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Louis Roederer
Loved by rappers and rockstars alike, has there ever been a more coveted Champagne than Louis Roederer? A legend in its own right, complete and complex, award winner of many a prestigious title, makers of the iconic Cristal, Louis Roederer is the Champagne on everybody’s wish list.
A little on the Roederer Estate Vineyard
Founded in 1776, Louis Roederer remains one of the last family-run Champagne houses. Fiercely independent - it has so far eschewed takeover bids - today it is run by Frédéric Rouzaud, the seventh generation of Rouzauds. The Rouzauds are directly related through Frédéric's great-grandmother to Louis Roederer himself, and the company, which is conservatively estimated to be worth €600m (£415m), has been in family hands throughout its turbulent 230-year history. There are 30 shareholders in all, all related to each other in complex ways.

The total estate area is 240 hectares, enough to produce around 2.4m bottles of champagne, with plans to expand up to 3.5m. Some 130 of the parcels are in Grand Cru villages and a further 73 hectares have Premier Cru status. All the Roederer vintage wines – that’s Cristal Blanc and Rosé, the regular vintages, Blanc de Blancs vintage and Rosé vintage, plus Brut Nature vintage – are extremely popular among the rich and famous: $2m (€1,76m) worth was on hand for the after-parties at the Golden Globe Awards in January 2019.
Cristal clear
Of its distinctive flat bottomed bottle, the reasons are unclear. Legend has it that Tsar Alexander II, who wouldn’t drink anything else, commissioned the champagne house to design a bottle without the traditional dimple as he was wary of enemies concealing poison. And so the instantly recognisable bottle, with its thick, flat base, was born.

The fact that Cristal is a superlative, long-lasting wine is sadly sometimes lost due to its star status. Because that's exactly what it is, with excellent vintages almost too many to count (although we think 1979, 1982, 1998, 1990, 1996, 2002 and “the best vintage ever” 2008 should be mentioned). One of the 2,000 Methuselahs of Cristal (equivalent to eight bottles) produced for the Millennium was sold for €10,000 (€200 per glass) in 2005, setting an all-time record for Cristal. The same bottle was sold two years later for €13,000.
Notable facts and vintages
  • The 2002 vintage produced exceptional results, marked by Cristal’s Medallion bottle - each jeroboam individually handcrafted, jewel-like in its appearance with 24-carat gold open latticework.
  • 2006 Louis Roederer Brut Nature, the original zero dosage champagne made with grapes from a particular parcel of vines in Cumieres was launched in 2014 - the first new release for the house in four decades. Made without adding sugar, and presented with a distinctive, hand-drawn label by Philippe Starck. Highly sought after and widely successful, the 2009 Brut Nature came to market in late 2016 and more releases, based on 2012 and 2015 are anticipated, including an all new Brut Nature Rosé later in 2019.
  • 2008 Cristal, "The Chevalier Montrachet of Champagne," as Chef de Cave Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon describes his “best Cristal ever on the market” of his 30 harvests with Roederer.
  • 2002 Cristal Rosé garnered 98 points from Anthony Galloni for Vinous in May 2015, noting “It is also the showiest and most exotic wine in this vertical. I imagine the 2002 will reward readers with another 15-20 years of exceptional drinking, perhaps more. There isn't too much to say, except that this is one of the great wines of the vintage.”