The 1988 is a strapping, powerful Cristal. Ripe tropical fruit, butter, spices and smoke are some of the nuances that emerge from this energetic, focused Champagne. This is a rather monolithic Cristal that lacks the elegance of the finest vintages. The 1988 Cristal is unique in that it is the only vintage in which Chardonnay, at 55%, plays the dominant role in the blend. 1988 was a cool year and picking stretched into October. The late harvest largely favored Chardonnay over Pinot Noir. According to Lecaillon, the lesson learned in 1988 was that the estate needed to seriously lower yields on the Pinot in order to achieve proper ripeness. The wine was partially fermented in oak (25%) and 30% of the Pinot Noir underwent malolactic fermentation. This bottle was disgorged in late 2007, and dosage was 8 grams, quite a bit lower than is the norm these days. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2019.
*Actual bottle with actual vintage is in the second photo.