Cristal; When the night passed in to pink …

Picture of Richard Juhlin

Richard Juhlin

RICHARD JUHLIN reflects on his latest VIP trip to Champagne. [read the full champagne story] 

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Just returned from another one of my VIP trips with the Champagne Club, I’m trying to land not only physically but also mentally. After the bombardment of heavenly impressions we are exposed to during just under a week in the Mecca of bubbles, most of us suffer from some form of chaotic brain fog. Not only is the body tired, but the brain is also busy trying to sort out the impressions. Yesterday my body gave up. Lie down and take care of yourself! No evil that brings no good with it. Now I had time to close my eyes and think through what we had been through.

Champagne Hiking in the vineyard with the 1988 Bollinger RD Collection at the old church Saint-Martin in Mutigny. The most extensive tastings ever took place of both the Palmer Collection and Michel Arnould Mémoire de Vignes as well as another unreal array of Lanson Collection on magnum and Dom Pérignon P2 in the monk’s monastery in Hautvillers. Lunches and dinners in the Eiffel Tower, at Taittinger, Bollinger, Pommery, Ruinart and with Rare in the fashionable Residence Eisenhower.

Still, it was another impression that stuck with me the strongest. Because despite the fact that someone a little clumsily revealed to the group’s Cristal Rosé innocence that she had been placed in the Crying Seat around the magic table in Reims and was therefore able to resist the psychic manipulation and the physical reaction to let the rapture turn into tears of happiness, the evening was unforgettable. In fairness, it wasn’t the human encounters or the atmosphere around the table that created magic this time. Not the perfectly calibrated food, the table setting, the flower arrangement or the expectant waiting staff who always go the extra mile when I bring my entourage.

Then you think it must be the near perfect five vintages down to 2002 of Cristal Vinothèque in magnum that were served that gave me the most erect goosebumps. No, not these giants either, as the white Cristals served more as the perfect foreplay before the night passed into pink. Louis Roederer and Jean-Baptite Lécaillon are the uncrowned champions of pink wines. 

‘Another Cristal Rosé virgin was gently taken in The Crying Seat and the first time is always the best as you know. ‘


I must admit I’m a little jealous, but I’ll settle for the brain fog clearing and having lost my vintage virginity to the exquisitely beautiful Cristal Rosé from 2013. Only once is the first. The beauty of these moments passes like colorful days, but the memory remains.

2013 Louis Roederer ‘Cristal Rosé’                

55pn 45ch

‘Cristal Rosé 2013, what a dreamlike creation. If you have never tasted the world’s best rosé wine before, this is a perfect vintage to start with. I find it hard to imagine a more classic example of Cristal Rosé. Certainly, the wine will mature and become considerably deeper than it is today. At the same time, it is not possible to squeeze more elegance out of grapes than Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon has done here. All the components seem to wrap around each other and merge into a symbiosis of beauty. The ultra-fine mousse joins the parts through its pleasant tactile movement and allows the layers of flavors to interact and integrate. Imagine if humans were as good at it. Lovely art and life affirmation in a glass.’

98p (apr-24) 99p

2005 Louis Roederer ‘Cristal Rosé Vinothèque Rosé’         

60pn 40ch

‘Almost unreal dense and rich in magnum. The wine was breathtakingly magnificent, but was a bit unlucky when it came to us at the legendary table with “The Crying Seat” on Boulevard Lundy. Unlucky because it was served right after the deliciously sublime 2013 Cristal Rosé. On its own, sure 2005 appears extremely elegant and multifaceted. In our comparison, the giant came to impress magnificently, but more like a heavy soloist canon than like an ethereal symphony.’

96p (apr-24) 96p

2015 Louis Roederer ‘Philippe Starck Rosé Brut Nature’    

55pn 25pm 20ch

‘If the 2005 Cristal Rosé was a bit unlucky with the serving order right after the 2013 Cristal Rosé at Louis Roederer’s house, it was nothing against the thankless position Philippe Starck’s Rosé had. After two Cristal Rosés, this wine appears as punk rock in the Royal Albert Hall or as the lost cousin from the country with its rubber boots on the Place Vendôme. Roughly unkempt and rustic. But at the same time, intensely unpolished, genuine, and extremely biodynamic taste- snorting. Dry and gastronomic with a palate that on the other hand derives from sweet parts of mashed red and black fruits with great ripeness not completely free from slightly oxidized yellow bananas with brown skin.’

89p (apr-24) 90p

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