For a champagne founded in the same year as the United States of America, Louis Roederer’s Cristal has changed remarkably little over the years compared to the country across the pond.
Founded in 1776 as Dubois Pere & Fils, the company was renamed after the founder’s nephew, Louis Roederer, who took over in 1833 and renamed the champagne house after himself. One of Roederer’s greatest moves was expanding the brand into Russia. The champagne enjoyed years of success among well-heeled Russians, and Tsar Nicholas II eventually requested a special champagne to be made for the Imperial Court of Russia.
The result was Cristal, a sweet and delicious wine that broke with tradition - instead of being packaged in a dark bottle like, say, Dom Perignon - Cristal came in crystal-clear bottles, hence the name. As legend has it, the transparency was a feature designed so that Tsar Nicholas could tell if somebody was trying to poison his bubbly.
Today, Cristal remains one of the world’s most prestigious champagnes, with vintage bottles fetching thousands of dollars in the auction market. In the 1990s, Cristal became a favorite among hip-hop artists - until American rapper Jay-Z issued a boycott over what he deemed negative comments by Louis Roederer’s director, throwing his support behind another champagne.
Despite the hiccup, Cristal remains a favorite of oenophiles worldwide - and strong as ever in Russia, where a new generation of oligarchs now enjoys it.
By Carrie Coolidge | Source :: www.luxist.com