2002 Louis Roederer "Cristal" Brut Rosé Champagne
Wine & Spirits
Levi Dalton at Convivio (NYC) compared this wine to the pianist who hits the right keys at the right moment. He's referring to the precision of the wine, which is astonishing. There is no singular flavor, but rather a resonant chord, a series of oppositions that create the invisible intensity of an electric current, the power of the charge balanced by the elegance of the flavor and the structure of the wine. You could describe it as light and brisk, or bold and intense; either way, you'll still be tasting it ten minutes later. As Peter Liem pointed out, "You could use any descriptor in the world and apply it to this wine. It is an Ur wine." The most exciting thing about it is the thought of what it will become.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2002 Brut Cristal Rose shows the classic Roederer introspectiveness that can sometimes make the wines hard to grasp when they are young. It, too, is a relatively lightly-colored rose. The bouquet is beautifully woven into a fabric of layered, ripe fruit. With some time in the glass, the wine’s textural beauty becomes more apparent, but this is a Champagne that needs bottle age. It should be spectacular in time. Cristal Rose is made with the same technique as the rose, which is to say the Pinot is cold-macerated on the skins for 6-7 days, but the percentage of oak is a touch higher. For Cristal Rose the Pinot is sourced from Ay and the percentage of Chardonnay (from Avize and Mesnil) is a touch higher than the Brut Rose at 40% of the blend. This is Lot L031784L100149, disgorged in April, 2008. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2022. (AG)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Medium pink with a light copper hue. Strawberry, cherry skin and blood orange on the nose, with notes of brown butter and dried flowers adding complexity. Lush and creamy but not heavy, offering open-knit red berry and sappy citrus flavors and a deeper, buttery quality on the back end. Hangs on with attractive spiciness, a hint of candied orange and impressive, gently sweet persistence. I'd err on the side of youth with this alluring Champagne and drink it over the coming decade rather than bury it in the cellar.
This is very fruity, boasting apple, cherry and berry flavors, making it open and approachable. There's concentration as well, with a vibrant structure and a berry aftertaste. Drink now through 2019.
This is very special wine, made only in great vintages, and then only rarely offered at retail (Roederer prefers to see it on wine lists at famous restaurants rather than hidden in cellars). It is a pity, since this great Champagne's best years are ahead of it. It is an entirely estate grown, largely organic Champagne. The Pinot Noir, which composes 60% of the blend, is from very old vines in the house's best plots in the Grand Cru of Ay that are all organic. The Chardonnay that makes up the other 40% of the blend is from mostly Grand Cru and some Premier Cru estate vineyards in the Cotes de Blancs. The 2002 vintage in Champagne was fantastic, with much in common with 1990; a mild winter and less than average rain fall produced wines with high natural sugar. Unlike 1990, there were few hot days, giving the wines an extra element of grace. Cristal Rosé is the most elegant and refined of wines, and the 2002 should keep for decades. (Gary Westby, K&L Champagne buyer)