The Gherkin and Cristal 2004

The space at the very top of London’s iconic Gherkin is really quite small. I was expecting a much bigger room. It was quite a surprise to be so high up but in such small surroundings. It did, however, make for a more comforting experience. I find when I’m at the top of big buildings, all that space scares me.  It also helped that it was evening and the night closed in around us atop our Gherkin capsule with only the lights of London twinkling below. It also helped that I was calming my would-be vertigo with copious amounts of the latest vintage of Louis Roederer’s Cristal, the 2004. It was all part of the Louis Roederer 2010 International Wine Writer’s Awards ceremony. We were there to honor the winners and for the launch of Cristal’s latest vintage, the ’04. The awards were presented by Charles Metcalfe and Frederic Rouzaud, CEO of Champagne Louis Roederer. The awards are fairly new having only been in existence since 2008 but as Frederic said, “we decided to start giving out awards since we weren’t winning any.” Ah, the pragmatism of the Champenois. The awards ceremony itself was mercifully short, only 10  awards handed out so we were able to concentrate on the ’04, a blend of 55% pinot noir and 45% chardonnay.  I quite enjoyed the latest vintage although it’s not a patch on the ’02. The ’04 is probably still too young, an appealing champagne nonetheless, I found plenty of vibrancy and freshness in it with a wonderful streak of minerality running through it. The most striking thing to me though were the bubbles, they all emanated from one spot directly in the centre of the glass. How did they do that? Canapes and chocolates were also served with the Ch. de Pez 2005 and Ramos Pinto 20 yr old Tawny (and you all know how much I love tawny) with Charbonnel & Walker chocolate truffles. All too soon, the “carriages” arrived, as they so politely...

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