98

Louis Roederer

$595

2004 Champagne Brut Cristal Rosé

You might be able to make a wine like this if you had the foresight to buy vineyard land at the center of the slope in Aÿ, when the prices were still depressed by World Wars, and if you believed in sustaining old pinot noir vines and macerating their juice to create the color and flavor detail of a classic saignée Champagne. But even if you were a trained enologist and, like Jean-Claude Rouzaud, had inherited the Roederer estate, you still might need someone with the technical skills of Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon to attain the delicacy and fierce precision of this wine. Such efforts would be a fool’s errand, perhaps, when the formula for Cristal Rosé already exists, a mood-altering alchemy of power and finesse, fragrant red fruit, limestone gruffness and polish. This is a glorious 2004 with the drive of a great Cristal.

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Maisons Marques & Domaines USA, Oakland, CA

Reviewed by Joshua Greene | Dec 2012 | Add a comment

95

Louis Roederer

$229

2005 Champagne Brut Cristal

Every vintage can’t be 2002, or even 2004. Even so, this is pretty great, an open, airy, whip-smart delivery of Cristal’s spark, a wine of formidable delicacy. The undertow is there, drawing down a wave of spicy oak notes and heady crème caramel to reveal glints of limestone, the bright shimmer of acidity sustained by the cool rootedness in the soil. In 45 words of my notes on this wine, there’s not a single mention of fruit. Instead, they focus on brightness, subtlety, lusty juiciness, balance and mouthwatering complexity.

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Maisons Marques & Domaines USA, Oakland, CA

Reviewed by Joshua Greene | Dec 2012 | Add a comment

94

Louis Roederer

$78

2005 Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs

That’s great, you might think when you put your nose in this glass. The range of sweet and savory scents follow through on their promise like mist rising off limestone. The bubbles seem to plump up the flavors of Asian pear, lemon pith and zest and lightly toasted sourdough baguette. Or, to be less specific, this is bright, fine, floral and mouthwatering. Essential chardonnay.

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Maisons Marques & Domaines USA, Oakland, CA

Reviewed by Joshua Greene | Dec 2012 | Add a comment

93

Louis Roederer

$72

2007 Champagne Brut Rosé

The impact of this rosé’s freshness is immediate in the color, a light, copper-tinged pink refinement. What challenges the vintage may have presented come across in a little coarseness to the fragrant woodland strawberry flavor, or the massive streak of acidity that will appeal most to geeks who realize the extremity of the structure makes this an unbeatable match for a soupe de poisson, or the pink flesh of grilled langoustines.

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Maisons Marques & Domaines USA, Oakland, CA

Reviewed by Joshua Greene | Dec 2012 | Add a comment

90

Louis Roederer

$52

Champagne Brut Premier

A plump, rich take on the Roederer style, this is the pretty blond Parisian who manages a smile when you pass by: a little pithy, a little smoky, a little tangy with the scent of candied roses. The wine’s sweetness and acidity balance each other out, leaving a clean impression. A great start to a dinner party.

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Maisons Marques & Domaines USA, Oakland, CA

Reviewed by Joshua Greene | Dec 2012 | Add a comment