Long-time Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste caillon has produced yet another in a string of superb Champagnes with the 2007 Cristal. Rich, powerful and enveloping, the 2007 takes hold of all the senses and never lets up. The aromatics alone are captivating, but then the wine opens on the palate, revealing layer after layer of flavor to match a multi-dimensional, kaleidoscopic personality that will leave Champagne lovers weak at the knees. The 2007 is 58% Chardonnay and 42% Pinot Noir, which is to say a bit more Chardonnay-leaning than is the norm. The 2007 is striking today, but it should also age effortlessly for several decades. It is also without question one of the very finest new releases of the year. 95 points Wine Enthusiast*Cellar Selection* Although it is still young, this vintage of Cristal promises great things. There’s an impressive balance between ripe fruit and crisp acidity, rich and food friendly, but also a fine apteritif. Apricot and grapefruit flavors are round and rich, but with considerable minerality as well. This is a beautiful wine that can improve with age, at least through 2030.
This elegant version shows beautiful texture and a sense of finesse despite the underlying power of vibrant acidity and smoky minerality. The palate offers a finely layered mesh of blackberry, poached pear, almond pastry, lemon zest and pickled ginger flavors. Drink now through 2028.
My visit to these historic cellars earlier in the year was an eye-opening experience. I spent several hours with Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon tasting through a wide range of 2009s vins claires. Readers may want to take a look at my feature on www.erobertparker.com for more on those wines. The visit was capped off by previews of the 2004 Cristal and the as-yet-unreleased Cristal Rose. Both were superb. Over the last six months the 2004 Cristal has come together beautifully and is shaping up to be a truly great, monumental Champagne. From top to bottom, this is an impressive set of wines. My only real criticism of Roederer is the estate's insistence on using lot numbers that resemble missile launch codes in their complexity. Surely something simpler must be possible.