Louis Roederer Cristal 2009 Investment

History

Louis Roederer, the largest independent, family-managed champagne maker is the fortunate owner to 235 hectares of sublimely located vineyards. Uniquely, after 10 years of experimentation, they are beginning to witness the benefits of a biodynamically managed vineyard. Chef de Cave, Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon is particular about Louis Roederer’s craft; “We don’t blend, we combine,” he says. “I love art, and like a great painter we add colour rather than blending.”

In 1876, Russia's Tsar Alexander II - a lover of Louis Roederer wines - asked the producer to create a special cuvée for his personal use which was unique, in both its style and bottle design. So Louis Roederer offered him an exceptional crystal bottle, containing the fruit of vines selected from the seven great crus on his estate. This cuvée would be offered in only the truly 'great' years in which the ripeness of the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes could provide the subtle, precise balance that have now become the distinction of the leading prestige cuvée of Champagne.

The 2009 Vintage

Released just under 6 months ago in October 2016, Louis Roederer’s latest Cristal vintage hit the market with aplomb. It received instant praise from Jancis Robinson MW who rated it 18+/20 – the highest she’s given a Cristal vintage since 2004 - commenting: “(it) built admirably through the palate to provide an intriguingly spicy, dense, long-lasting finish.” This was supported by Decanter’s Michael Edwards, who gave it 97/100 (“A great supremely elegant Champagne”) and VinousMedia’s Antonio Galloni who gave it 96+/100.

Notably, both Janicis and Galloni pay tribute to its ageing potential. Jancis wrote: “I don't think that this 2009 has reached anything like its full potential… I'm sure it will deserve an even higher score eventually.” Galloni goes even further, having tasted it prior to release, comparing it to then and now he comments: “2009 Cristal has really shut down since I tasted it this past spring… The 2009 has always been quite exuberant, but for now, it looks like the wine is going to need a bit of time before it is at its best.

This is outstanding praise for a vintage that’s just been released… 18+/20 and nowhere near its full potential!

Market Value

A quick assessment of the 5-year performance of the similarly rated Cristal 2002 gives insight into what can happen to the Champagnes value as stock availability declines. As we can see below, the market value remained stable for the first 18 months as there was ample stock available in the market. However, two years after release, the stock available in the market begins to deplete and, as we’d expect, the market value gradually increases.

Cellar Watch graph

Looking more closely at the potential for market appreciation, the graph below shows Cristal 1996’s market growth over the last 5-years. In the previous 2 years alone, it has experienced an 83.0% increase, rising from £2,350 to £4,300 per 12 x 75cl case.

Cellar Watch graph

Further investment advantage of Louis Roederer Cristal is its excellent vintage premium. As with Champagne from other prestige houses, the value of Cristal has increased copiously and incrementally with age. As the second highest rated (by Jancis Robinson) of the recent Cristal vintages, and currently the cheapest on the market to purchase, Cristal 2009 displays the lowest price-over-points ratio (a loose measure of value, calculated by dividing the price of a wine by its 20-point score).

Louis Roederer Cristal POP scores by vintage
Vintage Av. case price JR Score POP
1996 £4,300 19 226.3
2002 £2,100 19 110.5
2004 £1,500 19 78.9
2005 £1,440 18 80.0
2006 £1,240 18 68.9
2007 £1,190 18 66.1
2009 £1,177 18+ 65.4

This, alongside both Jancis and Galloni’s bright predictions for the future ageing potential of Cristal 2009 suggests that if the market performs as it has previously, then Cristal 2009 may be one to watch.

TFB In Bond Price: £670.00 per 6x75cl case

Data as at 14th February 2017

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com – 18+/20 - “An interesting contrast to the already-open Henriot 2009. I tasted this at the launch on of the top floor of The Shard, London's tallest building, looking at a fiery sunset and catching up on gossip with David Roberts MW of Goedhuis. Maybe the wine was served just a fraction too cool in recognition of the length of the guest list but it was extremely youthful and tight, so that there was not that much on the nose, but it built admirably through the palate to provide an intriguingly spicy, dense, long-lasting finish. I don't think that this 2009 has reached anything like its full potential and in a world that was not gagging for the latest vintage of Cristal, Roederer would have waiting a little while before releasing it. Given they have deliberately launched this before the 2008, I can only imagine how backward the older vintage is. It must be a real challenge for winemaker Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon to deliver wines that are easy to drink but do not sacrifice their potential. He is quoted as saying that the proportion of biodynamically-grown grapes in this vintage has reached 40% and will be greater in the future. The wine certainly has real dynamism. And I'm sure will deserve an even higher score eventually.”

Antonio Galloni, VinousMedia.com – 96+/100 - “2009 Cristal has really shut down since I tasted it this past spring, which is probably a very good thing for its potential longevity. The radiance and richness the 2009 showed just a few months ago is not all evident. Instead, the 2009 comes across as tightly wound and in need of considerable cellaring. I expect it will drink well for a period measured in decades rather than years. The 2009 has always been quite exuberant, but for now, it looks the wine is going to need a bit of time before it is at its best. Readers should note that Roederer has decided to release the 2009 ahead of the 2008.”

Michael Edwards, Decanter.com – 97/100 - “Translucent, shimmering gold indicates a wine of poised ripeness; beautiful scents of orange blossom merge with sense of great chalky terroir. The purity and sublime texture of the mouthfeel owes a lot to non-malolactic winemaking which maintains freshness after the uninterrupted warmth of summer to harvest end. Also it also shows the essential true fruit now and for 20 years to come. Long lingering finish. A great supremely elegant Champagne. Dosage 8 g/l”

Wine Valuation & Selling

Customers who purchase from The Finest Bubble and cellar with us will have access to independent valuation data from Liv-ex for Champagne held in their reserves through an online personal account. When you come to sell your Champagne, The Finest Bubble may make an offer to buy depending on market conditions, however you are not tied to selling through us. If you need us to assist in selling the champagne we can do this for a 4% charge. There are no costs for providing this valuation information.

Financial Risk

We have presented information that shows the historical case for Louis Roederer Cristal as an investment and any forward looking statements are forecasts and not guarantees. Since the value of any investment can go down as well as up we recommend you consult with an accredited financial expert before making investment decisions.

Our Help

We are able to help you with our opinion on what champagnes and which vintages we believe offer the right qualities to consider cellaring for 5-10 years and help with up to the minute market data showing valuations, trends and transaction quantity for every champagne. We are not able to offer financial advice or advice on investments.

Contact Us

To discuss this further please contact Nick or Chris 020 7359 1608 or email us via the contact page.

Last Updated: 14th February 2017