Putting together a gift case of champagne
After reading through a number of CH threads on champagnes, I've started planning the contents of a mixed case of champagne as a Valentine's Day present for my fiance. I tried to veer towards lesser-known and grower champagnes, though that wasn't an absolute rule. Any thoughts, critiques, and suggestions of substitutions would be highly welcome. Here are the guidelines:
- I'm hoping to spend around or less than $300 total
- As for tastes, he's very (very) (extremely) fond of Krug, particularly the heavenly '90, strongly dislikes Veuve Clicquot yellow label, likes NV Billecart and Dom a lot, and is never averse to drinking NV Feuillate and Bollinger
- Given the passion for Krug, I'm wondering if I should head toward more "muscular" champagnes, though not entirely sure which champagnes qualify. It's funny, though, because, when drinking the '90, the word muscular never comes to mind--maybe because it gets overcrowded by other words, or non-words, like "oh, my God" and "mmmm"
- I can buy the champagne in either NYC or in SF (we go back and forth a lot), though it would be great to find everything at one wine store (so far, K&L looks like a leader), and would rather not buy online, given the cold these days
Thanks in advance.
Leading contenders, for a total of ~$285 before tax:
Pierre Peters 1999 Cuvée Spéciale ($70)
Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve ($40)
Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve ($30)
Michel Arnould & Fils Reserve Brut Grand Cru ($35)
Franck Bonville Cuvee Les Belles Voyes Champagne ($65)
Gosset Grand Reserve ($45)
Vilmart & Compagnie Grand Cellier ($50)
Pierre Peters Cuvée de Réserve Brut N.V. ($35)
1995 Charles Heidsieck Blanc de Millénaires ($85)
Jacquesson Brut ($40)
1996 Duval-Leory ($45)
Edited to add: Or, heck, maybe I should scrap everything and get the boy a bottle of the '96 Salon. But we've never had any Salon, ever. So would he even like it? Decisions, decisions!
Another or: maybe I should look for more '96 options among the grower champagnes.
Other CH links that have been helpful:
Gift of champagne: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/457486
True champagne: incomparable: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/430435
Affordable and versatile sparkling wines: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/474564
Mixed case of champagne: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/434080
The Jacquesson available at PJ is, I believe, the 731.
Agreed on not trying and failing miserably to replicate the '90 Krug. I've also gotten that as an "occasion" present for him, let's see, three different times now, so it'll be good to do something different. Also, this will be a good way for us to find excellent champagnes that are a little less hard on the wallet.
Looks as though I'm going to go with PJ. Thanks for the thoughts, everyone!
Just have to report hat I had the '90 Krug in a very stellar line up last Saturday. Also had the '90 Pol Roger and '90 R.D. Bollinger. Burgundies back to '78 and Brunello's back to '82. IMO the Krug blew away the field. I say this by way of suggesting that you may not want to try to replicate such an incomparable wine.
With regard to the wines you've mentioned, I have always thought the Heidsieck was unvalued and underpriced. Which Jacquesson? I love the 730 but can't as yet endorse subsequent "vintages".
'95 Salon? Invite me! ;-)
Great reading material, vickib. Thanks for the recommendation.
Mengathon: you're right, PJ's has the entire second list! I've never bought from PJ's before. This looks great, and (comparatively) cheap. Maybe I'll work with them, not K&L. No, he doesn't love NV Krug; or, rather, he likes it a lot, but prefers other things at that price point. (I love NV Krug, though!) (But this isn't about me.)
You know, if you are okay with delivery in NYC, I do believe PJ's actually has your entire second list, all at lower prices than those you've listed. If you happen to buy a mixed case, they'll take another 10% off some of the wines, though a good portion of their champagnes are non-discountable. And they had the '99 Pierre Peters on sale for $40 a month back, but someone else got to it before I did. It's no longer listed on their site, but they do a pretty lousy job updating their site. I've also had headaches with their mis-listed wines online, i.e. the NV Duval-Leroy is listed under Burgundy as "Leroy," a famous producer from Burgundy. But if you know exactly what you're looking for, their telephone service is excellent.
You mention he likes Krug. Does he like the NV Grand Cuvée? It's going to be hard to keep your selections under $300 with a bottle of NV Krug. OTOH, there are always half bottles. They should be no more than $75/375, with the added bonus they come with a beautiful gift box.
Here's a link from another thread on this board, which I've thoroughly enjoyed reading in the past couple of evenings:
Your selections sound great. I suggest you go to a wine store that you trust, find the Champagne specialist, and make his/her day by asking them for assistance in putting a case together for you. The last time I did that, at The Wine Country in Signal Hill, SoCal, Samantha helped me put together a brilliant case that opened my eyes to the wonders of small grower Champagne. No more yellow label for me!