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Louis Roederer Cristal Vinotheque 1995

Per Bottle
Description & Technical Information
As the largest independent family-managed Champagne producer, Louis Roederer rank amongst the region's absolute finest. Established in 1776, the House is currently managed by seventh generation family member Frédéric Rouzaud alongside long-time Chef de Cave and Champagne legend Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon. Today, Champagne Louis Roederer own an astounding 240 hectares of vineyards in the very best locations that cover two-thirds of their grape requirements and are pioneers in biodynamic farming, having converted a total of 50% of its holdings to accommodate production using biodynamic methods. Their portfolio begins with Brut Premier, one of Champagne's most seductive non-vintage cuvées and ends with Cristal, perhaps the world's most recognised prestige cuvée champagne.

In 1876, Russia's Tsar Alexander II, a long-time 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. Dissatisfied with standard champagne bottles that concealed the beautiful colour and effervescence from the eye, he requested that his personal cuvée be served in transparent crystal glass bottles with a flat bottom to foil the insertion of explosives by would-be assassins. Thus, Louis Roederer selected the best vines from seven Grand Crus on his estate and Cristal, the first prestige cuvée, was born.

Now world-famous, Cristal is produced only from the truly great vintages in which the ripeness of the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes can provide the subtle and precise balance that is now the distinction of this cuvée. Between 20-30% of the wines are vinified in oak barrels and the final blend is matured for six years in the cellars and rests for twelve months after disgorgement. Louis Roederer has been implementing biodynamics in its vineyards for close to 10 years now and so far has converted 50% of its holdings, while the other 50% is still organic.

Cristal Vinothèque 1995 celebrates the astonishing story of a very small number of bottles, stored in the Louis Roederer cellars for 20 years in the quest for perfect harmony. The 1995 vintage is the reflection of this very classic year in Champagne. The weather conditions created an exceptionally elegant wine structured by a lovely acidity and remarkable aromatic complexity. Its perfectly balanced maturity and well-integrated flavours have been brought out even further by the Côte des Blancs Chardonnays and a small proportion of Pinots noirs grown in chalky soil.

Weather: The 1995 harvest was a large crop and shared similar characteristics with the renowned 1998. Following four consecutive years of tough growing conditions, 1995 came as a huge relief to the region - the first universally declared vintage since 1990. The summer was mainly hot, with some showers a few weeks before the harvest. Now, over twenty years since bottling, champagne from 1995 are starting to show flavours of incredibly complex, rich and concentrated fruits.

Technical Information:
Vineyards: 100% Grand Cru
Grape Varieties: 57% Pinot Noir, 43% Chardonnay
Ageing: 14 years on the lees
Disgorged: 2011
Dosage: 11 g/l
Drink: Now to 2028

Champagne in clear bottles must be stored in complete darkness, it spoils quickly if exposed to any light source. Cristal is supplied in yellow wrapping (not shown in photo) do not remove it and ideally place in a box. Read More

Tasting Note: Golden hue with bright amber tints. Gentle, ultra fine and even bubbles. The complex ouquet is reminiscent of juicy, ripe, almost exotic fruit (mango), cocoa beans and white chocolate with a hint of smoke. Aeration takes the intensity up a notch as sweeter, deeper aromas of malt and black truffle start to emerge. These are testament to the extra years spent ageing on the lees created by the second fermentation. This depth of aroma is complete, more mature, rare and captivating. The palate is velvety and sensual, precise yet mellow. The bubbles are so fine as to be almost sheer, caressing and ethereal, like an array of delicate silk veils in a myriad of shades. The palate is exceptionally precise, with the various elements concentrated to the point of retaining only the wine’s essence: a powdery and chalky texture – harking back to the limestone soils of the Cristal vineyards – and an elegant, long, refined freshness. The wine’s length and graceful tension create a real sensation of tranquility.
Champagne Louis Roederer Overview
Expert Reviews
Antonio Galloni
“ The 1995 Cristal Rosé Vinothèque (magnum) is soft, silky and very easy to enjoy. A Champagne with striking aromatic presence and no hard edges, the 1995 is all about subtlety, nuance and understatement. The pedigree and structure of the greatest vintages isn’t there, but in exchange the 1995 is wonderfully alluring and simply impossible to resist. This magnum is a late disgorgement from 2007. Longer aging on the lees naturally adds texture, which led Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon to opt for 6.5 grams per liter, very low by Roederer standards.”
Jancis Robinson MW
“Debut vintage of Vinothèque (after trials with 1993). Launched in 2017. Eight years on lattes then riddled and put upside down (sur pointes) to stop oxygen ingress. Also stops autolysis – stops building of texture and the atmosphere becomes completely reductive so the wine seems to get younger. Sur pointes for six years then disgorged, 6 g/l dosage (cf original 9 g/l) made with the wine itself (cf other wine aged in cask). Then 7–8 years post-disgorgement ageing for ‘caress’ – to make bubbles much softer so texture much more caressing. Just 400 bottles (even fewer for the rosé).
Deep coppery straw. Very intense nose. Sort of rich smokiness on the nose. Combination of umami and lychee. Hint of cheese! Complex and broad but a small tweak to the recipe really. Some dried spice.”
James Suckling
“A very different style to the 1996, this has much more savory, autolytic influence. Fresh, chalky aromas with hazelnuts and grilled lemons, as well as a super fine, toasty thread. There’s roasted coffee, smoky grilled lemons and a big mouthful of fresh white peaches and truffles. Gently nutty. Pulls into chalk at the finish. Eight years sur latte and seven years sur pointe. Disgorged with 7g dosage of the same wine. Drink now to 2025.”
Roger Voss
“This amazing wine is timeless. Just hinting a golden hue, the nose offers layers of toastiness balanced by an impressive amount of fruit and freshness. At 23 years old, it still has some life in it, showing bright citrus and minerality. Let it breathe before drinking to bring out all the subtleties.”
Stephan Reinhardt
“Disgorged in 2010 and re-launched in September 2017, Roederer's low dosed 1995 Cristal Vinotheque (dosage: six to seven grams per liter) is very intense on the nose and shows lovely maturity. Due to the vintage, which saw some rain in the summer, the Chardonnay part is a bit higher than usual (43% instead of 40%), with just 57% Pinot Noir (from Aÿ). Five percent of the wine was fermented in oak, and 15% underwent malolactic fermentation (only the Pinot Noir though). The palate is rich and vinous but also pure, straight and fresh, finishing with a tight structure, persistent minerality and a yeasty character. Tasted in Reims in May 2018.”
Jancis Robinson MW
“Originally launched in 2002, but this late release was kept for 13 years on lees in Reims, disgorged with just 7-8 g/l residual sugar, 2 g/l less than the original dosage, and then put on cork for seven years before release. 1996, when this was originally bottled, was a key date for Roederer when Frédéric Rouzaud joined the house. 20 years from vintage is always a nice window, according to Lécaillon who says, ‘I could imagine doing an Extra Brut next time.’ The difference is longer lees ageing and lower dosage. 4.5-5 atmospheres of pressure.
A very special wine indeed. Tense and tight and almost powdery. Intense and dry and tastes halfway between champagne and wine. Precise and clean. Very long. Richer on the palate than the super-exciting rosé. Hints of autumn leaves. Tertiary flavours. Very subtle and dry on the end.”
See All Reviews
CSWWC 2020 Sparkling Wine Producer of the Year
News Articles
  1. Louis Roederer: Something Old, Something New

