Tasting Notes

The 2014 Cristal is another in a long line of gorgeous wines from Roederer and long-time Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon. A dazzling, vibrant Champagne, the 2014 impresses with a stunning combination of fruit density and linear energy that brings to mind a hypothetical blend of 2012 and 2008. At times, the bubbles feel totally wrapped up in waves of creamy, resonant fruit to the point the mousse is barely perceptible, especially with aeration. The flavors are bright and finely sculpted, leaning very much into the citrus, floral and mineral end of the spectrum. The blend is a classic: 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay taken from 39 of the 45 parcels that comprise the Cristal estate. In most vintages, the Pinot components are roughly equally split between Verzy/Verzenay and Aÿ, but in 2014, Lécaillon favored Verzy and Verzenay, two north facing villages in the Montagne de Reims (where rain was less problematic) known for conferring saline energy and vibrancy. Rain was much more of an issue in the Vallée de la Marne. Consequently, some of the Pinots in Aÿ were diluted and did not make it into the blend. Chardonnays were sourced from historic plots in Avize, Mesnil and Cramant. About 32% of the lots were fermented in wood, the rest were done in tank. As always, all of the malolactic fermentations were blocked. In 2014, the growing season was marked by a good spring followed by a cool, wet summer and then very favorable weather in September. I vividly recall that there was not much enthusiasm for the vintage at the outset. Today, though, opinions are starting to change, at least with regards to some wines. The 2014 Cristal is a riveting Champagne. Don’t miss it. 98pts Antonio Galloni

Medium straw-yellow colour, with a super-complex bouquet that summons nougat, almond-iced pastries, peanut brittle and lemon juice. A hint of milk powder. The palate is searingly intense and powered by vivacious lemony acidity, while the creaminess of the mousse is exquisite. The finish is very long and refined, the texture creamy and seamless in its effortless flow. A wonderful wine, but the acidity is challenging solo and it really cries out for food, even something as simple as oysters. I'd give it more time to lose its austerity. (60% pinot noir, 40% chardonnay. 32% vinified in oak. No malolactic. Dosage 7 grams/litre.) Tasted February 2022. 98pts Huon Hooke