Some of my friends are graduating in a couple of months, and I’d like to send them a gift of champagne. Cost is not an issue, and I’ve looked into Cristal (it’s actually the only champagne I know, from reading American Psycho, but as a complete newbie I’m having a lot of trouble choosing from all the different vintages available. I’d appreciate any sort of input at all on choosing a Cristal, or any champagne you’ve enjoyed in the past.
Also, how many bottles should feed four people?
How many bottles? Totally depends on the people. Mr. Athena and I have been known to go through five or six bottles in the same amount of hours, but that’s only on special occasions.
Figure ~6 glasses per bottle. A light drinker might only have one glass; a drunk like me can drink a whole bottle herself.
Is cost really no issue? C’mon, it’s gotta be. Cristal is gonna run you a couple hundred bucks a bottle for the cheap end.
The good thing about Champagne is that it’s hard to go wrong once you get above $30/bottle or so. Sure, some are better than others, and some people might like some bottles more than others. But in general, you’re not going to get a completely sucky bottle in that price range.
Some rules of thumb:
If you don’t know what they like, go with a Brut. It’s the dryest type of champagne, and most people will enjoy it.
in general, a vintage champagne is of higher quality than a non-vintage champagne, but that doesn’t mean that non-vintage champagnes are no good. Unlike wine producers, champagne producers don’t make a vintage bottle every year; only exceptional years are marked with a vintage. Non-vintage probably means that the grapes used to make it are a mix of grapes from 2-3 different years, and can be quite good.
‘Champagne’ refers to sparkling wines produced in the Champagne region of France; there’s very good American Sparkling Wines as well.
OK, now, give me a price range and I’ll give you some specific recommendations.
Might I suggest Chateau Lafite Rothchild? I’ve had the 1994 and it was sublime. It honestly tasted like flowers. It’s quite pricey though.
I didn’t like Cristal. Yeah it’s expensive and it has a pretty bottle but meh.
And you can get about 5-6 flutes of champagne per bottle.
Go to WineSpectator.com for more information.
Dom Perignon has always been my favorite.
When you say, “Cost is not an issue” - do you really mean it?
If it turns out that cost is “kind of” an issue, Veuve Clicquot is very very good and a very good buy. If cost is truly not an issue, and you want to make a Champagneophile go “Ooh!” look into Krug. You can spend more than $500 a bottle for it. (You can spend less, too, for a lesser vintage.)
But if they are just regular drinkers, I’d go with the Veuve Clicquot, or possibly Perrier-Jouet, for the pretty bottle. But Veuve is better.
For connisseurs who are no longer impressed by Dom or Cristal, you want Krug.
Agree about Veuve Clivquot.
One of my favorite champagnes is Nicolas Feuillatte.
You know, this is the first time I’ve taken notes off the net. I love this place.
Athena, wouldn’t six bottles of anything alcoholic at least give you mild alcohol poisoning? :eek:
I take back what I said about the cost. The 1924 Lafite-Rothschild listed here is going for $2495, which is insane. Anything below $1500 per bottle is fine. I can afford to splurge a little.
I’m looking at the reviews for Lafite-Rothschild, and it looks like they have some very good years and some disaster years. DeVena had the fortune to have tried one of their better ones.
Am also looking at Krug and Veuve Clicquot, and they seem like sound choices (Google has entries describing the former as ‘legendary’, and ‘highly recommended’ pops up several times on the first page of results for the latter).
Nicolas Feulliate looks huge on presentation, but reviews seem slightly less enthusiastic than for the last few chateaux (is this how they do it? So house is to perfume as chateau is to wine?) Caprese, do you have any particular year in mind?
And seeing as they don’t usually drink much at all, I think I’ll settle for two bottles.
$1500/bottle?!? Boy, I wanna be YOUR friend.
It was 6 bottles between me and Mr. Athena on New Year’s Eve, over about 10 hours with lots of food, too. So no, no alcohol poisoning. 6 bottles just for myself within a couple hours would probably kill me.
Seriously, though, at that price range what you want to do is go to a reputable wine store and speak with them about what would be a good choice. When you get into that range, there’s a lot of factors to take into account - whether it was a good year or not, how it was stored, etc. A $1500 bottle of champagne will come with a pedigree.
I’m sure there’s at least a few really good wine stores in Hong Kong. Check around. And if you ever feel the need to buy a really nice bottle of champagne for a random person on the Internet, lemme know, I’ll send you my address.
The thing is I’m new to Sydney, and everyone I know here only drinks beer. The larger shops downtown are intimidating, and I’m concerned that the combination of my youth, my budget and my complete newbieness is going to get me ripped off. I’ve been reassured many times that this isn’t going to happen here, but growing up in Hong Kong and having been a tourist so many times, I’ve developed a sort of conman spidey-sense; I can usually tell when someone’s trying to rip me off, and believe me, people have tried.
And don’t get me wrong on the budget point. It doesn’t have to be a thousand-dollar bottle of champagne. I mean, if that’s what a genuinely good bottle of champagne costs, then I’ll shell out for it, but I’m not looking to impress people with labels and what a connoisseur I am. I don’t drink, and as such I have no idea what makes a good wine good or a bad wine bad; I wish I had the time to learn but I don’t - I need to get this figured out in time for their graduation late in June.
So maybe I’ll reword my inquiry to simplify things: What’s a good champagne? What’s a better one?
Also, does it make any difference what you drink the stuff out of?
There. Now you guys have to do all the thinking and writing.
Wow, you really are stark raven mad …
And, unfortunately, I just saw that you’re in Australia. Bummer. My favorite champagne–even over Veuve–is a US champagne (all right … methode champegnoise sparkling wine…): Dr. Konstantin Frank’s Chateau Frank Brut. Around $35 a bottle. Dry. Fantastic.