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Louis Roederer Cristal 2013 (750ML)

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Critic Scores, Reviews & Descriptions

99 DE / 98 WA / 98 JS / 97+ VM / 96 DE / 96 JD / 96 WS / 95 VP / 18.5 JR

#1 Decanter Wines of the Year 2022
#66 James Suckling's Top 100 Wines of France 2021
Vinepair Best Champagnes of 2021


Created in 1876 to satisfy the demanding tastes of Tsar Alexander II, Louis Roederer’s Cristal has since become a symbol of luxury all around the world. Produced only during the best years, it’s made from 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay, the grapes coming from 45 of the finest lieux-dits in the region. 2013 was a late bloomer, with flowering only taking place in July after a cool spring. The summer was ideal with long periods of dry and warm weather. One third of the wine is aged in oak and there’s no malolactic fermentation. Vincenzo Arnese: Packed with elegant yet powerful aromas of ripe orchard trees that merge with brioche and dry cookies. This is a harmonious and well-defined Champagne with integrated residual sugar and astonishing acidity. Divine! Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW: Lemon coloured with a pink hue. Like a blanc de noirs, with cherries and white fruit aromas. Balanced and suave. Goes from less to more, with an exceptionally long and complex finish. Amanda Barnes: Appealing notes on the nose of pastry dough and apple tart that are very open. On the palate there’s beautiful concentration with lingering savoury notes. Minerally and sophisticated. Nominated by Peter Liem, Decanter Panel Tasting Nov/22

I've revisited Roederer's 2013 Cristal four times since I reviewed it in April of this year—including several times from my own cellar—and I had to admit that even my lavish praise didn't do it full justice. Combining the cool-vintage cut of 2008 with the more completely mature fruit of 2012, the 2013 Cristal might well be said to represent the perfect combination of the two from a purist's perspective. The wine unwinds in the glass with notes of crisp orchard fruit, white flowers, almond paste and citrus oil, followed by a medium to full-bodied, seamless and multidimensional palate that's intense but weightless, with racy acids, a pinpoint mousse and a long, penetrating finish. Drink the 2008 Cristal on its own, and you're unlikely—to put it mildly—to have any complaints; but compare it directly with the 2013 and you'll see Roederer's rapid progress in the vineyards writ large. - William Kelley, Wine Advocate

This is quite chalky with firm phenolics that frame the wine beautifully. It’s medium-to full-bodied with strawberries and earth. Dense, linear and intense. Hints of brioche and pie crust at the end. Very structured and gorgeous. Salty and lightly chewy. One third of the base wines fermented and aged in oak. Connoisseur Champagne. From organic vineyards of the Roederer domains. Smaller production than normal. Seven years on the lees. Give it two or three years to open. - James Suckling

The 2013 Cristal is a wine of extraordinary precision and tension. Searing acids drive a bold, racy Champagne that won’t be ready to offer its best drinking anytime soon. In recent vintages, Cristal has been quite open on release. That is far from the case with the 2013. Readers should plan on being quite patient. The blend is 60% Pinot Noir (from Aÿ, Verzy, Verzenay, Beaumont-sur-Vesle) and 40% Chardonnay (Mesnil, Avize, Cramant). Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon was especially selective and used only 30 out of the potential 45 plots that are typically available for Cristal. About 32% of the lots were done in oak, the rest in steel, with the malolactic fermentation blocked across the board. It was an October harvest, the sort of harvest that has become increasingly rare in Champagne. Lecaillon describes the summer as similar to 2012, but adds the vines were a month behind in their development. In tasting, the 2013 reminds me of the 1996 in its austerity, even more so than the epic 2008. --Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media

The peak of drinkability is between 15 and 20 years from the harvest; so says Jean-Baptiste, but he has not spared the taster the wondrous early impression of perfection in the making. A soft gold with glistening highlights, like the river meadow at dawn; the nose effortlessly marries a panoply of flavours, the citric grip nodding to hints of passion fruit and Mirabelle plum, with hazelnut and almond signalling the grace of development. Texturally generous, yet tightly wound, taut and flinty yet ripe and open, the wine faithfully underlines the vigneron’s philosophy, every nuance of its template deftly rehearsed and charmingly enacted. Disgorged: autumn 2020. Dosage: 7.5g/L.Drinking Window 2021 - 2033 Simon Field MW -

I think the 2013 Cristal checks in behind the 2008, but it's nevertheless a beautiful wine. Lots of ripe orchard fruits, toasted bread, brioche, and chalky mineral notes define the nose, and it's medium to full-bodied, with a layered, nicely concentrated, tight, inward style, beautiful precision and purity, and a great finish. It needs a good 5-7 years of bottle age to hit its stride and will keep for two decades or more. Jeb Dunnuck

Pale gold. Tiny bead. Intense nose of fresh almonds, lemon zest and blossom. Tight and tense with masses of acidity and freshness but not painfully so. Neat and a little introvert. This is clearly made up of many layers and is extremely persistent. A fine mix of intellectual and pleasurable. Pretty gorgeous. - Jancis Robinson

Exotic hints of tangerine and candied ginger are an enticing entrance for this vivid Champagne, accenting a finely meshed range of ripe green apple and cassis fruit, with rich notes of chopped almond, brioche and lemon curd. An underscoring streak of salinity gains momentum through the mouthwatering finish, echoing as it rides the plushly creamy mousse. This is decadence in a sleek and graceful package. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Drink now through 2033. - Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator

Honeyed, clean, and endlessly refreshing, Cristal is distinguished for a reason: it’s liquid gold in a glass. If you’re going to ball out on a Champagne, this is the one to go for. It’s delicious, crowd-pleasing, luxurious, and pairs phenomenally with a wide variety of foods — from sushi to soufflés. This wine is like drinking luxury. It's soft with soft bubbles. The sweet nature of the wine is seamless and expertly integrated into the wine, adding to the complexity. It's refreshing and fruity with a delicious, crowd-pleasing honeyed note. It would be amazing on its own and bordering on epic with food. - Vinepair


Following the rich, concentrated ripeness of 2012, 2013 in Champagne is almost its exact opposite: elegant, introverted and lithe, it reveals itself slowly and quietly, thriving on finesse rather than power. It has produced champagnes of exceptional purity and transparency of expression, and as the wines develop, this is turning out to be one of my favorite vintages of the past twenty years. - Peter Liem, Champagne Guide

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