Louis Roederer "Cristal" Brut Champagne 2014 (Champagne, France) - [WS 98,
Louis Roederer "Cristal" Brut Champagne 2014 (Champagne, France) - [WS 98,

Louis Roederer "Cristal" Brut Champagne 2014
(Champagne, France) - [WS 98, #10 Top 100 Of '22] [VM 98] [JD 98] [JS 97] [WE 97, #1 Top 100 Of '22] [WA 96] [DM 95]


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About the winery:

Louis Roederer has been synonymous with the world's great Champagnes since 1776, and it is one of the rare family owned companies, which is still managed by the Roederer family today. They are also one of the only French champagne producers to own nearly 75 percent of the grapes in the most desirable vineyards in the Champagne. The property is located on 450 acres in the finest villages of Montagne de Reims, Côtes des Blancs, and Valleé de la Marne. Each region is selected to produce Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with the elegance needed for perfectly balanced champagne. The Louis Roederer vineyards rate an average 98 percent based on France’s statutory 100-point classification scale.

Champagne Louis Roederer's "Cristal" was created in 1876 for Tsar Alexander II as the first "Prestige Cuvee" and it remains as such to this day.  These are the best grapes from the best sites in the best vintages.  The Champagne, a blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay, spends an average of five years sur lie, and is notable for its richness. Cristal is an all-estate Champagne, from 50 hectares of vines: the best, oldest and chalkiest parts of Louis Roederer's vineyards.  They farm these plots, which are roughly 1/3 from the Cotes de Blancs, 1/3 from the north-facing side of the Mountain de Reims and 1/3 from Ay, differently from the rest of the estate, intentionally working the land for lower yields and higher quality.

Technical Data

No malolactic fermentation. The dosage is 7.5g/L.

Varietals: 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay (32% vinified in oak casks)
Dosage: 7.5 g/L

Tasting Notes

Golden yellow in color with glistening gold tints. Incredibly dynamic effervescence, so lively you can almost hear it! Rich and complex aromas with notes of zesty and candied fruit (lemon) mingled with pollen (white flowers), roasted hazelnut and Madagascar vanilla. After aeration, the bouquet develops rich notes of fresh pastries and smoky notes from bottle aging. A delicious, concentrated and chalky palate. It shows incredible tension and perfectly honed aromatic precision. The attack is powerful, distinctive and concentrated and reveals a silky, mouth-coating texture, characteristic of the ripe Pinot noirs from the 2012 vintage. The finish is long and remarkably concentrated. A deep and vinous wine, bright and noble, a true Cristal. It is balanced by a chalky freshness that cuts through and stretches the wine giving it with a slender fuselage and great finesse.

Ratings & Reviews

98 Points, #10 Top 100 of 2022 - Wine Spectator:
"An enlightened expression from a season of extremes, this has intensity, ripeness and depth of fruit that is underpinned by chalk soil-derived structure and freshness. Complex nose with lemon and grapefruit aromas, as well as closed red apple, blood orange, light biscuit spices and toasted hazelnuts. Super fresh. The palate starts pithy and fleshy with pink grapefruit, blood orange, red apple, sliced strawberry and nectarine. Expansive and mouth-filling build that is driven by concentrated fruit, Then it tightens and turns to a more mineral edge, before smoothly honed phenolics finish it long. It is 60% pinot noir and 40% chardonnay, 32% oak fermentation in those same proportions, no chaptalization, no malolactic and a dosage of 7g per liter. From organically farmed grapes. Very complex, it strikes a natural balance and is very drinkable already, though will develop well for more than a decade in the cellar." - Alison Napjus (June 2022)

98 Points - Vinous Media:
"The 2014 Cristal is another in a long line of gorgeous wines from Roederer and long-time Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon. A dazzling, vibrant Champagne, the 2014 impresses with a stunning combination of fruit density and linear energy that brings to mind a hypothetical blend of 2012 and 2008. At times, the bubbles feel totally wrapped up in waves of creamy, resonant fruit to the point the mousse is barely perceptible, especially with aeration. The flavors are bright and finely sculpted, leaning very much into the citrus, floral and mineral end of the spectrum.

The blend is a classic: 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay taken from 39 of the 45 parcels that comprise the Cristal estate. In most vintages, the Pinot components are roughly equally split between Verzy/Verzenay and Aÿ, but in 2014, Lécaillon favored Verzy and Verzenay, two north facing villages in the Montagne de Reims (where rain was less problematic) known for conferring saline energy and vibrancy. Rain was much more of an issue in the Vallée de la Marne. Consequently, some of the Pinots in Aÿ were diluted and did not make it into the blend. Chardonnays were sourced from historic plots in Avize, Mesnil and Cramant. About 32% of the lots were fermented in wood, the rest were done in tank. As always, all of the malolactic fermentations were blocked. In 2014, the growing season was marked by a good spring followed by a cool, wet summer and then very favorable weather in September. I vividly recall that there was not much enthusiasm for the vintage at the outset. Today, though, opinions are starting to change, at least with regards to some wines.

