The leading French label, Louis Roederer, presented a limited edition of 200 bottles of Cristal champagne Jeroboams (3 liters), which went on sale simultaneously around the world for an estimated price of $25,000 each. Only 5 can be purchased in the United States, 8 in Spain, 2 in Mexico and the rest are divided between France, England, Germany, Italy, Monaco and Canada, among a few other select countries.
The design of the stunning bottle was placed in the hands of Philippe Di Meo, born in Marseille in1963 and founder of Reso Design Band Studio. Di Meo is known for unleashing our imagination through his art pieces, introducing a unique and risky vocabulary to each of his creations. “The creative essence of a project should be fun in its language, and totally seductive” says the French designer.
In his 24-year career, Di Meo has created collectibles for firms such as Baccarat, Christofle, Raynaud, Softel, Coca Cola, Guerlain, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Paco Rabanne and, more recently, for Sephora.
Inspired by the exquisite tradition of French jewelry culture, the impressive presentation of the Cristal Orfèvre 2002 is entirely handmade by two master goldsmiths who spent four days creating the gold lattice for each bottle, carefully joining each link to form a protective mesh bound to the central medallion.
“As I imagined this millesime, I only envisioned the light of the wine protected by a clear glass bottle, impressive for its size. The design does not cast any shadow on the bottle, but rather creates reflections from light. The result is a precise and precious mesh, like a jewel on the surface,” explains Di Meo.
He explains that the realization of this project was a technical achievement, which required comprehensive and unique work as each bottle needs more than 20 feet of plated brass band gilded with 24K gold, in addition to 158 silver welding points.
This authentic bottle, which is a jewel by itself, surrounds a splendid 2002 champagne, considered one of the firm’s best vintages in decades. Its excellent quality, concentrated flavors, fine bubbles and wonderful fruity texture are due to a long period of maturation as it remains at least 10 years resting inside the cellars.
Cristal champagne is produced only in years when the ripeness of the chardonnay and pinot noir grapes are optimal. In this case, 2002 was an exceptional year, with warm and uniform temperatures that enhanced their quality at the time of collection in the Louis Roederer vineyards, located on the mountains of Reims, in the Marne Valley and on the Côte des Blancs.
The history of this unique champagne is quite interesting. In 1833, after inheriting the Maison de Champagne from his uncle, Louis Roederer decided to concentrate his efforts in exporting the wines to several countries, including Russia.
In no time, the Russian Tsar, Alexander II, realizing the quality of the champagne produced by Roederer, decreed that every year, the Cellar Head of his court should travel to Reims to oversee the elaboration process of his personal cuveé.
It is known that in 1876, Tsar Alexander II, famous for his snobbery and love of luxury, told his sommelier that the champagne bottles wrapped in white napkins that were served at his table looked all alike. He demanded that, from then on, the superlative golden elixir from his personal cuveé be bottled in transparent glass with a flat bottom so they could be distinguished from all others. From this curious whim, centuries ago, the Louis Roederer Cristal champagne was born, and today we still enjoy the same design and superb quality. ■