    Louis Roederer: Something Old, Something New

    August 12, 2019

    A memorable evening at Louis Roederer earlier this year saw us taste the new vintage releases from 2013, preview Cristal 2012 and Cristal Rosé 2012, and sample the upcoming magnum launches from the Cristal Vinothèque programme. This one's not to be missed!
  2. Jancis Robinson MW: Mystery wine: NV champagnes

    Jancis Robinson MW: Mystery wine: NV champagnes

    July 16, 2019

    A fascinating article detailing the often too difficult task of discerning information about a specific bottle of non-vintage champagne was recently published by Jancis Robinson MW on her website. She argues in favour of producers making information more available.
  3. 2018 Vins Clairs: A Vintage Summary

    2018 Vins Clairs: A Vintage Summary

    June 14, 2019

    Earlier this year, we tasted a range of 2018 vins clairs with winemakers at fifteen different houses in Champagne. Thanks to exceptional weather throughout the year, some have been calling it 'the vintage of the century' and expectations are already sky-high. But just how much potential does 2018 have?
  4. 'Fighting for Freshness' with Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon

    'Fighting for Freshness' with Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon

    June 11, 2019

    Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon recently presented a fascinating masterclass at 67 Pall Mall entitled 'Fighting for Freshness', in which he explained the challenges facing winemakers as they battle to cope with riper grapes and higher alcohol levels in a warming climate.
  5. Louis Roederer: 2018 Vins Clairs Tasting

    Louis Roederer: 2018 Vins Clairs Tasting

    March 29, 2019

    Not many are as excited as Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon about 2018s potential, a year he describes as having "the density of 2002 and the precision of 2008." During our visit, we also tasted the latest Cristal Vinothèque's and a mind-blowing pair of Cristal magnums.
  6. Review: Louis Roederer Cristal Vertical Tasting

    Review: Louis Roederer Cristal Vertical Tasting

    September 24, 2018

    Last week's Louis Roederer Cristal Vertical Tasting compared every vintage of Cristal produced this century, from 2000-2009. Guests also tasted the two latest vintages of Cristal Rosé, and Cristal 2006 from both bottle and magnum. Read the full write-up here.
  7. Louis Roederer: The Old, The New & Everything in Between

    Louis Roederer: The Old, The New & Everything in Between

    September 28, 2017

    Is there a better way to spend a Sunday evening than dinner with Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon at the Louis Roederer family mansion? We tasted new Cristal 2008 and the exclusive late-release Cristal Vinothèque 1995.
  8. Jancis Robinson: the NV revolution

    Jancis Robinson: the NV revolution

    September 16, 2017

    Read Jancis Robinson's article what has changed in the champagne non vintage category and the relationship between the house and the consumer.
  9. Louis Roederer: Reims Visit

    Louis Roederer: Reims Visit

    July 6, 2015

    An experience worthy of sharing, very recently I journeyed to France with Louis Roederer to explore the magnificent vineyards and all things Louis Roederer. Find out more
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