2002 Louis Roederer "Cristal" Brut Champagne
Wine & Spirits
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 irresistable, and will only improve with ten, 20, 30 and 40 years of age.
An exceptional vintage with the same piercing drive and precision as the scintillating 1996. Intensity and fine concentration are the hallmarks of this fine Champagne; chalky aromas, fine citrus and tight, minerally restraint, some quite concentrated stone fruits here, peach and nectarine, really assertive, some flint and mineral too. The palate is needle-like in its precision, piercing acidity and fine floral notes, clean and long. Not one to be missed. A concentrated vintage with wind dehydrating the grapes ahead of harvest. An exotically flavoured, yet tightly structured Cristal.
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)
*Three Stars* Its Pinot Noir portion notwithstanding, this wine has a crisp, chalky, lightly citrusy, lightly toasty aroma that is more than a little bit suggestive of an elegant Blanc de Blancs. And perhaps that is its secret. It is an incredibly refined yet deep wine whose suggestions of roasted soy and caramel are kept as complex nuances within a well-filled, refreshing, crisp set of flavors and a graceful, lengthy aftertaste. It occupies a comfortable middle ground between the quiet refinement of Dom Perignon and the bold approaches of the top Bollinger and Krug wines.
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)
A suave customer, with hints of citrus, berry and coffee. Harmonious and refined, with freshness and a bright structure. The finish shows a lot of potential, with a mouthwatering aftertaste. Better than previously reviewed. Drink now through 2030. (BS, Web-2009)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Light, bright gold with a steady bead. Orange, ripe pear, red berries and white flowers on the nose, with complementary notes of lemon, honey, sweet butter and smoky minerals. Ripe citrus and orchard fruit flavors are braced by gentle minerality, picking up subtle baking spice and buttered toast notes with air. Surprisingly generous at this stage, with smoky mineral and floral qualities on the finish. (JR)