James Suckling 97
For the warm and dry vintage this has tremendous freshness and elegance. The complex nose of citrus blossom, mint, lemon and lime zest opens up slowly as this aerates in the glass. The wine s ample structure is still quite firm, which is a vintage characteristic, the mousse very fine but also very lively for an eight-year-old champagne. Cristal fans will love this as it is, but a year or two more in the bottle will do a lot for the very long mineral finish of this youthful masterpiece. A cuvee of 60% pinot noir and 40% chardonnay, picked from all 45 Cristal vineyard plots. Tasted at the Cristal vertical tasting at the champagne house on July 6th, 2023. Drink from release.
I have tasted the 2015 Cristal three times so far – once as part of an extensive vertical I will be reporting on shortly, and then later in my office. Those tastings paint a portrait of a complex Champagne that is still finding its center. Tasted at the maison, the 2015 is rich, dense and explosive, with tremendous textural intensity and also a good bit of energy to back it up. Citrus confit, spice, ginger, chalk and dried flowers abound in a Champagne endowed with tremendous aromatic presence in a style that offers notable richness, but lighter than vintages such as 2012. There is a bit of the savoriness that is such a signature of the year, but it is nicely integrated in the wine s fabric. Two later tastings in my office strongly suggest the 2015 has already started to shut down a bit, which is a shame, as it may be hard to read for some time to come. Dosage is 7 grams per liter. Disgorged: November 2022. This is a compelling set of new releases from Roederer and long-time Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon. The 2015 Cristal is one of the more intriguing Champagnes in what has turned out to be a tricky vintage overall for a region that is struggling to adapt to the new reality of climate change and its impact on achieving phenolic maturity in the field. We strive to reach the classic measurement of 100 days between flowering and harvest, and that requires waiting to pick, Lecaillon explains. At the same time, acidity does not really exist anymore in Champagne, so we have to find a way to reinvent it, he adds, a bit ironically. The 2015 is an unusual Cristal in that it includes fruit from all 45 parcels at the domaine, which has not happened since 2002. Pinots from Verzy and Verzenay, north-facing sites in the Montagne de Reims, featured quite a bit, adding energy to the blend. As always, there is no malolactic fermentation. About 25-30% of the lots were fermented in oak. In warmer vintages, Lecaillon bumps up the wood a bit to add phenolic intensity, which he describes as stretching out the finish and adding freshness.
Anticipated maturity: 2025-2040
The Wine Independent 98
The 2015 Cristal is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. No malo-lactic was employed, and 25% wine was aged in oak. The dosage is 7 grams per liter. An exquisitely delicate yet complex perfume of clover honey, freshly shaved ginger, marzipan, and jasmine slowly emerges from the nose, giving way to a core of pear tart, persimmons, and apple butter. The palate is an exercise in finesse, featuring very fine bubbles and fantastic intensity with a myriad of spice and floral nuances, finishing with impressive persistence and jaw-dropping poise. This is a style for those that embrace purity, soft-spoken expression, and impeccable crafting. It won’t disappoint those who love Champagne in its initial youthful perfume flushes, yet will undoubtedly reward the patient with a richer, toastier, more obvious and opulent style with 5-10 years+ of cellaring.
Anticipated maturity: 2027-2060
Robert Parker 95+
If the 2014 vintage was especially open and demonstrative, the 2015 Cristal is going to require more patience. Unwinding in the glass with aromas of citrus oil, crisp stone fruits, white flowers, crushed mint and subtle hints of buttery pastry, it’s medium to full-bodied, deep and layered, with a deep, concentrated and rather introverted core of fruit framed by chalky extract and animated by a pretty pinpoint mousse. This is a serious, vinous Champagne that has considerable substance to age and may well evolve along the lines of the lovely 1985.
Anticipated maturity: 2027-2050