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How much is my bottle of champagne worth?

m
MongooseTE Apr 27, 2010 02:12 PM

i have a 13 oz bottle of 1945 Bollinger BRUT extra quality champagne and was wondering how much it is worth? i found it in the basement of someone i knew that died.

  1. Veggo Apr 27, 2010 02:32 PM

    It's worth the memory you make when you share it with a loved one at a special time.

    1. c
      craig_g Apr 28, 2010 01:03 PM

      If perfectly stored, somewhere in the $200 range. But I like Veggo's answer better.

      Champagne is probably the wine most susceptible to ill treatment, especially in half-bottles, so unless it had been kept optimally (<57 degrees) for its entire life, there's a good chance it's compromised. The level, color, and appearance of bubbles (most 40s Champagnes I've had still had some, although I've never had one from half-bottle) will tell you a lot even before you open it.

      1. maria lorraine Apr 28, 2010 09:38 PM

        If you do open it, drink it quickly, i.e. within 30 minutes. It will die very quickly once opened. This has been my experience drinking many old, exceptionally well-stored vintages in France.

        1. Bill Hunt May 2, 2010 07:30 PM

          It is worth as much as you can find someone to pay for it. With that bottle, much will depend on how it has been stored and the paperwork to prove it.

          I agree with ML, that it will not last more than a brief moment of glory, if that, so be at the ready, and have a backup handy.

          Good luck,

          Hunt

          1. b
            Brad Ballinger May 3, 2010 09:58 AM

            I don't know what the practice was in 1945, but today very rarely does Champagne undergo secondary fermentation in the bottle when the bottle size is 375 ml (approx 13 oz). Rather the wine undergoes secondary fermentation in a larger bottle, and is then poured into smaller bottles. If today's practice was also done in 1945, the wine might be in worse shape than a larger bottle of 1945.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Brad Ballinger
              maria lorraine May 3, 2010 10:47 AM

              ...interesting...

            2. estufarian May 9, 2010 01:52 PM

              Unlikely to have retained the fizz. BUT could have retained some character - the colour will be the best guide (if it's discernible through the glass).

              I have a 'trick' that has worked well on older bottles. Buy a bottle of a 'current' vintage of the same 'brand'. Pour some of the older wine into a champagne flute and then top up with the younger version.

              But I wouldn't buy a bottle of that age without a 'decent provenance'. So worth memories only.

              2 Replies
              1. re: estufarian
                Bill Hunt May 10, 2010 08:25 PM

                Interesting, and something that I have neither heard of, nor tried. I'll have to give this a go. Hey, it's basically an impromptu cuvée.

                Now, we had some Möet Chandon Champagne liquor (name escapes me at this instant), which had been out of distribution for years. Good friends were visiting, and this was a special wine, but there were only 2 btls. in the US, and I had gotten them some years before in anticipation. They were then stored ? for some years, and then about 5 years in my cellar. The fizz was gone, but the wine was still wonderful, though the friends were there, so I cannot be 100% objective.

                Hunt

                1. re: Bill Hunt
                  estufarian May 11, 2010 07:28 AM

                  I've used this several times on old Champagnes and around 50/50 mix is about right - which is very convenient as that uses both bottles up neatly.
                  If the old wine is badly oxidized, I'm guessing a higher proportion of the young wine is better. And always add the young wine to the old - experimentally it seems to retain more of the 'fizz'.
                  I've always used the same (or closest) modern version of the same wine. In theory I guess this would work with any young wine, but the romantic in me likes to believe that there is a synergy by using the same 'brand'.

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