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Jan 28, 2011 10:10 AM

Help! Need your best recs for champagne/dessert wines from 2003 for my anniversary.

So my wife and I married in 2003, and I don't know why I haven't thought of it before, but a week or so ago I was thinking about what to do for this anniversary and had the (in my own mind, at least) brilliant idea of buying several bottles of something special from the 2003 vintage for us to celebrate.

Here's where it gets interesting, though -- we are both in our VERY early 30s, so I've decided instead of getting a variety I'd like to focus on just one ... something that we won't necessarily have every year, but that we can enjoy a bottle of every few years or so (say 5 - 10). I think it would be really, REALLY cool to have this be our special way of celebrating milestone anniversaries; and just as cool will be how we can taste the wine incrementally as it ages, really detecting the changes it undergoes as it matures and ages.

So ... that being said, I am certainly looking for something really, really special. And since we both quite enjoy champagne (not too dry, please) and dessert wines, that's where I was thinking we should focus. We also are very partial to German Rieslings (as you can see we both have "sweet teeth").

I found it interesting reading the Chateau d'Yquem 2003 thread, as that was one of the first things that popped to mind, and I can imagine how cool it would be taste 60 years from now.

I can't think of anything else, but feel free to chime in with thoughts and questions in addition to recs.

Ready. Set. GO! (and thanks!)

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  1. As far as I know, 2003 was not a vintage year in Champagne. BUT Iron Horse, a Sonoma County winery renowned for their delicious sparkling wines made some very special wines that year. I would contact the winery (Joy Sterling, specifically) and tell her what you're looking for and why. I'll bet you will be happily successful.

    As for your 50th Anniversary, or so, I'd get a couple of bottles of that 03 Yquem before the price goes totally into the stratosphere. There's little doubt that, properly stored, it will be drinking well for that anniversary. ;)

    9 Replies
    1. re: ChefJune

      Thanks CJ.

      I'm actually looking at getting only ONE wine. It's not that we won't be drinking others, but I'm looking for that one, really special wine that will age with us. Then even it not every year, but every few years, we can revisit it like an old friend and companion to our marriage.

      Sounds like you are thinking the Yquem would be the way to go, or do you have any other suggestions?

      1. re: a213b

        Just a thought - I'm not sure how well these age, but Schramsburg Brut Rose and Blanc de Blanc from CA are pretty nice substitutes for the real thing. We had this at our wedding (in 2003). I believe they are in the $30/bottle range so prb a nice treat to drink now for your anniversary and save the Yquem!

        1. re: kcadams1980

          Overall Schramsberg is the best producer of American bubbles, but as you guess, kc, they're not longtermers. Ten years at best.

        2. re: a213b

          ChefJune was right about champagne, and those wines aren't nearly as longlived as wines with significant sugar content. Sugar's one of the best preservatives. So is acid. For true longterm success you need both. Unfortunately for you, 2003 was a pretty torid vintage around the globe so acid levels weren't what you'd wish them to be, and you'll have to be pretty picky. Your best bets will be Sauternes, which you're already on to, port except that 2003 wasn't a declared vintage, and Auslese-and-up level rieslings (which fortunately you've expressed a liking for). It will be hard, but not impossible, to find some this far out--I reccomend you join (this isn't spam!) for some reccomendations from David Bueker and a couple of the guys there who know more about riesling than anybody else I know.

          1. re: Neecies

            Eiswein is sooo good and ages pretty darn well.
            Check in with someone at Dee Vine Wines in SF: Call 1-877-DVW-WINE (877-389-9463) or e-mail them through their website, explain your situation and let them help you find something delicious. They also carry 2003 French & Alsatian wines, but I didn't see any Sauternes.

            1. re: BigWoodenSpoon

              Good recco--I've purchased from Dee Vine and if I could have remembered the name myself I'd have suggested it.

              To a213b: Dee Vine has few equals in the U.S. for their knowledge and selection of German wines.

          2. re: a213b

            Yquem is VERY expensive, but if you can afford it, then definitely go for it.

            I don't think Schramsberg makes any better sparkling wines than Iron Horse, but I don't think either of them would still be drinkable 50 years from now. I will ask Joy Sterling what she thinks.

          3. re: ChefJune

            Bollinger, unlike most of the top houses, made a vintage wine that they call "2003 by Bollinger." It's pretty good. I had it had a trade event a couple of years ago and the house's rep there said that they made it in part because if global warming makes seasons like 2003 more common, they want to follow the wine to see what it implies for their winemaking regime.

          4. If you're looking at getting more bottles than you'd want to spend on a Sauternes, you might consider a Loupiac ... like a Sauternes (across the river so to speak) same grapes, but much more affordable

            1. Thanks so much for the input everyone!

              As I said, for me I want this to be truly special, so my feelings thus far are still to stick with the Yquem. I want something that in 50 yeas has the potential to be devastatingly ... well, there's really no single word to encapsulate the thought. Stunning? Amazing? Perfect? Orgasmic?

              What I am thinking is getting, say, 10 - 12 bottles of the 'Yquem and then filling in with a few of your other suggestions to basically build the "Anniversaries from Heaven Wine Collection" that will help us celebrate the rest of our lives together on that special date.

              I love the suggestions, thanks so much, and feel free to keep them coming!

              3 Replies
              1. re: a213b

                2003 is going to be a difficult year to amass long-lived wines from because it was so extraordinarily hot in so many wine growing areas. Unexpectedly, many wines turned out to be quite wonderful, but they are not likely to age indefinitely the way Bordeaux do, for instance, in a stellar year. Still, you might enjoy some 03's for a while yet. Especially if you look for wines that are historically well made.

                1. re: ChefJune

                  Oy, this is what I was afraid of ... I guess 'twas not the best year to be wed in terms of "celebratory wines". I'm wondering if I need to re-think my gift idea ...

                  1. re: a213b

                    a213b, so now that you've faced the music, why not consider buying a truly outstanding, STELLAR year like 2001 Sauternes and just pretending it's your anniversary wine? Much as the year means a lot to you, and I appreciate that, once you AND the wine you've selected are 20 years or so down the road, you'll be more attached to the sentiment and the quality of the wines you've stored than the absolute vintage year. 2001 will, I promise you, be close enough.

              2. You could buy what looks promising and write the purchase date on it. We were married in 1975 and laid down 1970 Ridge Montebello and 1963 Warre's. Both panned out well. (understatement)

                1. I have the ideal wine for you: Moulin Touchais

                  It is referred to as the 'Jewel of Anjou". The wines of 2003 will not be released until 2013 and will last for a lifetime. The producer guarantees the freshness of the wine for 100 years (assuming storage conditions). The cost is $35 -40 per bottle on average.

                  The text below is pasted from the web but there is much more literature available online...

                  Only the best vintages will ever leave the cellars under the Moulin Touchais name and only after a minimum of ten years cellarage. The Chenin Blanc grape, brought to an overripe stage but generally unaffected by noble rot due to the geographic situation of the area gives Moulin Touchais its outstanding freshness and typically fine, beautifully balanced acidity which lingers on the lips and on the palate.

                  The wines of Moulin Touchais begin reaching their peak after twenty years, although many of the great vintages take much longer. Great vintages such as the 1953, 1959, 1964, 1969 are still maturing. The 1945, 1947 and 1949 have become classics.

                  I have enjoyed this wine (vintages 1989, 1992, 1996) many times. It's sweet but not over-the-top and the older it gets, the better it tastes!