The 2014 Cristal is a terrific effort that transcends the vintage. Bursting from the glass with expressive aromas of ripe citrus fruit, nectarine, white flowers, freshly baked bread and subtle hints of honeycomb, it's medium to full-bodied, vinous and fleshy, with an exuberant core of fruit that's girdled by racy acids, resulting in a wine that's simultaneously chiseled and demonstrative, meaning that early appeal doesn't come at the expense of the requisite tension for long-term cellaring. Concluding with a long, aromatic and intensely chalky finish, it is a brilliant Champagne that will offer a broad drinking window. This bottle was disgorged in June 2021 with seven grams per liter dosage.2021 - 2050
WA Extra comment:
Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon opted to harvest late in 2014, taking advantage of September sunshine and a concentrating north wind to pursue maximal maturity. The estate vineyards that inform Cristal were all picked in seven days and delivered musts with more than 11% potential alcohol, requiring no chaptalisation. While the Côte de Blancs and Vallée de la Marne received double their average summer rainfall in 2014, figures for the Montagne de Reims were around average. Accordingly, the usually later-ripening vineyards of the Montagne were picked around the same time as those of the Côte de Blancs; and of the 45 parcels that typically inform Cristal, Lécaillon eliminated three from Avize and three from Aÿ, keeping everything from the Montagne. The resulting wine is a blend of 68% Pinot Noir and 32% Chardonnay, none of which went through malolactic, and around one-third of which was vinified in wood; and it was disgorged—for the first time for Cristal Blanc—with jetting to preserve tension and aromatic range. So, what of the wine itself? After the tightly wound, remarkably complete 2013 and the muscular, concentrated 2012, the 2014 is very different, combining youthful expressiveness and chalky tension to striking effect. Already very demonstrative even less than a year after disgorgement, it is an aromatic, head-turning and incisive Cristal that will offer a broad drinking window. Indeed, I'd be inclined to approach it before the 2013 and 2012, even though the 2014, too, has everything it needs to be a very long-lived wine.