Last month saw the release of the much lauded 2013 vintage of Cristal. Upon tasting, speculation was rife about whether it could steal the crown from the ‘Cristal of Cristal’s’, the mighty 2008 vintage. We will let you make your mind up when you taste it!
2013 was characterised by a particularly late growing cycle. 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.
Crus: 45 exceptional lieux-dits
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)
1/3 vineyard of «La Côte» (i.e la Côte des Blancs)
Wines vinified in oak: 32%
Malolactic fermentation: 0%
Cepage: 60% Pinot noir 40% Chardonnay
Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon’s Tasting Note
“A golden hue with soft, glowing highlights. Fine, steady, gentle bubbles.
Powerful and complex on the palate, revealing a mixture of yellow fruit (mirabelle plum), juicy, ripe fruits (nectarine), citrus peel (candied orange) and finely-roasted nuts (hazelnut). The nose is simultaneously powdery and sweet, with elegant, chalky notes.
Gentle, tactile and full-bodied on the palate. The bubbles create a gentle, vibrating sensation, then the wine becomes soft, dense and juicy. But it is the chalky freshness that quickly sets the tone: the sweetness becomes energetic and intense, giving the wine an elegant yet powerful texture. Fine, textured tannins reveal a poised and vinous dimension to the wine. The finish is savoury and saline.”
Jancis Robinson MW (18.5)
“This is clearly made up of many layers and is extremely persistent. A fine mix of intellectual and pleasurable. Pretty gorgeous.”
Matthew Jukes (19.5)
“There is arresting purity and drive here in fact a sip leaves one out of breath, such is the complexity on offer and the time taken for the palate to compute” what is happening”
Essi Avellan MW (96-99)
“Cristal Blanc is so racy and pure with huge, salty mineral tanginess at the fore. But look beyond and get bedazzled by its fruity power. Lemon, lime, white currant and Granny Smith apple with chalky tones and gunpowder whiffs arising over time. Focused and saline on the mouth-wateringly zingy palate.”
William Kelley (96)
“Notes of crisp yellow orchard fruit, white flowers, blanched almonds and warm brioche introduce the 2013 Cristal, a full-bodied, layered and incisive wine that’s taut and chiselled but also notably exuberant in a vintage that I admire immensely but which can sometimes present an austere side. Deep, concentrated and penetrating, it’s complemented by a pinpoint mousse and concludes with a long, saline finish. Less introverted than its 2012 predecessor, readers won’t regret trying a bottle of the 2013 Cristal young—even if I’d recommend forgetting some for a decade too.”
Decanter, Simon Field MW (96)
“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”