The new (old) Cristal

Louis Roederer Cristal Vinotèque 1995

(For release in 2017)

Although there are times when a plate of food and a glass of wine go beautifully together, it’s rare that the wine actually smells identical to the food. Tasting Roederer’s yet-to-be-launched Cristal Vinotèque 1995 over dinner in Reims was a revelation. The food in question was Suprême de Volaille de la Dombes Aux Morilles or, put simply, chicken breast in an unctuous, cream-laden Morel mushroom sauce. And the heady aromas of both were similarly compelling.

The Vinotèque wines are the brainchild of Chef de Cave Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon who wanted to experiment with a small percentage of Cristal to see what would happen if he extended its time in the cellar (on lees and on cork). Cristal normally spends six or seven years on its lees whereas the Vinotèque wines do ten and then a further ten on the cork before release.

Lecaillon’s theory is that the ten years on lees is the ‘organic’ time when the autolytic, bready and creamy character of the wine develops, while the ten years on cork is the ‘mineral’ time, when the elegance, length and precision of the wine are all formed. The 1995 is a superb wine, beautifully dry (6 g/l) and filled with heady truffle and mushroom aromas, along with overtones of honey. The acidity is focused and precise, the length hugely impressive… But what is most exciting is this wine’s ability to pair with food in a way that I’ve very rarely encountered. (Susie, 9/10, May 2016)