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Oct 5, 2008 12:32 PM

Champagne to lay down


I want to lay down a bottle of champagne for 18/21 years for my recent godchild, any advice would be appreciated.

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  1. Many of the top 96's were just released. You could get a bottle of Krug for about $350. could buy a really nice sauternes or port.

    3 Replies
    1. re: chrisinroch

      That may have been the release price, but I haven't seen any '96 Krug less than $600. Would you kindly point out where I may find such a wine at this price? I'd be all over that.

      1. re: mengathon

        I have a 6 pack. What do you have to trade?

        1. re: chrisinroch

          My 401K, first-born child, eternal gratitude, etc....

    2. First of all, presuming your recent godchild was born THIS year, don't you need to wait and see if 2008 is a vintage year in Champagne, and then wait for them to come to market???

      While many Champagnes DO indeed age, asking one to go 18-21 years eliminates most of them. I'm with chrisinroah -- I'd do Sauternes or Porto . . . MUCH more likely to not merely survive until your godchild reaches 21, but much more likely to IMPROVE with that aging . . .

      4 Replies
      1. re: zin1953

        Well said. Even with the champagnes that are built to age, they are somewhat of a different animal I hear when they are drunk 20 years down the road. More concentrated and less fizzy. Some folks might not even like that. 2008 is up in the air, but 2007 was a killer year for sauternes. For $150, you could buy 4 half bottles of top notch producers.

        1. re: zin1953

          I agree in principle, but you must concede that there are notable exceptions. First, granted, 2008 would have to turn out to be a banner year - and the early buzz is that it's probably not going to be... but there are a handful of Champagnes that would certainly improve for that long. 21 years ago was 1987 - not a declared vintage, but 1988 was - and several 1988's, that were stored well, are still drinking well - 1988 Salon, 1988 Krug, 1988 Paul Roger Cuvee Winston Churchill, 1988 Philliponnat Glos de Goisses, etc. Another possibiltiy is Vilmart Coeur de Cuvee.

          There is hope - however slim!


          1. re: georgempavlov

            >>> I agree in principle, but you must concede that there are notable exceptions. <<<

            Didn't I say that? "While many Champagnes DO indeed age, asking one to go 18-21 years eliminates most of them." MOST, but not all . . . ;^)

            1. re: zin1953

              Yes, of course you said that. I wasn't trying to be argumentative - just offering my own perspective. You are, of course, right - and obviously quite knowledgeable; I wasn't contradicting you, just me offering my $0.02.

              I've tasted a few old-ish (20-30 years old) Champagnes that were truly sublime - a couple of vintages of Salon, in particular, and they were among the great wine experiences of my life.

              Of course, mature Champagne is, as you say, altogether something different, but so is mature still wine compared to young - you must admit.

        2. We've got some 1996 Dom P in the cellar and its been drinking fine when we pop it over the last couple of years. No degradation so far. We are careful to cellar it carefully in its case, though.

          Here's some advice from an interview

          2 Replies
          1. re: girobike

            I would be shocked if a top-quality 1996 Champagne showed signs of degradation this early. But asking it to be in GREAT shape in 2029 is too much for 95-plus percent of all top-quality Champagnes . . .

            1. re: zin1953

              Plus one also has to like Champagne that is that old and doesn't have a recently disgorged or late disgorged designation.

          2. Since the OP has started a new thread, I feel fine hijacking it a bit....

            What do certain houses do that makes their wine built to last. Is it just the juice they buy or does the winemaking process btw say Krug and somebody like Duval Leroy?

            In other words, if thOP owned the house, could he force a few cases of long lived nectar out of his production regardless of whether it was a declared vintage with great juice?

            1 Reply
            1. re: chrisinroch

              In a word, "structure."

              Salon, as an example, does *not* put their wines through malolcatic fermentation. No malo generally means higher acidity overall, and certainly higher levels of malic acid than a wine which does undergo malolactic; therefore, better structure and backbone means better aging potential.

              Certainly the character and quality of the grapes matter as well, as they would with any wine. The better the quality of the "raw materials" . . .

              Also -- how long was the wine en tirage? Some wines might be on the yeast for as little as (e.g.) three years, while a wine like Bollinger R.D. might be en tirage for nice or ten!

              Now then, having said all of that, I'll readily admit I've never made sparkling wines, and they ARE a world unto itself. After all, it's the only wine that the winemaker cannot taste during production . . . as Ringo said, "It's all in the mind, you know."