The 2008 vintage was unlike any other in Champagne. A season that favoured all three grape varieties, it was a continental year: intense and hot with scorching temperatures. Beautiful September weather crowned a perfect summer, with sunny days supplying ripeness and cool nights contributing high acidity. Expectations for this vintage have consequently been high from the outset and have gradually built into pandemonium over the last few years.
Thus, when Louis Roederer Chef de Cave Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon made the decision to release Cristal 2009 in February 2017 before Cristal 2008 – the first time in history that the house have released Cristal vintages non-consecutively – the rumour mill began in earnest. Lécaillon commented at the time, simply: “I think the 2008 needs more time on lees.”
Louis Roederer Cristal 2008 is therefore the first ever vintage to undergo a full ten years of ageing, a process which has lent the finished product a remarkable level of maturity.
“The Cristal 2008 is deep, intense and masterful. It offers the quintessential reflection of its chalk soils which lend it its velvety texture and delicate tension” — Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, Chef de Cave
Summary of the wine: 60% pinot noir, 40% chardonnay; a pool of 50 hectares of vines averaging 42 years of age on the most chalky mid-slopes, yielding 50% less than the appellation; 60% biodynamic vineyards, with a goal of 100% by 2020; 16% fermented in 60-hL casks with bâtonnage for power, vinosity and a touch of spice and vanilla complexity; no malolactic fermentation; 8.5g/L dosage; typically 150,000–300,000 bottles. 10 years on lees!
Tyson Stelzer - The Champagne Guide 2018-2019