It is a tribute to the special qualities of the 2008 vintage that this Cristal has benefitted from longer in bottle than any other Cristal: 10 years. More malo and a little more oak on this wine that Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon claims is all the better for the lessons learnt with the similarly high-acid 1996 vintage. Just one sniff and you're assailed by the most extraordinary combination of density and lift. There's a hint of lime and it's extremely tight (I'd guess it has only just been deemed ready to release) and firm on the finish. But there is just so much pleasure to be had already. Super-fresh but so concentrated that there is no question of austerity. So much to dig into here. It will surely slowly unfurl but is already gorgeous. Hedonistic rather than intellectual. Very special. (19/20 points) (JR)
This expresses a sense of focus and vibrancy to the overall structure, while the palate is all grace and charm. A fine, lacy texture carries a tapestry of ripe white cherry, toast point, blood orange zest, honey and ground ginger notes, with a minerally, mouthwatering finish. A stunning Champagne with a long future ahead of it. (AN)
It is a 60/40 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from 36 plots in seven grands crus: Verzy, Verzenay, Beaumont and Aÿ for the Pinot Noir and Mesnil, Avize and Cramant for the Chardonnay. Twenty-five percent of the wine was fermented in oak, and 16% underwent malolactic fermentation to moderate the fresh acidity of the 2008 vintage. The assemblage was bottled in May 2009. After 8.5 years on the second lees (longer than any Cristal before), the first release was disgorged in September 2017 with a relatively low dosage of 7.5 grams per liter. The 2008 Cristal opens bright, super clear, fresh and pure on the exciting, absolutely fascinating nose with its fine, complex and elegant bouquet of gorgeously ripe and matured fruits, brioche and chalk expressions. This is the finest you can get from Champagne. The palate is pure, lean, fresh and filigreed but concentrated, highly complex, full of tension and enormously vibrant. This is a great vin de terroir, a dense and elegant Super-Cristal that goes straight and precise as a laser beam over the palate but also has texture in the form of sensually fleshy fruit. The dosage, however, is the lowest ever: just 7.5 grams. The endless and highly tensioned finish is complex, citrusy fresh, full of chalk and crystalline finesse. The 2008 Cristal is a vitalizing drug, 'the Chevalier Montrachet of Champagne,' as Jean-Baptise Lécaillon puts it. It is the most exciting 2008 Champagne I have tasted thus far. 97+ points. (SR)
The 2008 Cristal is a real head-turner. Powerful, ample and explosive in all of its dimensions, the 2008 takes hold of the sense and never lets up. There is a crystalline purity to the flavors that is simply remarkable. Although still a baby, the 2008 looks like it will soon take its place alongside the greatest Cristals. Today, it is breathtaking. (AG) 98+
Cristal 2008 is on a roll to yet higher levels of exquisite purity and precision of fruit in a paradoxical balance of weightlessness and depth of flavour, permeated with minerals and a salinity reflecting the greatest terroirs of the Roederer estate. Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon believes that 2008 is his best effort to date, and it's easy to see why. It's from a cooler, maritime vintage that came right in the end, with one of the longest harvests ever, running from mid-September to early October. The colour is a stylish pale gold flecked with green. Aromas of white flowers are joined by a cleansing citrus vigour and richer tones of peach and mirabelle. The palate is still quiet, but a tender creaminnes shows through, and there's so much concentration to come if you drink if after 2021. The greatness of the wine owes everything to the influence of organic and biodynamic precepts in the field - and Lecaillon's sleepless perfectionism in the cellar towards finer fruit and a careful brake on too much yeasty expression. The acidity is vibrant but better integrated in the 2008 than in the 1996. Magnificent. Dosage 7.7g/l. (ME)
This is not the only exceptional aspect of the 2008 Cristal, as this is one of the very, very few vintages of this iconic wine that has included a small percentage of vins clairs that have gone through malolactic fermentation, as Monsieur Lécaillon observed that sixteen percent of the blend in 2008 is composed of wines that went through malo. The results are magical, as this small part of the blend that has undergone malolactic fermentation seems to have rounded off the snappy acids of 2008 a bit and given the wine an unprecedented textural accessibility out of the blocks that was not found in a similarly racy vintage like 1996, which was tensile and hermetically sealed when first released. Twenty percent of the vins clairs for the 2008 Cristal were barrel-fermented and the wine was finished with a dosage of 7.5 grams per liter. The wine is flat out stunning, offering up a pure and youthfully complex bouquet of apple, lemon, warm brioche, stunningly complex, chalky minerality, a touch of orange zest, fresh almond and a floral topnote redolent of lemon blossoms and mimosa. On On the palate the wine is deep, fullbodied, complex and utterly seamless in its balance, with a great core, laser-like focus, utterly refined mousse and a very, very long, racy, complex and seamlessly balanced finish. This is a breathtakingly beautiful wine in the making!
This latest incarnation of the famous brand is a superb wine. It is on par with, maybe even better than, the already legendary 2002. Its balance is impeccable: Apple and citrus flavors working with the tight minerality to give a textured yet fruity wine. Produced from Roederer's own vineyards which are mainly biodynamic, the wine has its own intense purity and crispness. It has amazing potential and is likely to age for many years. Drink from 2020. *Top 100 Cellar Selection 2017 #5* (RV)
Disgorged October 2016 and will be the first Cristal to be released ten years from harvest when it is offered in 2018. 35 parcels used from a possible 45 in this vintage. The assemblage is 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. This is so fresh and tense and mineral with extremely exuberant chardonnay notes on the nose of white peach, lemon and yellow grapefruit, and hints of almost brambly sous bois aromas. The yeast characters are also super fresh, and there are subtle woody notes, with a hint of vanilla bean and light spices. The palate is super long, and very pure, powerful and focused. It drives deep and taut. Pinot Noir is a strong core and the Chardonnay sits at the edge offering lemon and white nectarine sorbet flavors. Staggeringly concentrated, yet the balance makes it seem airy and light. Acidity is perfectly positioned, and the power is intense and long. This is an ultra precise Cristal, finishing with a mere suggestion of savoriness and warmth to come. Impressive on release, this will be at its best drinking from 2025.
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