Louis Roederer Cristal 2002 75 cl

In 1876, Tsar Alexander II – already a great lover of Louis Roederer wines – asked Louis Roederer to ‘take the exercise still further’ and create a cuvée for his personal use which was unique, in terms of both its style and the bottle. So Louis Roederer offered him an exceptional crystal bottle, holding the fruit of vines selected from the seven great crus on his estate. This cuvée would be offered only in the truly ‘great’ years in which the ripeness of the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes could provide the subtle, precise balance that has now become synonymous with the leading prestige cuvée of Champagne.


This was a characteristically dry, warm year with outbreaks of heavy rain. August was a month of extremes, with rain followed by scorching temperatures then violent thundery intervals.  An anticyclone at the start of September gave way to rain towards 8 September followed by fine weather that lasted throughout the harvest with the exception of light drizzle.  The vintage was marked by the outstanding quality of the grapes, registering a degree of alcohol content rarely achieved in Champagne.

Highlights: an early-maturing year brought about by dry soil conditions that accelerated ripening;  work in the vineyards to improve the quality of the yield: targeted manuring at the start of the season; pruning to restrict yields; crown suckering of fruit-bearing shoots to remove excess clusters; green harvesting over a total 20 ha area;  sunny conditions throughout the month of September.

These conditions allowed us to start harvesting on 12 September in the Côte des Blancs, September 13 in the Marne Valley, and 16 September in the Montagne de Reims.

Harvesting in each vineyard sector lasted 13 days and pickers were in excellent spirits. From the beginning of the harvest, grapes registered 11-12.2º alcohol with a consistent acidity level of 7g/l. Average yield of 12.280 kg/ha, overall productivity targets. The quality of the grapes was remarkable throughout the vineyard.

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SKU: 078 Category: Tag: Product ID: 1888


To the eye, brilliant yellow with light amber highlights.  A beautiful mousse with fine cordon of persistent and regular bubbles.

On the nose, intense and delicate.  Revealing a clean and well-blended mixture of flavours of honey, cocoa, lightly toasted hazelnuts, candied citrus fruit…  without exuberance, but luxurious simplicity!

In the mouth, a savoury explosion of ripe fruit on the attack, revealing red fruit, white chocolate, caramel and Danish pastry, typical of Cristal.   Silky, concentrated texture, leaning on intense, powerful and vinous structure, but maintaining refinement.  The palate builds up to attain a delicious sensation of well-blended harmony of flavours.  A fresh finish with a hint of bitterness making it almost crunchy.

All the exceptional characteristics of the 2002 vintage have literally been captured in this 2002 Cristal, which is generous and lush, revealing perfect balance between concentration and finesse, freshness and vinosity, intensity and refinement.  In three words:  proud, rich and luxurious.

55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay

Dosage: 10 g/l, from a selected blend of 8 to 10 of the very best crus from the Louis Roederer vineyard aged in oak.

The strength and finesse of Cristal are perfectly suited to delicate foods.  It is a flattering accompaniment to caviar, fish and shellfish such as scallops, John Dory, lobster and crayfish.

Serve at a temperature of 8°C (46°F) to 10°C (50°F).  We recommend that you leave the bottle to cool in the refrigerator for 2 H.  Alternatively, immerse the bottle up to its neck in a champagne bucket filled with ice before serving.  Never cool the bottle in the freezer since this breaks the wine.

The 2002 Cristal is a gorgeous, sculpted wine of extraordinary elegance. Graceful, well-delineated aromatics lead to ripe pears, spices, flowers, minerals and mint in this precise Champagne. Today the 2002 appears to have slightly more fruit than the 1996, and perhaps slightly better overall balance, although that is splitting hairs at this level. The wine remains fresh and in need of several years of cellaring before it hits its stride. In 2002 Cristal is 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. 20% of the wine was aged in oak, and dosage was 10 grams. This bottle was disgorged in December 2007.

— Antonio Galloni


What more can be said about the 2002 Louis Roederer Cristal …

Having been lucky enough to have taste the 2002 over the past several years, and most recently in September 2016 I can honestly say that it is entering its prime drinking window now. In previous years like most Cristal’s it was rather young and a shame to drink so early. Apricot, pears, spice, roses, wild berries, can all be tasted as the first zip dances in your mouth, ever so perfectly smooth and balanced making it delightful to enjoy and savour over a couple of hours. That perfectly smooth and mineral balance can only be found in perfect Champagnes. If correctly cellared this will easily last 20/30 years and beyond!

On this occasion the food pairing was Tuna/Salmon Sashimi and assortment of Sushi Maki’s for the main course. A fantastic dessert pairing was homemade apple pie and vanilla ice cream. The 2002 Cristal was voted 2016’s World Best Champagne.

— Alex_Champagne

100/100 (September 2016)

Additional information

Weight3.5 kg