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 put it on the invite and we were all invited to go home. It was probably a good thing because if you give me limitless champagne, well, ya know….

For a complete list of winners, visit the official site. A big thank you to Champagne Louis Roederer and Pike PR who invited me to the event.


  1. What an amazing event – thank you for sharing your bottle of Louis Roederer Champagne yesterday at dinner with us, it was the best bottle of Champagne we had yesterday.

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

    • Thank you for inviting me! I’m always happy to share my wines with good friends! The dinner last nite was a perfect Sunday roast, we’ll have to do it again 🙂

  2. I love the bar at the Gherkin, you usually can’t get in unless you know someone who works in the building so it is always good to seize any opprortunity to get up there and experience those views

    • Thanks Cara! The views were great but I bet it’s even more impressive when the sun is setting, although someone told me that when it is sunny, it can be suffocatingly hot so probably better that is was a cloudy evening.

  3. I bought some 2000 to save for a celebration. I think I might have to sell it though as it rocketed in value – strangely sad about that! Lovely looking post.

    • Sell it? Drink it! As a winemaker I spoke to recently said, a good bottle of wine is an empty bottle of wine, same goes for champagne, especially vintage!

  4. Wow, sipping primo champers at the top of the Gherkin – how fab! Now, does just-released champagne have any of that lovely yeasty/bready character? Be interesting to hear your thoughts on it after a bit more time in the bottle!

    • It will be interesting to see how it ages. I’ve had the ’02 recently and it was drinking nicely. I didn’t find too many bready characters hanging about the 04. I thought it was still very young, certainly needs a few more years. I will have to ask LR for a sample now and “save” it 😉

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