Crafting Cristal: Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon

Sitting down with Champagne Louis Roederer’s legendary Chef de Cave and Executive Vice-President to talk about why it’s high time people started taking Champagne seriously

 Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon in the cellar at Louis Roederer

Late last year, I managed to get some face time with one of the industry’s biggest names: Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon. He has been at the helm of Champagne Louis Roederer since 1999, and has taken what was already a leading Grande Marque to astronomic heights. The wines, across the range, are extraordinary.

He was in London to launch both the second release of Collection (their new multi-vintage wine that has replaced the non-vintage Brut Premier) and an exciting project – a selection of extremely limited late releases, vintage Champagnes that have been aged in Roederer’s cellars. The aim is to highlight the “window of beauty” that appears between 20 and 30 years. First up are the classic vintage bottlings, which will be followed by releases of the rosé and then the Blanc de Blancs. Interestingly – and unlike many of Roederer’s competitors – these aren’t late-disgorged, just aged perfectly. Tasting through the wines was a real treat, and highlighted the quality on show here.

I spoke to him about how he’s taken the House to the next level, why he’s more interested in the vineyard than cellar, and why he’s not just trying to make exquisite Champagne – but exceptional, age-worthy fine wine.

Read my full interview with Jean-Baptiste on, or find the ultimate crib-sheet to Cristal here

A back-room snap of the late releases that Roederer has just launched, showing the beauty of aged Champagne

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