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2002 Louis Roederer "Cristal" Brut Champagne

SKU #1037666 100 points Wine & Spirits

Outer quote mark 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 irresistible, and will only improve with ten, 20, 30 and 40 years of age. Inner quote mark (12/2009)

98 points James Suckling

Outer quote mark A re-release of the original 2010 disgorgement. Super fine, super fresh and super savory aromas of chalky stones with hints of flowers, white almonds, lemon peel and grapefruit. The palate has intense, mouth-filling, lemon-curd flavor. Very powerful, very concentrated and very expressive. Smooth finish that’s full of life, leaving a bright, white cherry note. Inner quote mark (7/2018)

98 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Outer quote mark Roederer's 2002 Cristal is a fabulous wine! Originally released in 2009, it was re-released in March this year—and was sold out in a very short time. The Cristal I tasted at Roederer in May 2018 was disgorged in 2010, after seven years sur lie. Its amazing richness and concentration makes it a forerunner of the 2015 and follows the 1999. Only two times—2002 and 2015—the fruit from all 42 plots reserved for Cristal was used for the Cristal. "I couldn't do any better blend than the one assembling all the 42 plots," says Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, stressing that at that time only two hectares were farmed biodynamically. As a result of the conversion to biodynamic farming, Lécaillon promised himself the production of even more beautiful, vital and balanced wines, and you can feel his satisfaction whenever he speaks of the cuvées that are yet to come such as 2012 and 2015, the latter of which he calls "the new 2002." Back to history: the nose of the 2002 Cristal shows a deep, ripe and elegant fruit with aromas of white chocolate, wet chalk, wild vanilla and pepper (typical for 2002) as well as terroir-driven truffle notes. Intense and very elegant in the mouth, this is a ripe, rich and concentrated yet also pure and vital Cristal with great finesse, elegance and mineral complexity. It's a sublime Champagne right now, although it's more wine than Champagne. Tasted in Reims in May 2018. Drink through 2050. (SR) Inner quote mark (6/2018)

98 points Wine Enthusiast

Outer quote mark 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) Inner quote mark (12/2008)

97 points Decanter

Outer quote mark From one of the true landmark vintages of Champagne, this is a titanic Cristal which pulsates with energy and verve. Though already fifteen years of age, it is still remarkably young and taut with tensile mineral strength. The stone and citrus-laden fruit is still in its infancy with just a developing hint of toasty brioche, vanilla and almond. Its purity, depth, weight and mouthfeel is balanced by a great arc of acidity, which will frame the wine for the long haul. A hugely impressive Cristal, but this is still not ready. (JS) Inner quote mark (10/2017)

97 points John Gilman

Outer quote mark I last tasted the 2002 Cristal back in the autumn of 2013, when the wine was still a bit on the young side, but it has now started to really blossom beautifully and is really entering its plateau of maturity in 2018. The 2002 Cristal is composed of a blend of fifty-five percent pinot noir and forty-five percent chardonnay, with none of the vins clairs having gone through malo and the finishing dosage ten grams per liter in this vintage. This has been a brilliant vintage of Cristal since its inception and at age sixteen, the wine is just beginning to properly blossom and show some of its secondary layers of complexity, The nose jumps from the glass in a refined blend of pear, apple, fresh almond, gentle smokiness, a touch of the tangerine to come, chalky soil tones and brioche in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and a powerfully-built vintage of Cristal, with a great core, elegant mousse, bright, racy and well-integrated acids and stunning mineral drive on the very long, complex and perfectly balanced finish. This is a great vintage of Cristal, and though it is now beginning to show some lovely generosity and secondary layering, a bit more cellaring would still be richly rewarded. Drink between 2018-2075. 97+ Inner quote mark (4/2018)

97 points Vinous

Outer quote mark The 2002 Cristal is now entering its first plateau of maturity, which makes it a terrific Champagne for drinking now. Hints of apricot, brioche, lemon confit, honey, hazelnut, baked apple tart and spice give the 2002 striking layers of nuance. Rich and generous, the 2002 show plenty of the natural opulence of the year and yet retains terrific freshness as well. As always, Cristal is a blend of Pinot from Ay, Verzenay, Verzy and Beaumont sur Vesle, and Chardonnay from Mesnil, Cramant and Oger. Dosage is 9 grams per liter. This is the original 2010 disgorgement. What a wine. (AG) Inner quote mark (12/2019)

96 points Connoisseurs Guide

Outer quote mark 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. *Three Stars* Inner quote mark (12/2008)

96 points Jeb Dunnuck

Outer quote mark The 2002 Cristal is one seriously big, huge even, Champagne, and while this cuvee normally shows a seamless, elegant style, the 2002 vintage’s fruit profile dominates this wine. Toasted bread, oak spice, orchard fruits and toasted nuts give way to a full-bodied, mouthfilling, rich 2002 that stays light, graceful and elegant on the palate, with good to moderate acidity. It’s beautiful today, yet has two more decades of longevity. Inner quote mark (12/2017)

92 points Wine Spectator

Outer quote mark 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. (BS, Web-2009) Inner quote mark

Jancis Robinson

Outer quote mark No malo. First time the house has re-released a Cristal. ‘When we launched this wine we were told it was very good but too young.’ So it’s a re-release in 2018 of some of the original-disgorgement wine (disgorged 2009) that was stored in the Vinothèque – 12 m down, very dark, very humid – for nine years after the original release. No selection of parcels in 2002, but all of the estate. Will probably happen again in 2018. 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay again. Very strong acceleration of ripeness at the end of the season. Strong cool winds so lots of concentration after dehydration. So they picked a week before the official date (which you can do if you can prove you have at least 10% potential alcohol). This is more 2002 than Cristal. Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon sees vanilla, thanks to dehydration. Deep straw-gold. Very rich nose. Very sumptuous. Broad and dry finish but with massive density. Some meatiness on the nose and then richness on the palate. Much more resolved than it used to be. 18.5/20 points. (JR) Inner quote mark (12/2018)


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By: Gary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/7/2009 | Send Email
This Champagne comes entirely from estate Grand and Premier Cru vineyards and is one of the finest young Cristals I have tasted. It is very, very dry and tight, with the kind of precision and minerality that one would only expect from a much smaller production Champagne.

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