Roederer, Champagne, France
are one of the leading ‘boutique’ Champagne houses, most famous
for their celebrated Cristal, which recently became chic with the
likes of footballers and the hip-hop crowd. Celebrity wine it may be,
but there’s substance behind the style: Cristal is utterly
fantastic. Here I tried the 1990 and 1996 from magnum, and they were
among the best wines of all types that I’ve yet to try.
But let’s not take away anything from Roederer’s
other wines, which are all brilliant. Part of the secret to this
success is that unusually for Champagne houses, Roederer predominantly
use grapes from their own vineyards. Their 180 hectares of vineyards
make up some 80% of their production.
Some history. Originally founded in the late 18th
century, Louis Roederer joined in 1827. Initially, Roederers biggest
customers were the Russians, the 1917 revolutionaries were no
Champagne socialists, and they lost 80% of their market overnight.
Cristal itself was commissioned in Tsar Alexander II, who wanted his
wine in clear glass: Cristal comes in similar clear, puntless bottles
to this day.
Louis Roederer Brut Vintage 1999
Lovely freshness allied with some fuller flavours: quite a
concentrated, intense style with high acidity. Fantastic length with
some nutty richness on the finish. Very good/excellent 93/100
Louis Roederer Blanc de Blancs 1999
Yeah, baby. This
works for me. I’ve always been a bit of a fan of Blanc de Blancs
(Chardonnay only) Champagnes. Lovely fresh, intense lemony fruit here
with some toasty complexity. Full and fresh. The palate fresh, lemony
and bright with brilliant acidity. Almost austere. Very good/excellent
Roederer Brut Rosé 1999
Very pale salmon colour. Really lovely, intense complex palate
with some sweet, warm strawberry fruit and a touch of herbiness.
Dominating it all, though, is fresh, intense acidity. Lovely stuff.
Louis Roderer Cristal 1996 (magnum)
Really complex, bright fresh, toasty lemony nose. It’s
beguiling. Absolutely fantastic. The palate is concentrated and full
with bright lemony fruit, high acid and fantastic, rich, herb-tinged
complexity. Brilliant acidity. This is almost perfect. Excellent
Louis Roedere Cristal 1990 (magnum)
Wow. Complex and full; evolved and yet still fresh, with bold
nutty toasty notes on the nose, together with some herbal complexity.
The palate is broad but still very concentrated and fresh with massive
length and real harmony, with high acidity suggesting this still has
some evolution ahead of it. Complex and intense, and, again, almost
perfect. Excellent 98/100
UK agent: Maisons Marques et Domaines (020 8812 3380)
Wines tasted 02/06
these wines with wine-searcher.com
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