Cristal
By George Stewart

Louis Roederer is a Champagne house that needs exactly zero introduction. It’s quite possibly the most famous producer in Champagne, responsible for one of the world’s most important and iconic wines; possibly the original cult wine, Cristal.

Now run by the seventh generation of the Roederer family, the house traces it’s ancestry back to 1833 when the eponymous Louis Roederer inherited the estate and began to establish a well-respected reputation by focussing on the quality of his soils, focussing on terroir. The estate became a trailblazer in another sense by doing the first house to do a prestige cuvee when in 1876, they released ‘Cristal’, made exclusively for the Tsar of Russia, Alexander II.

There have been many great and remarkable releases over the years and, with the 2012 Vintage releasing across the world, soon to come to the United Kingdom, now is the perfect time to look at the quality of the vintage at hand.

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“Clearly the vintage is a good one, the ratings bear that out clearly enough, with 98 points from James Suckling.”

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Clearly the vintage is a good one, the ratings bear that out clearly enough, with 98 points from James Suckling. The 2012 growing season in Champagne is widely accepted to be a great one; one of the best in decades and standing shoulder to shoulder with the likes of 2002 and 1989 for quality and likely longevity.

Jancis Robinson has called 2012 "an exceptional vintage in Champagne”, while Decanter awarded a 5-star rating for the season as a whole. A small crop across the region, a number of producers made excellent wines. For example Pol Roger outperformed their 2008 with 2012. If Cristal could accomplish a similar feat, bearing in mind their 2008 was a triple-100-pointer, it would be one of the most compelling wines ever produced.

The performance of great vintages on the secondary market indicates that without a doubt, anyone who can get a hold of this wine on release will surely see a return on their investment in short order. This is a great wine and one that collectors are always queuing up to buy, with allocations selling out in short order without fail.

If you have the good fortune to lay your hands on a case we implore you to do so. You will not regret it.