If a wine could ever make you want to pull the top down on your '68 Ferrari convertible, rip off the rearview mirror and take off, this is it. It has a different kind of energy than the '02 Cristal Rosé, which is more ethereal, like strawberries at the right hand of some ancient Gallic god. This is more insolent, brash, earth bound. All the scents and flavors seem to emanate from limestone, as does the acidity, which hits at the front of the mouth and powers through the wine with the kind of solar energy that lifts mist off the white chalk on a cool morning in Cramant. The wine goes on for miles. It's already irresistible, and will only improve with ten, 20, 30 and 40 years of age.
60% pinot noir and 40% chardonnay, all 45 estate plots are used in this vintage. This was picked earlier than most others, but it is a very ripe and rich vintage with citrus and light, white chocolate notes, with some honey and nougat, as well as hints of smokiness. A pithy grapefruit-flavored palate, with some smooth toffee and nectarine fruits. Extremely fleshy, and chalky, too. The fruits are caramelised in terms of texture. Glossy and lustrous at the edge. A superb wine.
This is an exceptional wine, as is the vintage. The fruits - grapefruit, crisp red apple - balance with a fine yeasty character. There is a great depth of flavor, the fruits going in a pure line of freshness. The one problem is that it is much too young, the result of the demand from the market for the next vintage. Age this wine for at least four years. (RV)
From one of the true landmark vintages of Champagne, this is a titanic Cristal which pulsates with energy and verve. Though already fifteen years of age, it is still remarkably young and taut with tensile mineral strength. The stone and citrus-laden fruit is still in its infancy with just a developing hint of toasty brioche, vanilla and almond. Its purity, depth, weight and mouthfeel is balanced by a great arc of acidity, which will frame the wine for the long haul. A hugely impressive Cristal, but this is still not ready. (JS)
The 2002 Cristal is just now beginning to enter a plateau of early maturity. The ripeness and exuberance is on full display, but the 2002 needs quite a bit of air to fully open up and show its personality. Today, the 2002 is racy and intense to the core, with fabulous balance and plenty of the vintage's trademark opulence. What a gorgeous Champagne this is. (AG)
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