Long-time Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon has produced yet another in a string of superb Champagnes with the 2007 Cristal. Rich, powerful and enveloping, the 2007 takes hold of all the senses and never lets up. The aromatics alone are captivating, but then the wine opens on the palate, revealing layer after layer of flavor to match a multi-dimensional, kaleidoscopic personality that will leave Champagne lovers weak at the knees. The 2007 is 58% Pinot Noir and 42% Chardonnay, which is to say a bit more Chardonnay-leaning than is the norm. The 2007 is striking today, but it should also age effortlessly for several decades. It is also without question one of the very finest new releases of the year.
Anticipated maturity: 2015-2037
Robert Parker 95
Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon calls Cristal “the first terroir cuvée of the Champagne.” He furthers, “It’s not just Chardonnay or Pinot Noir, but the chalk that brings the ultimate finesse, length and precision of Cristal.” Forty-five blocks with averaging age of 43-years-old, low-yielding vines form the base of Cristal, which is usually made of approximately 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. Due to an early bud break (end of March) and the wet summer, the 2007 was picked at the end of August, so almost 100 days after the flowering instead of the normal 93-95 days. There is a bit less Pinot Noir than usual (57%) and accordingly, more Chardonnay (43%) in the 2007 Cristal. This Champagne comes along in a golden color and with a deep and matured, yet well-defined bouquet of ripe yellow fruits and honey notes. Full-bodied, round and very complex, the generous 2007 is a perfect mix of ripe fruit and precise minerality. It is a silky textured, pure and precise, as well as powerful and expressive Champagne. It has great tension and grip in the very long and persistent finish. Great expression of chalk. The 2007 was disgorged in 2015. The 2009 is to be released in September; the 2008 won’t be in the market earlier than January 2018. Neither a 2010 nor a 2011 will be released, but a 2012.
Anticipated maturity: 2016-2030
Disgorged in 2013, dosage 9.5 g/l. 58% Pinot Noir, 42% Chardonnay, 15% of the cuvée is fermented in oak. Five years spent on the lees. Very early spring and ‘murky’ summer. Fungal diseases. Much more discreet nose than most. With the acidity a bit jagged and not gorgeously integrated.
Anticipated maturity: 2014-2026