Louis Roederer Cristal Brut Rose 2012 is a stunning release of a stunning wine. Cristal Rose started in 1974; it was based on old-vine Pinot from Aÿ. The colour of Cristal Rose comes from the Saignee method. This means the juice and skins and left in contact until the desired colour is achieved. 20% of Cristal Rose is aged in oak. The blend is then aged for 6 years in the cellar before disgorgement.
This is another outstanding release of Roederer Cristal Rose and worthy of being in your cellar.
Louis Roederer Cristal Rose 2012 Wine Review
THE TOP 12 CHAMPAGNES OF 2020
“There is a profound delicacy and reticence to this Cristal Rosé, more than any before it. Tightly coiled in its desperate youth, it projects a particularly pale salmon hue. Subtle flitters of the most elegant morello cherry, strawberry and red apple fruit dance and tease, promising profound things in the months and years to come, yet volunteering but the slightest suggestions now. It builds magnificently in the glass, the ripeness and concentration of the season rippling with grand pinot noir presence on an expansive mid-palate. At eight years of age, its primary presence is even more marked than that of Cristal 2012, supported eloquently by the toasty, spicy nuances of six years on lees. Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon has followed the recipe of 2008 astutely here, deviating only on the point of fully blocking malolactic fermentation. The effect is a dramatic cut of malic acidity that directs a honed finish of profound focus and tension. This promises longevity like rosé rarely ever sees, and this is a release that may yet achieve the rare feat of outliving its white counterpart. In line and length, this is another Cristal of the highest order, relying on the profound interaction of malic acidity and chalk minerality to dictate a structure both effortless and integrated and at the same time astonishingly energetic and disarming. The chalk mineral aspiration of Cristal is again exemplified in a deep and emphatic chalk palate of texture that permeates every crevice of the palate and the consciousness. Another phenomenal Cristal Rosé, and a worthy successor to the mythical 2008.”
Louis Roederer is a family-owned Champagne House. 7th generation Frederic Rouzaud is at the helm. The Domaine extends over 240 hectares. Louis Roederer has a policy of production coming from 70% family-owned vineyards. This is a key factor in the quality of their wines. Another quality factor is 65 Ha of their Domaine vineyards are biodynamic and organic. The wines at Roederer are elegant, fine, acid-driven. Often they need some time in the bottle to develop fat on the bones.
A wine region of France approximately 160km East of Paris. It is also the name of the wines produced from the area. Most famously, it is a sparkling wine that undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle and aging on lees (the dead yeast cells). Although there is the occasional still wine, you can find around particularly Pinot Noir. The fantastically named Bouzy Rouge is one such example. There are very few single vintage, single vineyard, single variety Champagnes. I can only name one – Salon. And it was produced only 47 times between 1900 and 1999. Why? Due to the large area, the region covers and the challenging weather the houses blended wines to produce a consistent and reliable product every year. This is where the growers come in. They relish the chance to show off vintage variation and small plot wines.
These wines are based on one vintage but will contain ‘Reserve Wine’. Reserve wine old stocks that they keep specifically to blend into the Non-Vintage wine. The purpose is to have a consistent and reliable drink every time someone buys their NV. NV Champagne must spend 12 months on lees at a minimum and 15 months in the bottle before releases. Most quality houses age their Champagne for much longer than that to achieve the desired level of Autolysis.
The NV style came to be as a way to use the grapes that weren’t perfectly ripe. Champagne was so marginal of climate that it was unlikely they would get a drinkable wine every. Holding on to that wine and blending it across multiple vintages allowed them to use the grapes and make an agreeable style.
This is the most elusive grape. It is relatively early ripening and extremely sensitive to terroir. Its perfect place on earth is the Cote d’Or in Burgundy. So haunting are great red Burgundy’s charms that growers everywhere try to emulate them. Pinot Noir is not just a one-trick pony; it can make great reds, rosé, sparkling and even sweet wines, whites on occasion and I’ve tasted a decent fortified Pinot Noir too. Adding body, perfume and richness to Champagne it also adds red berry and floral/rose petal notes along with spice and subtle layers.
