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November 1, 2021updated 02 Nov 2022 11:34am

Cristal Vinothèque: From Roederer’s laboratory of time

By The World of Fine Wine Team

Champagne Louis Roederer has launched the latest vintage of its long-aged cuvée, Cristal Vinothèque 2000.

Having established its status at the top of the producer’s portfolio with a trio of celebrated vintages from the 1990s (1995, 1996, and 1999), Champagne Louis Rodererer’s celebrated, long-aged prestige cuvée, Cristal Vinothèque, has now reached the 2000s with the launch of the 2000 vintage.

Available as a white and a rosé, Cristal Vinothèque 2000 is the product of a three-part, 20-year ageing process—or, as Louis Roederer puts it more colorfully, a two-decade stay in the company’s “laboratory of time.”

Cristal Vinothèque: 20 years of ageing

The Vinothèque ageing process, overseen by chef de cave Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, begins sur lattes, or on the lees, a stage that lasts between eight and 12 years. According to Roederer, this allows “the Champagne’s aromas to develop and its structure to take on greater complexity. The richness of the lees lends the wine a silky smooth texture and depth.”

The process continues after riddling with a five-to-ten-year period sur pointe, which the house says is “essential for slowing down its ageing and prolonging its maturation while preserving the original freshness that is the essence of Cristal Vinothèque.”

Finally, after disgorgement, the wine enters the third phase of its development, ageing under cork (sur bouchon) for between two and six years at a constant temperature of 11°C in the Roederer cellars beneath the city of Reims, a stage that “is required for the bubbles and the matter to fuse together and become one.”

“The Cristal 2000 was born in a chaotic year but has turned out to be quite a revelation, surprising us since day one with its remarkable finesse,” the house said in a statement accompanying the release. “It is without a doubt the most elusive of all the Cristal vintages yet has somehow become the one that best embodies the beauty of the Champagne region.”

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