There are times when I get to taste a wine that odds are, I would never get a chance to try. This happened at The Fine Wine Source in in Livonia, Michigan as I was doing a wine tasting. The Vintage Wine Company was representing Maisons Marques & Domaines, the marketing arm of Champagne Louis Roederer USA, Inc. They were offering ten different wines from this agency that they represent and there was a fine turnout for this tasting, and at times, it does get a bit claustrophobic, but I think that is part of the charm of the tastings there, and people seem to understand that I make a pest of myself as I take my photos and my notes.
Louis Roederer after changing the family owned business to his name, began some unique business practices for the day; like buying his own vineyards, instead of relying on the work of others, and he also began exporting his wine in the 1870’s to the United States and to Tsar Alexander II of Russia. He created a special Champagne for the Tsar, the first Cuvée de Prestige in 1876 and named it “Cristal.” This special wine even had a special bottle designed in leaded crystal and was a flat-bottomed bottle with no indentation in the bottle, as the Tsar was afraid of a bomb being potentially placed in the indentation with the intention of assassination. “Cristal” is only produced when a vintage is declared and since the year 2000, they have only declared nine vintages.
Louis Roederer Cristal 2007 is from one of those vintages and the fruit for this wine is estate only and from some of the oldest vines and their finest vineyards. This wine was aged for six years on the lees, and after the disgorging the wine rests an additional eight months to fully mature, before being released. The wine is a blend of sixty percent Pinot Noir and forty percent Chardonnay. It had a very pretty golden color with the slightest tinge of maybe some orange, that may not show up in the photo. It was a very silky wine with limestone terroir sharing with tastes of pear, currants and hazelnuts for a delightful finish. Perhaps it was best said by the Cellar Master Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon who said “Cristal 2007 is a magnificent example of Cristal’s ‘discreet power.’”