Candied orange peel, apricot, dried flowers, chamomile and exotic spices all fill out the wine’s ample frame effortlessly. “The 1981 Cristal is really the last wine of the pre-climate change era in which the flavors were concentrated solely because of low yields,” Lécaillon continues. Even without that fascinating background, the 1981 is a stunning Champagne. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, December 2018)

Dec 21st, 2018
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9.7

The 1990 Cristal is remarkable. Polished, nuanced and light on its feet, the 1990 is all class. Citrus, orchard fruit and floral notes are wonderfully lifted throughout. A slight reductive note adds character on the finely knit finish. I can’t think of a better way to start this tasting. Simply put, the 1990 is a total rock star. Moreover, it is much more delicate than most wines from this ripe vintage. Amazingly, the 1990 tastes like it is still not ready! “Nineteen ninety was my second vintage here,” says Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon. “It was ideal. The fruit was just perfect. We blocked the malolactic fermentation completely and only fermented 6-7% of our lots in oak, as opposed to the more typical 20%, in order to preserve as much freshness as possible. The wine was made by my predecessor, Michel Pansu, but I was learning. This was the first year I started working with oxygen by reducing sulfites in vinification to pre-oxidize the Chardonnay musts, as I do know, which allows me to get rid of all the unstable, oxidative compounds. With Pinot, on the other hand, you need a little bit of sulfur at crush or you lose the brilliant fruit. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, December 2018)

The 1990 Cristal is remarkable. Polished, nuanced and light on its feet, the 1990 is all class. Citrus, orchard fruit and floral notes are wonderfully lifted throughout. A slight reductive note adds character on the finely knit finish. I can’t think of a better way to start this tasting. Simply put, the 1990 is a total rock star. Moreover, it is much more delicate than most wines from this ripe vintage. Amazingly, the 1990 tastes like it is still not ready! “Nineteen ninety was my second vintage here,” says Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon. “It was ideal. The fruit was just perfect. We blocked the malolactic fermentation completely and only fermented 6-7% of our lots in oak, as opposed to the more typical 20%, in order to preserve as much freshness as possible. The wine was made by my predecessor, Michel Pansu, but I was learning. This was the first year I started working with oxygen by reducing sulfites in vinification to pre-oxidize the Chardonnay musts, as I do know, which allows me to get rid of all the unstable, oxidative compounds. With Pinot, on the other hand, you need a little bit of sulfur at crush or you lose the brilliant fruit. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, December 2018)

Dec 21st, 2018
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9.8

One of the two or three most moving wines in this vertical, the 1988 Cristal is eternal. Deep and vertical, with Gothic spires of soaring aromatic, flavor and structural intensity, the 1988 has it all. At thirty years of age, the 1988 is fresh, vibrant and incredibly powerful. Lemon peel, white flower, chalk and almonds are all given an extra kick of vibrancy from the bright acids and underlying energy of the vintage. Even after three decades, the 1988 remains searing, classically austere and beautifully focused, with tremendous pedigree and stunning balance. The 1988 is a rare Cristal where the Chardonnay, at 48% of the blend, is on the higher side. “When I joined Roederer in 1989, we were blending the 1988s,” Lécaillon explains. “They were such hard wines to work with because the acidities were so high. My teeth suffered. I thought ‘am I going to have to deal with this for the rest of my life? Maybe I should change jobs?’” Luckily, he did not. “In 1988, flowering was very bad for the Chardonnay. Yields were quite low and flavors were super-intense and concentrated. This, to me, is one of the keys for making great Champagne with real dimension. Interestingly, the same is not true of Pinot Noir. Keep a glass of the 1988 to compare with the 2008 later. In my opinion, 2008 is the new 1988.” (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, December 2018)

One of the two or three most moving wines in this vertical, the 1988 Cristal is eternal. Deep and vertical, with Gothic spires of soaring aromatic, flavor and structural intensity, the 1988 has it all. At thirty years of age, the 1988 is fresh, vibrant and incredibly powerful. Lemon peel, white flower, chalk and almonds are all given an extra kick of vibrancy from the bright acids and underlying energy of the vintage. Even after three decades, the 1988 remains searing, classically austere and beautifully focused, with tremendous pedigree and stunning balance. The 1988 is a rare Cristal where the Chardonnay, at 48% of the blend, is on the higher side. “When I joined Roederer in 1989, we were blending the 1988s,” Lécaillon explains. “They were such hard wines to work with because the acidities were so high. My teeth suffered. I thought ‘am I going to have to deal with this for the rest of my life? Maybe I should change jobs?’” Luckily, he did not. “In 1988, flowering was very bad for the Chardonnay. Yields were quite low and flavors were super-intense and concentrated. This, to me, is one of the keys for making great Champagne with real dimension. Interestingly, the same is not true of Pinot Noir. Keep a glass of the 1988 to compare with the 2008 later. In my opinion, 2008 is the new 1988.” (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, December 2018)

Dec 21st, 2018