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open the Cristal?

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I have a bottle of 1999 Cristal that I received as a gift about 5 years ago. It's been stored in my wine cellar (which consists of 2 wine fridges out in my garage, one set for whites and one for reds). I've seen a couple of "drinking window" charts that say this bottle should be consumed in the next year or so, but others disagree. Thoughts from the experts? (I also have a few vintages of Dom Perignon (also gifts) but those seem like they will be happy with several more years of "cellaring".)

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  1. I don't know too much about it, but I would say it depends on your taste. Some, like their wines older - others younger. I'd read what people are saying on cellartracker as opposed to the date window. If the description, appeals to you - time to drink!

    Significantly aged champagne isn't for everyone the carbonation disappears and it looses the freshness factor - developing more secondary earthy notes. So that's something to keep in mind.

    2 Replies
    1. re: goldangl95

      Good advice . . .

      1. re: goldangl95

        That's very helpful. Thanks.

      2. I'm curious what your rationale is for NOT drinking it? and the Dom, as well.

        7 Replies
        1. re: ChefJune

          Like I said, I have a collection of these gift bottles (also some older Bordeaux, but that's another post). I tend to bring them out for special occasions, or sometimes I concoct a special occasion in order to bring one out. Just want to try not to let anything go past its prime . . .

          1. re: cookie monster

            Some Champagnes will improve with bottle age, it's true, but as already been pointed out, an aged Champagne is a VERY different wine than a youthful one, and NOT to everyone's taste.

            My favorite reason to open a bottle of Champagne is "just because," so in that regard -- June is quite right in asking, "Why *aren't* you opening it?"

            The biggest problem with saving wines for "special occasions" is that, after a couple of occasions pass by, the "special-ness" of the occasion required grows exponentially. If you were holding onto a 2009 Cristal, I'd say wait. But it's from the last century: OPEN IT!

            1. re: zin1953

              ok, ok - you've convinced me. Thinking about bringing it to a celebratory dinner this weekend. It's not really what I think of as a vintage champagne kind of restaurant - no white table cloths, shellfish towers, or waiters in tuxedos; more a farm-to-table hipstery place, but they do allow corkage. And what the heck - champagne goes with everything, right?

              1. re: cookie monster

                The best champagne "restaurant" was my parents' back deck in Aptos, California. When they bought that house in 1975, they celebrated with a bottle of champagne. The glasses weren't unpacked yet, so they used paper cups.We children were allowed to partake. This became a family tradition, celebrating moves with champagne in paper cups. My husband and I aren't really champagne drinkers, but we do this anyway, often with a pizza picnic among the piles of boxes.

                1. re: Isolda

                  (Oh, how I miss Aptos/Soquel/Capitola sometimes . . . )

              2. re: zin1953

                Me: "Here's the Dom 1985 for tonight."
                Friends: "What are we celebrating?"
                Me: "Being with you guys tonight."

                Hunt

                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  Lovely.

          2. Over a weekend, mixed decade old vintage Dom with current Dom and Taittenger. (Honeymoon!!) The vintage was excellent, but different.

            At this point in my life, the special occasion for a gift bottle is when I want to share it or pair it with a meal. Hopefully with the people kind enough to give it to me.

            1 Reply
            1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

              indeed. The guys I used to buy from in Tampa told me that we were the only clients they had who drank bubbles just because it seemed like a good idea.

            2. I'm known among my friends as "The Champagne Lassie" I'll open a bottle at the drop of a hat. :) Even if just because it stopped raining.

              One of my favorite pairings with Champagne is Risotto. The acidity in the wine cuts right through the rich rice dish and it's SOOOO delicious and comforting.

              1. Anyone who has held on to a bottle of wine too long has a tragic story of waiting to open something "amazing" only to have it taste like the under-carriage of a sumo wrestler when the proper moment came to open it--assuming of course, anyone knows what that tastes like aside from other sumo wrestlers, I suppose.

                Related stories often have great bottles being opened too late in the evening to appreciate--"...it seemed like such a good idea to open the Screagle at sunrise, how did it taste?..." However, almost NEVER, do you hear the story of the bottle that you opened way too early. THAT story, barely exists.

                If you care about older vs. younger champagne, of course, take that into consideration. But if you are just waiting until the charts say drink, don't wait that long.

                Personally, I suggest "creating" a whim. Open it at the least expected time. Make the wine the experience as opposed to fitting the wine into some other "grand" experience.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ellaystingray

                  Then again, that bottle of 1949 Dom Pérignon I had in the mid-1980s was REALLY good . . . for about 10 minutes, then it went flat.

                2. CM, I have never had a nice bottle of champagne cellared for more than a couple years. I would be less concerned about the bubbly passing its prime, and more concerned about you passing your prime.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Veggo

                    Thanks Veggo for giving me a laugh in the midst of a very stressful morning. According to the charts I am indeed past my prime, but those charts I definitely choose to ignore . . . Champagne will be coming out of the cellar soon, I promise.

                    1. re: cookie monster

                      Well, by most charts, I too, am beyond my "drink by date," but then, I have spent much of my life in a wine cellar at 55F, so there might be just a bit of life left in me?

                      For the 1999, I would go ahead and pop the cork for a nice occasion. As always, do have a backup, just in case, and also treat your real "Champagne friends" to it - not just the normal wino rif-raff, who can show up, with every bottle opened.

                      I have some great "wino friends," with whom I will open bottles of ___, as I know they will likely enjoy it, and appreciate it for what it is, or for what it was. Same for some "Champagne friends," who can look beyond things, as they are, at that point, and interpolate "what was." They are not all the same people. Then, I have "Champagne friends," who will ONLY encounter recent vintages, at my home. They would never be able to appreciate something that was not "perfect," regardless of how good it actually was. They only get invited, when the list is right for them.

                      Enjoy,

                      Hunt