Monday, May 11, 2009

Drinking Champagne $$$$!


The Iron Chevsky posted a question recently, "what's the most expensive Champagne you've ever had." I've drank some pretty good Champagnes in my life but I've never thought about them in terms of dollar value. So this question made me reflect. Surely, a bottle with "Krug" on the label has to be the most expensive. But which one? I've had some vintages of the Clos du Mesnil (1986, 1988, and 1990 come to mind) but I haven't been lucky enough to try the Clos d'Ambonnay, which at around $3,500 or so for a bottle is the most expensive Krug Champagne made. Notwithstanding this glaring shortcoming, I've had a Krug that is at least as expensive as the Clos d'Ambonnay, a magnum of the 1971 Krug Collection.

Krug Collection are bottles and magnums of vintage Krug that are kept since bottling in the Krug cellars and gradually released decades later. Though they are identical to the vintage bottling, the passage of time in the cold, quiet comfort of the Krug cellars make them take a unique path of evolution and provenance.

About fifteen years ago, at the end of 1993, I was leaving for another job and as a farewell my colleagues treated me to the magnum of 1971 Krug Collection suitably accompanied by jars of beluga and ossetra caviar. My leaving provided a great excuse to have a good year-end office party, and since we all got paid a bonus, why not the best Champagne?

I remember the Krug being more wine than Champagne, there were hardly any bubbles left and the color was deep yellow straw with aromas of hops and citrus. It was more akin to grand cru Chablis or to Montrachet--very mineral, and quite dry and austere. The salty, oily, and nutty taste of the caviar fitted the Krug perfectly.

To purchase the 1971 Krug Collection today would set you back about $2,000 for a bottle and probably about $5,000 or more for a magnum. It is a rare Champagne and the price surely reflects that. Since then I've never gotten together with any of my old friends who shared that magnum with me, nor have I had another Krug Collection. I thought the rarity of the occasion more than matched the Champagne.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a special farewell gift. I too had a fantastic farewell when I was leaving Ask Jeeves after more than 10 years. Surely the champagne had to taste better because of the occasion!

    Makes one want to leave jobs more often :)! j/k

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