Wednesday, February 16, 2011
A Successful Life – is a $300.00 bottle of champagne worth it? 2/16/11
When you think of champagne you think of the French. During the 17th century France enjoyed a luminous era under the leadership of King Louie the XIV. He became known as the “sun king” for his benevolence and his patronage to the arts. At the Palace of Versailles King Louie was the first king to drink champagne.
Our bottle of champagne was entitled “1996 a year of light.” It’s description; eight minutes from sun to earth, long hours of August warmth to mature the grapes, seven years of maturing the shadows of the cellars breathe energy, depth and brilliance into Dom Pe’rignon. Then finally the magic moment when Dom Pe’rignon 1996 bursts from the bottle to enchant the eyes and the palate with its unique, sparking magnanimity. Ok I’m in- let’s drink!
We popped the bottle, poured the champagne and toasted to many more years. It was dry and subtle, soft and yet so bold. Nothing harsh or fruity about this bottle. It was sophisticated. Very easy to drink another glass and then another glass….to finish the bottle. We drank it with caviar which made the whole experience very decadent.
I’m not a real champion of champagne. All I know is the next day I felt no hangover. The subtle and yet sophisticated taste of the champagne lasted in my memory. Was it worth $300.00 a bottle? Not sure so we decide that one day soon we would open a bottle of $80 Dom and see if we could tell the difference. In the mean time I was off to my French class with my new found class buddy, Jeff the sommelier. Surely Jeff could tell me about my bottle of champagne. I brought the insert listing it as a 1996 Dom Pe’rignon. Jeff took one look and smiled. “An excellent bottle of champagne.” he proclaimed. He went on to describe it as subtle yet sophisticated. Almost like slightly stale bread or nuts that are dry without the bold flavors of newness. He hit it on the head. He told me that there was a rose of this same vintage that was very expensive but equally as good. It was a great bottle and a great experience.
Would I spend $300.00 for another bottle of 1996 Dom Pe’rignon? No, it is an extravagance that is better left as a gift received.