The grape that you can plant anywhere, in any climate and do anything to and it will still taste like an OK wine. When people hit the sweet spot of site, climate, cropping and winemaking, Chardonnay becomes a magical wine that will age gracefully but charm you at any age. Chardonnays can range from cool-climate lean and citrusy to warmer climate tropical and overt. Oak and lees can add flavouring as can malolactic fermentation. In a Champagne context, Chard can add mineral flavours, stone fruits and acidity along with some weight of fruit.
Meunier is most famous for adding body and richness to the wines of Champagne. The trade-off is it tends to make the Champagnes age quicker and is therefore often left out of Prestige Cuvées. Not usually found in still table wine production.
The land that some many New World (not European) wine producers look to emulate. To generalise about French wine, I would say it is savoury, lighter-bodied wines. They are the definition of elegant, complex. There are many styles, though. And there is a French wine for every palate. They lead the world in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Burgundy. Sparkling Wine in Champagne. Cabernet and Merlot in Bordeaux. Syrah(Shiraz) and Grenache in the Rhone Valley. Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Gris in Alsace. Sauvignon Blanc, and Chenin Blanc in the Loire Valley. Gamay in Beaujolais.
Wine is the result you get from fermented grape juice. There is proof of wine production dating back 8000 years ago. Fashions, innovations and many other factors have influenced the way wine has evolved over the years.
The wine grape is special. It contains everything you need to make grape wine except for the yeast, which lives on the outside of the skins.
Human inputs can influence the final product, including the viticulture (growing) choices. And the winemaker can shape the wine to a point too.
The best wines of the world often refer to terroir. Terroir is a French term that refers to all the climatic, geological and topographical influences on a specific piece of land. And it is true that neighbouring vineyards, grown identically, can taste noticeably different.
Fizz, bubby, bubbles. It is a wine with bubbles in it. There are many ways to put the bubbles in, and many styles and flavours you can find. Important to know that you should never buy cheap Sparkling. Champagne is still the quality leader of the world. But great Sparkling can be found in Moscato (sweet), Prosecco, Franciacorta (Italy), Cava (Spain), Australia, New Zealand, Loire Valley and Burgundy Cremant (France).
The Wine Depository
I, Phil, have been running The Wine Depository since 2011. The Wine Depository exists to make sure you are drinking the good wines. You can browse and pick what is interesting to you. Or you can make contact with me. I’ll make sure you get what you want, to your palate, to your budget and to your door.
VINOUS, April 2020
“The 2012 Cristal Rose is magnificent. When Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon started to move Roederer towards organically farmed fruit, he started with Cristal Rose, Roederer’s smallest production cuveé. Because of that, Cristal Rose is the wine in this range that shows the current Roederer style in its fullest expression. Rich, vivid and crystalline in the glass, the 2012 Cristal Rose is a Champagne of tremendous gravitas. Chalk, white flowers, sweet red berry fruit, mint and blood orange are all beautifully delineated. The 2012 is 55% Pinot from Ay and 45% Chardonnay from Mesnil and Avize. The Pinot fruit gets a 7-10 day cold soak an is the infused into the fermenting Chardonnay musts. Readers who can find the 2012 should not hesitate, as it is truly magical. Dosage is 8 grams per litre. 98+ Points.”
JAMES SUCKLING’S TOP 100 WINES OF FRANCE 2019
jamessuckling.com, 3 October, 2019
“This is a great vintage for Cristal Rose. The pinot noir finds a band of power and expressiveness. The power here is impressive, very assertive and rich, really mouth-filling and super deep. This is exceptional and has intense, chalky and fresh, white-peach and nectarine aromas, underpinning red flowers and pink fruit. The palate has a scintillating blend of flesh and mineral cut, packed with such sweet, pristine, white-strawberry flavor and texture. This has such incredible potential. So exciting. Will take another two or three years to resolve. Look out for this! Drink from 2025.“