A perfect combination of softness and concentration, matched by a masterful maturity, The 2015 Cristal Brut delivers intense and delicious aromas with a superb energy and a magical vibration. This is a timeless champagne with a chalky temperament, sustained by its soils, freed from the sunny character of the vintage.
The nose begins with hints of yellow fruit, toasted almonds and wheat from the Chardonnay, combined with the juicy red fruit of the Pinot Noir. Then comes the great surge of energy from the wine's structure, a vibratory intensity that transforms into a gentle caress, a silky texture interwoven with fine flavors of candied citrus and iodized spices.
The vintage's chalky character thus bursts forth in a bracing, vertical effervescence, with an insistent, precise and finely honed freshness. The finish is underpinned by subtle oaky, sappy and saline notes, which creates the ultimate sensation of delicacy and concentration.
Cristal 2015 remains a wine of supreme balance and measure, resonating from the chalky nature of its soils rather than the sunny character of its vintage. A perfect Cristal, intensely of the 2015 vintage, with enormous ageing potential.
For the warm and dry vintage this has tremendous freshness and elegance. The complex nose of citrus blossom, mint, lemon and lime zest opens up slowly as this aerates in the glass. The wine’s ample structure is still quite firm, which is a vintage characteristic, the mousse very fine but also very lively for an eight-year-old champagne. Cristal fans will love this as it is, but a year or two more in the bottle will do a lot for the very long mineral finish of this youthful masterpiece. A cuvee of 60% pinot noir and 40% chardonnay, picked from all 45 Cristal vineyard plots. Tasted at the Cristal vertical tasting at the champagne house on July 6th, 2023. Drink from release.
I have tasted the 2015 Cristal three times so far - once as part of an extensive vertical I will be reporting on shortly, and then later in my office. Those tastings paint a portrait of a complex Champagne that is still finding its center. Tasted at the maison, the 2015 is rich, dense and explosive, with tremendous textural intensity and also a good bit of energy to back it up. Citrus confit, spice, ginger, chalk and dried flowers abound in a Champagne endowed with tremendous aromatic presence in a style that offers notable richness, but lighter than vintages such as 2012. There is a bit of the savoriness that is such a signature of the year, but it is nicely integrated in the wine’s fabric.