The 2004 Cristal is superb today. Bright and focused, the 2004 shows all of the tension and energy that has always been one of its signatures. The first hints of aromatic maturity are starting to develop, but the 2004 remains quite young and full of energy. I have always admired the 2004 (along with the best wines of the vintage) for its focus. In this bottle, the interplay of freshness from the recent 2018 disgorgement and richness gained through added time on the lees (which also results in lower dosage of 7 grams per liter) opens another window into the personality of Cristal. In 2004, the Pinot Noir is 57%, or a bit lower than normal, while the Chardonnay at 43% is correspondingly a touch higher.
The 2004 Brut Cristal has put on quite a bit of weight since I first tasted it earlier this year. It is a powerful, structured Cristal layered with considerable fruit. Chardonnay seems to play the leading role in 2004, at least today. Cristal is often accessible young, but that is far from the case here. This is a serious, painfully young Cristal that will require considerable patience. Readers who are willing to spend some time with the wine today will find a super-impressive, complete Cristal. The 2004 Cristal is 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. This is Lot L033331E100008, disgorged January, 2010. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2034.
My visit to these historic cellars earlier in the year was an eye-opening experience. I spent several hours with Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon tasting through a wide range of 2009s vins claires. Readers may want to take a look at my feature on www.erobertparker.com for more on those wines. The visit was capped off by previews of the 2004 Cristal and the as-yet-unreleased Cristal Rose. Both were superb. Over the last six months the 2004 Cristal has come together beautifully and is shaping up to be a truly great, monumental Champagne. From top to bottom, this is an impressive set of wines. My only real criticism of Roederer is the estate's insistence on using lot numbers that resemble missile launch codes in their complexity. Surely something simpler must be possible.