Since 2012, Cristal has been made entirely from organically-farmed grapes, an approach Lécaillon adopted in order to achieve a more ideal and parallel relationship between sugar and phenolic ripeness. “Champagne is always a battle between picking too early and rot,” Lécaillon has often said during our tastings. One of the other benefits of organic farming is that it naturally lowers yields. As Champagne fans know, the great wines of the 1950s and 1960s were made at a time when yields were in the 5,000 kilo per hectare range. Then, in the 1980s, widespread planting of higher-yielding clones led to an entirely different situation in the vineyard. Today’s permitted yields are 11,000 kilos per hectare, with some variation in years that present unusual growing conditions. With organic farming, yields for Cristal are in the 7,000-9,000 kilo per hectare range. Another innovation at Roederer has been a focus on higher-density plantings with newer vineyards, an approach that encourages low production per vine. But back to the wine.

The 2014 Cristal is a riveting Champagne. Don’t miss it. Drink 2024-2064." - Antonio Galloni (Feb 2022)

98 Points - Jeb Dunnuck:
"Sourced from 39 plots, the 2014 Champagne Cristal is 60% Pinot Noir and the remainder Chardonnay, with 32% aged in oak, and it has 7 grams per liter dosage. It is highly expressive of classic elegance and purity, revealing aromas of crushed rock, almond croissant, and perfume of citrus blossoms. The palate is hyper-refined in its mousse, with pinpoint bubbles, a subtly rounded mid-palate, an irresistible chalky texture, and energy throughout its long and floral finish. Everything about this feels perfectly tailored. Drink 2024-2044." (11/1/2022)

97 Points, #1 Top 100 Cellar Selections 2022 - Wine Enthusiast:
"Still young, with toast aromas and shining white-fruit flavors, the latest release of Cristal is just setting out. A dry, tight core of intense flavors are shot through with minerality from the pure chalk soil of the 45 individual parcels in the blend. Drink this wine from 2025. Organic." -ROGER VOSS (7/1/22)

97 Points - James Suckling:
"An enlightened expression from a season of extremes, this has intensity, ripeness and depth of fruit that is underpinned by chalk soil-derived structure and freshness. Complex nose with lemon and grapefruit aromas, as well as closed red apple, blood orange, light biscuit spices and toasted hazelnuts. Super fresh. The palate starts pithy and fleshy with pink grapefruit, blood orange, red apple, sliced strawberry and nectarine. Expansive and mouth-filling build that is driven by concentrated fruit, Then it tightens and turns to a more mineral edge, before smoothly honed phenolics finish it long. It is 60% pinot noir and 40% chardonnay, 32% oak fermentation in those same proportions, no chaptalization, no malolactic and a dosage of 7g per liter. From organically farmed grapes. Very complex, it strikes a natural balance and is very drinkable already, though will develop well for more than a decade in the cellar." (2/22)


96 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate:
"The 2014 Cristal is a terrific effort that transcends the vintage. Bursting from the glass with expressive aromas of ripe citrus fruit, nectarine, white flowers, freshly baked bread and subtle hints of honeycomb, it's medium to full-bodied, vinous and fleshy, with an exuberant core of fruit that's girdled by racy acids, resulting in a wine that's simultaneously chiseled and demonstrative, meaning that early appeal doesn't come at the expense of the requisite tension for long-term cellaring. Concluding with a long, aromatic and intensely chalky finish, it is a brilliant Champagne that will offer a broad drinking window. This bottle was disgorged in June 2021 with seven grams per liter dosage." - William Kelly (Feb 2022)

95 Points - Decanter Magazine:

"The rollercoaster growing season of 2014 is reflected to perfection by the innate tension here; ripe citric fruit and even a touch of exoticism (mango and fig) tempered by a fine shard of acidity and a lifted ethereal character, described paradoxically by chef de caves Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon as ‘weightless density’. Purity, energy and power make for very happy bedfellows, courtesy the chalky terroir and its organic husbandry. The texture is silky, the bubbles joyfully integrated and the finish resourceful and precise, its salinity deferential to the deep-digging roots." Disgorged: June 2021. Dosage: 7g/L. (Drink between 2022-2030) - Simon Fields (Jan 2022)