The Somm Journal

Dec 2015-Jan 2016

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Page 47 of 124

{ }  47 The Somms' Tasting Notes ROEDERER CRISTAL BRUT 2007 This gem is filled with potential. In its youth now, it's reserved with a quiet nervy quality, but filled with lovely structure and elegance that will blossom into a seamless and complete wine: delicate citrus fruit with soft white floral notes and a long finish. You can sense the power, fruit and complexity brimming under- neath that will only take time. It's an antihero to 2006 or 2004's epic force. —June Rodil Electric, vibrant, beautifully precise and well balanced. A great repre- sentation of Cristal showing great concentration. — Diego Ruiz de Porras Great balance and seamless mouthfeel with aromas of green pear and fresh citrus. Hints of biscuit, dried fruits and hazelnut; light spices and a chalky mineral- ity. —Pierre Lasserre ROEDERER CRISTAL BRUT ROSÉ 2004 Here is the epitome of evolution— evolution of a wine and of an iconic Champagne house, as the rosé was only started in 1974. The Pinot Noir is amazing in its maturity with still bright and happy strawberries and white cherry fruit dancing on your palate among the more complex flavors of age and minerality. The palate is youthful and fresh while simultaneously showing the pedigree of the fruit and care in winemaking and blending. Wow, wow, wow! —June Rodil Absolutely delicious, a remarkable vintage with all grand cru which shows perfect balance between power and elegance. A very long finish with a good amount of richness and 80% biodynamic! —Diego Ruiz de Porras Delicate bouquet with fruitiness, strawberry and cranberry. Hints of orange peel and lemon. Vibrant freshness and mineral qualities, with white pepper and a touch of austerity. Great aging potential. —Pierre Lasserre Effortless Perfection At the press house, five traditional wooden presses are in full swing and the juice flows freely and abundantly. Walking across the yard, you almost have to rip the soles of your shoes off the surface coated with sticky grape juice that drips from the harvest cases. Yet through the door of the house at the rear of the yard lies not just a different atmosphere, but a different era. This is real elegance: understated, calm and assured, no need to boast, no need to add or subtract the smallest element, everything is in its place—effortless perfection. Of course it's not really effortless, it just seems so. Cristal has gone way past the point where it has to strive and strain to make an impression—it just is, and that's the mark of real style. To complete the perfection, six different vintages, no less, of Cristal and Cristal Rosé accompany lunch, much to the delight of the guests, especially Rodil, for whom this is the first opportunity to taste Cristal Rosé and whose enthusiasm is palpable. We start with the current release 2007: chalkiness and minerality, but with texture and fleshiness too, continue through 2002: the perfect year and the only one, thus far, when every plot on the estate was used, and move on to Cristal Rosé 2004: recently voted "Supreme World Champion" at the Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships. " Dang!" declares Rodil. "It's so amazing. The pinnacle." With such enthusiasm, she must have some happy customers. Ruiz de Porras, meanwhile, is calmly and professionally taking in every nuance of flavor and aroma so as to be able to captivate his audience back home in Beverly Hills. "Cristal is one of the finest cuvées ever, with an unparalleled elegance," he states succinctly. Taking the Long View Inevitably, the visit all too short and the next day the guests will be heading back home, jet-lagged perhaps, but with a wealth of memories after this glimpse into the world of Cristal. The more you learn about Cristal the clearer it becomes that it is not a wine that can be grasped in a hurry. Pierre, with his ever-present sense of humour, sums it up perfectly: "The first 200 years are the most difficult" he jokes, except that he's not entirely joking. It comes back yet again to that long-term vision of which Jean-Baptiste speaks so often. Cristal is like nothing so much as an intricate timepiece; to call it just a watch would be as inadequate as calling Cristal just a Champagne. On the outside, the one may well tell the time while the other may well be a wine, but each encapsu - lates a far bigger universe beyond the first view or first taste. Cristal is a master- piece that needs time to create and time to appreciate. It really is time in a bottle. In the Roederer cellars, Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon gives the visiting somms some insight into primary fermentation.

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