Champagne is a sparkling wine that originated from the Champagne region in France. There are various aspects of the wine’s production that make it unique and allow it to be recognized as champagne rather than just sparkling wine.
Made primarily from Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay grapes, this beverage is seen as an elite beverage and is used primarily for special occasions like weddings and graduations.
Cristal Champagne is a brand of elite champagne owned by the Louis Roederer company. In this article, we are going to look at what makes this brand so special and what variations are available from Cristal and its parent company, Louis Roederer.
A Brief History of Cristal Champagne
Louis Roederer was personally commissioned by Tsar Alexander II in 1876 to create a personal wine for him. To ensure that the quality of the wine was reflected in its presentation, Louis Roederer began bottling it in a transparent, lead-crystal bottle with a flat bottom.
This allowed the Tsar to see the beverage before he drank it and is credited as inspiring the name Cristal for the house’s elite wine.
Before Cristal was created, Louis Roederer was already a big name in champagne production. Louis Roederer inherited the Champagne House in 1833 and aimed to make it a unique and premium champagne producer.
Focusing on improving the enrichment of the grape vines and forming unique tastes in the beverage, Roederer has created a legacy in champagne production.
Since the original Louis Roederer took over, the champagne house has remained within the Roederer family with each heir working to continue creating fine champagne. The house is now managed by the seventh generation of the Roederer family line, Frédéric Rouzard.
Something that the Louis Roederer champagne house has become well known for is its vineyards. 15 hectares of the Grand Cru vineyards were acquired by the family in 1845 which was somewhat controversial given that grapes did not have as much value as they do now.
This was done, however, to ensure that the family could continue perfecting their art and producing wine from its grapes rather than needing to outsource them.
Since then, Louis Roederer’s vineyards have expanded to 240 hectares and 410 parcels, which is an area of land that is subdivided or blocked off. The grapes are harvested in a method that ensures respect for the biodiversity of the land and principles of sustainable wine production.
Prices, Variations & Sizes of Cristal Champagne
Cristal is an elite brand of champagne, with the price point reflecting the quality and luxury of the beverage. The beverage is made using 40% Chardonnay grapes and 60% Pinot Noir grapes, after which the champagne is aged in Louis Roederer’s cellars for 6 months.
After it has been aged, it is then left for a further 8 months after dégorgement to ensure the quality of the champagne remains high.
The champagne has a silky texture with fruity aromas, making it an enjoyable beverage. With citrus and white fruit notes, this champagne is an ideal option for celebrations like weddings, birthdays, and graduations.
Cristal Rosé is made with 55% Pinot Noir grapes and 45% Chardonnay grapes, giving it a slightly different taste than the original recipe variation. This is bottled at an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 12% (24 proof), while the original is bottled at an ABV of 13% (26 proof).
|Item||Average Price||Size per Bottle|
|Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé||$520||750 ml|
|Louis Roederer Cristal Champagne||$240||750 ml|
Louis Roederer owns Cristal and offers some champagne variations that do not fall within the Cristal branding. Each of the champagnes offered by Louis Roederer outside of the Cristal branding is bottled at an ABV of 12% (24 proof).
The Brut variations are classified as such as they have a dry taste in terms of a sweetness designation. Brut is the most common designation among champagnes as it is not too sweet and not too bitter, making it a safe option in the middle.
|Item||Average Price||Size per Bottle|
|Louis Roederer Rose Vintage||$70||750 ml|
|Louis Roederer Brut Nature 2006||$80||750 ml|
|Louis Roederer Brut Premier||$50||750 ml|
|Louis Roederer Carte Blanche||$50||750 ml|
|Louis Roederer Brut Nature 2009||$80||750 ml|
3 Alternatives to Cristal Champagne
Given the elite nature of Cristal Champagne, it is difficult to find an affordable alternative to his beverage. The three champagnes discussed have an average price range of $240 to $520, putting them between the two price points of Cristal Champagne.
Dom Perignon P2 Brut 1998 is brut champagne created by Dom Perignon. It has notes of orange fruit, honeysuckle, and toasted almonds.
Made with primarily Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, this vintage has a ratio of 48% to 52% which differs from the brand’s standard composition.
This champagne has an average price of $559 per 750 ml bottle and is sold at an alcohol by volume of 12% (24 proof).
Champagne Krug Vintage Brut 2000 is a brut produced by the Krug Champagne company. This champagne was produced to reflect the new millennium and the chaos and excitement felt during that time.
It has notes of lime zest and citrus fruit with an aroma of freshly baked pastries and caramel. Sold at an average price of $513 per 750 ml bottle, this champagne has an alcohol by volume of 12% (24 proof).
Piper-Heidsieck Rare Rose 2007 is a Rosé made with 56% Chardonnay and 44% Pinot Noir grapes. It has a fruity taste which is complimented with vanilla tones and coffee notes.
Made by the Piper-Heidsieck company, this champagne is on the lower end of the alternatives in terms of price point. This Rosé has an average price of $435 per 750 ml bottle and is sold at an alcohol by volume of 12% (24 proof).
How to Drink Cristal Champagne
As elite champagne, Cristal should be savored and sipped to ensure you are enjoying the quality taste of the beverage.
It is best to drink champagne from a champagne flute which will allow the fine bubbles to rise from the beverage and open the flavor of the beverage. Pour the Cristal champagne into the flute at a 45° angle to reduce the chance of it overflowing due to the bubbles.
You should not drink champagne with ice and should rather enjoy it neat. This will prevent the beverage from being watered down which may affect the flavor of the drink.
If you are looking for a way to add a twist to your champagne, there are 2 options. You could add fruit pieces like pomegranate seeds, raspberries, cherries, or cranberries to add a fun treat to the end of the beverage and add a slightly fruity taste to the beverage.
Otherwise, you could use Cristal champagne as a base ingredient for a mimosa for brunch. Simply add equal parts chilled Cristal champagne and fresh orange juice to a champagne flute.
If you prefer a stronger or weaker mimosa, simply alter the amount of each ingredient to create an ideal drink.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Dom Pérignon or Cristal better?
The Luxury Institute conducted a Luxury Brand Status Index Survey which reflected that Dom Pérignon was the better champagne when compared to Cristal Champagne.
Dom Pérignon was described as having a consistently high quality, high social status, and excellent taste.
Is Cristal good Champagne?
Cristal has a 100-point rating as of 2002 by Wine and Spirits Magazine. It is recognized as one of the finest and most sought-after champagnes across the globe.
What makes Cristal champagne special?
Cristal champagne is known for its bouquet of fresh aromas and notes and the period that it is aged. The fine bubbles are recognized as a symbol of its premium quality with an aroma of toast and citrus which makes it tasty and premium champagne.