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Thread: Dusty Champagne

  1. #1
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    Dusty Champagne

    So I decided to go with the "good" (as in expensive...) champagne this year for New Years and want to get a bottle of Perrier Jouet (Fleur de Champagne). I saw the gift set at one liquor store and at another they had the same one but it was definitely older as the box was different and it had dust on it. Since they're priced around the same I was wondering if there was any reason not to get the older one. I really know nothing about champagne or how it holds up after bottling, does anyone here know? I'm sure the bottle isn't that old but you never know. Thanks.
    /\../\

    "I've had eighteen straight whiskies, I think that's the record . . ." - Dylan Thomas

  2. #2

    Re: Dusty Champagne

    It all depends on how it has been stored. Dust on the top of the box may mean it was stored standing up and that would be bad. The cork could have dried out. If the thickest is on the side of the box that is good because wine unlike whiskey should be stored on its side. Is is it a vintage (would have a date on it)?

  3. #3
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    Re: Dusty Champagne

    Champagne, particularly vintage champagne, should age quite well. Vintage champagne can usually age for 10-20 years or more. I have bottles of 1983 Philipponnat and 1989 Krug at home. Even non-vintage champagne can age for several years, and some think there is an improvement after a year or two of aging NV champagne. Many of my NVs end up getting aged in my closet for a year or more and are fine.

    Of course, the storage conditions are a factor. I don't know that the cork will dry out just because it's been stored vertically for a short time - maybe even a year - but there is some risk of that, I guess.
    -Dan

    Who stole the cork from my breakfast?

  4. #4
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    Re: Dusty Champagne

    Dan, maybe I have had atypical experiences, but I find past 4 or 5 years of bottle age, Champagnes however designated can acquire a "damp mushroom" taste. Is this an index of the flavor of vintage Champagne? If so it is one I cannot accustom to. I enjoy good standard French Champagne (say, Veuve Cliquot - and I don't doubt a year or two in storage can add depth and complexity) but when too aged I find it just puts me off. Or have I not had the best experiences with well-aged/vintage Champagnes?

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 12-25-2007 at 08:37.

  5. #5
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    Re: Dusty Champagne

    Gary, although I am no expert, it sounds to me like you may have had some aytpically bad experiences with aged champagne. Were these vintage champagnes? Stored properly? I would not be particularly surprised if some nonvintage champagnes acquired some off-notes if stored for 4-5 years, for a variety of reasons.

    Of course, not all bottles turn out well in the end. And some of the more full-bodied champagnes do have a mushroom element, although I don't generally notice it as being particularly strong.

    Was this specifically a damp mushroom taste as opposed to mustiness? The latter can indicate cork problems; the former might as well.

    Or perhaps it is something that your palate is particularly sensitive too that mine is not. Hard to say. Some people dislike anything but well-aged champagne. Others only like young champagne. I am fortunate to enjoy both.
    Last edited by Sijan; 12-25-2007 at 13:39.
    -Dan

    Who stole the cork from my breakfast?

  6. #6
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    Re: Dusty Champagne

    Thanks for this, I wonder if I have had vintage Champagnes stored in good condition. They all seem to have had a strong earthy/mushroom element when over 5-7 years old (i.e., from vintage date). Although, I haven't had all that many of them, so perhaps I need more experience. As you say too though there are devotees of old Champagne (the taste that comes with maturity in wines meant for laying down), and maybe I just don't have that taste. With New Year's approaching, maybe I can make further investigations!

    Gary

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    Re: Dusty Champagne

    I will also endeavor to make further investigations for you - cheers!
    -Dan

    Who stole the cork from my breakfast?

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    Re: Dusty Champagne

    Thanks a bunch for the input, everyone! I think I'm just going to go with the current bottling. I doubt the old bottle is more than 3 years old but, as I said, you never know. If it's good, as in good as an old champagne should be, I hope some connoisseur gets the bottle I'm leaving!
    /\../\

    "I've had eighteen straight whiskies, I think that's the record . . ." - Dylan Thomas

  9. #9
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    Re: Dusty Champagne

    Vintage Champagne should always be aged. Ask any wine geek and they will tell you that most people drink champagne WAYYYY to early. I'm talking about "Vintage" