Michael Edwards caught up with Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon in London, to talk about the coming launch of Cristal 2007.
I ruefully remember the run-up to that harvest: a pretty miserable summer, with a cool wet August that felt like November. Luckily, come 1st September, returning sun and a dry north wind saved the day, at least for those who delayed picking until the 10th to allow the clear skies to do their work. ‘Not everyone made a vintage in testing ‘07,’ recalls Jean Baptiste, ‘when it was a matter of stock levels and the style a house preferred. For us, the gratification of our grands crus is their base of the purest chalk that drains whatever a wet summer can throw at them. Cristal 2007 , I think, is a repetition of 2004 but with less dilution and more density and roundness. No surprise for the yield was about 12,500 hl/ha.’
The grape mix is interesting; usually Cristal is a 60:40 Pinot / Chardonnay ratio but here JB raised Chardonnay to 42%. ‘That doesn’t sound much on paper, but a couple of percent can change the profile of the wine profoundly; one has to be very precise,’ JB stresses. Clearly what he is after is the fresh mineral expression that Grand Cru Chardonnay can contribute to what is very much a maritime rather than a continental vintage. The Grand Cru Pinots are mainly Northern Montagne, lending energy and precise vinosity. Very Cristal.
Welsh gold, filigreed stream of tiny bubbles; great Chardonnay scents, freshly citrus made complex by dried fruits and hazelnuts; exquisite mouthfeel, delicate yet rounded; chalky Pinot then announces its presence with notes of yellow peach and subtle vinosity.Creamy and seductive with air. Lovely.