Champagne Louis Roederer has released the 2013 vintage of its iconic cuvée, Cristal. The expression was introduced in the United Kingdom last week with a virtual presentation by cellar master Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon.
Following the 2012 expression, the Louis Roederer Cristal 2013 is the second vintage that uses 100% biodynamically-farmed grapes from the estate in France. Lecaillon explained that due to the “complicated” nature of the 2013 growing season, which saw lower yields in the vines, while requiring strict selection in certain sites for the Pinot Noir component, production was down around 20-30% compared to the 2008 release.
Made from grapes from 30 plots, 1/3 vineyard of La Rivière (i.e la Vallée de la Marne); 1/3 vineyard of La Montagne (i.e la Montagne de Reims); and 1/3 vineyard of La Côte (i.e la Côte des Blancs), Cristal 2013 is a blend of 60% pinot noir, 40% chardonnay.
“2013 was characterised by a particularly late growing cycle,” explained the brand. “A seemingly endless winter was followed by a very cool, late spring. We had to wait until the start of July for flowering to begin – something we hadn’t seen in Champagne for quite some time. Fortunately, summer was glorious with plenty of sunshine, record high temperatures and very low rainfall, ideal for the ripening of the Pinot noirs and Chardonnays. The temperatures were cool for the October harvest and the resulting wines are elegant and fresh – the signs of a ‘classic’ vintage.”
“Cristal is about the white soil, and the sunshine, and my aim is to reach 50:50; 50% chalk and 50% sunshine, and this is right on the middle, the target has been met,” said Lécaillon, explaining that the chalky soils of the vineyards bring salinity and brightness to the Champagne, while the sun provides flesh and fruitiness.