2013 Louis Roederer 'Cristal' Brut Champagne
Winemaker's Notes: A golden hue with soft, glowing highlights. Fine, steady, gentle bubbles. Powerful and complex on the palate, revealing a mixture of yellow fruit (mirabelle plum), juicy, ripe fruits (nectarine), citrus peel (candied orange) and finely-roasted nuts (hazelnut). The nose is simultaneously powdery and sweet, with elegant, chalky notes. Gentle, tactile and full-bodied on the palate. The bubbles create a gentle, vibrating sensation, then the wine becomes soft, dense and juicy. But it is the chalky freshness that quickly sets the tone: the sweetness becomes energetic and intense, giving the wine an elegant yet powerful texture. Fine, textured tannins reveal a poised and vinous dimension to the wine. The finish is savory and saline. Blend: 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay
The perfect embodiment of chalky purity, Cristal 2013 is a little restrained in its youth. Its perfumed finesse and great elegance draw their energy this year from the slow ripening of the grapes. This is a masterfully crafted wine, glowing and concentrated, which leans towards the soil, reflecting the salinity of its terroir as never before.
James Suckling - "This is quite chalky with firm phenolics that frame the wine beautifully. It’s medium-to full-bodied with strawberries and earth. Dense, linear and intense. Hints of brioche and pie crust at the end. Very structured and gorgeous. Salty and lightly chewy. One third of the base wines fermented and aged in oak. Connoisseur Champagne. From organic vineyards of the Roederer domains. Smaller production than normal. Seven years on the lees. Give it two or three years to open."
Vinous - "The 2013 Cristal is a wine of extraordinary precision and tension. Searing acids drive a bold, racy Champagne that won’t be ready to offer its best drinking anytime soon. In recent vintages, Cristal has been quite open on release. That is far from the case with the 2013. Readers should plan on being quite patient. The blend is 60% Pinot Noir (from Aÿ, Verzy, Verzenay, Beaumont-sur-Vesle) and 40% Chardonnay (Mesnil, Avize, Cramant). Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon was especially selective and used only 30 out of the potential 45 plots that are typically available for Cristal. About 32% of the lots were done in oak, the rest in steel, with the malolactic fermentation blocked across the board. It was an October harvest, the sort of harvest that has become increasingly rare in Champagne. Lecaillon describes the summer as similar to 2012, but adds the vines were a month behind in their development. In tasting, the 2013 reminds me of the 1996 in its austerity, even more so than the epic 2008. 97+"
John Gilman - "The 2013 vintage of Cristal from Maison Louis Roederer is the only one in the last two decades to be made from fruit that was harvested in October, as global warming has pushed most picking dates in the Champagne region forward into September. Spring was cool and flowering in 2013 did not occur until the month of July- almost unheard of in recent times! The cépages this year is sixty percent pinot noir and forty percent chardonnay, with one-third of the vins clairs barrel-fermented for this vintage. As always, none of the vins clairs went through malolactic fermentation and the wine was finished with a dosage of eight grams per liter. The wine delivers a beautiful young bouquet of apple, a hint of pear, yellow plum, a complex base of chalky minerality, brioche and a lovely array of fruit blossoms in the upper register. On the palate the wine is bright, full-bodied, focused and complex, with impeccable balance, a superb core, laser-like focus, very elegant mousse and a long, vibrant and very classy finish. This has the structure to age long and gracefully and may well close down a bit over the next couple of years, but for the moment, it so seamlessly balanced that I find it very easy to drink out of the blocks (which is not customary for my palate with Cristal, which I usually want to bury in the cellar for a decade!). This is a very beautiful vintage of Cristal and a very, very worthy follow-up to the stellar 2012 version!"
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate - "Notes of crisp yellow orchard fruit, white flowers, blanched almonds and warm brioche introduce the 2013 Cristal, a full-bodied, layered and incisive wine that's taut and chiseled but also notably exuberant in a vintage that I admire immensely but which can sometimes present an austere side. Deep, concentrated and penetrating, it's complemented by a pinpoint mousse and concludes with a long, saline finish. Less introverted than its 2012 predecessor, readers won't regret trying a bottle of the 2013 Cristal young—even if I'd recommend forgetting some for a decade too."
Jeb Dunnuck - "Lots of ripe orchard fruits, toasted bread, brioche, and chalky mineral notes define the nose, and it's medium to full-bodied, with a layered, nicely concentrated, tight, inward style, beautiful precision and purity, and a great finish. It needs a good 5-7 years of bottle age to hit its stride and will keep for two decades or more."
Decanter - "The peak of drinkability is between 15 and 20 years from the harvest; so says Jean-Baptiste, but he has not spared the taster the wondrous early impression of perfection in the making. A soft gold with glistening highlights, like the river meadow at dawn; the nose effortlessly marries a panoply of flavours, the citric grip nodding to hints of passion fruit and Mirabelle plum, with hazelnut and almond signaling the grace of development. Texturally generous, yet tightly wound, taut and flinty yet ripe and open, the wine faithfully underlines the vigneron’s philosophy, every nuance of its template deftly rehearsed and charmingly enacted."
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