Robert Parker 96+
Roederer's 2002 Cristal is still in its infant, fresh stage. Subtle notes of pears, flowers, spices, mint, minerals and oak are woven into a cashmere-like frame of extraordinary grace and elegance. This beautifully-sculpted Champagne possesses notable clarity but with the additional depth of fruit that is characteristic of this vintage. It is a gorgeous, seductive Cristal of the highest level. In 2002, Cristal is 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay with 10 grams of dosage. 20% of the wine was fermented in oak. This is Lot : L030351A107809. This bottle was disgorged in June 28th, 2007. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2032.
Roederer is one of the most impressive estates in Champagne. Few houses have managed to reconcile this level production in a negociant operation while achieving such a consistently outstanding level of quality across the entire range. Roederer owns 214 hectares of vineyards, which is enough to meet 65-70% of the house's needs. The vintage wines are made from 100% estate-grown fruit, while the NV wines are made with the addition of roughly 45% purchased fruit. Generally speaking, malolactic fermentation and oak aging are used to a higher degree for the NV range than for the vintage wines. Dosage varies as well, and ranges from 11-12 grams for the entry-level wines to 9-10 for the tete de cuvee Cristal. Unfortunately because if its rabid following the vast majority of Cristal is drunk upon release, which is ironic, if not downright tragic, considering Cristal is a wine that starts peaking around age 15-20, and that can last much longer under ideal storage conditions. With Cristal, Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon aims to make an ageworthy Champagne that is fresh and floral when young, but that is also capable of considerable development with bottle age, qualities the finest Cristals have in spades. In the best vintages one tank of Cristal Rose is also made that features the exquisite Pinot Noir of Ay. Unfortunately Roederer does not provide disgorgement dates for its wines, but the bottles have codes that can be traced back to dates at the winery. It would be great to see this venerable property add a simple disgorgement date, at least for their top wines, considering the significant financial investment required to purchase them.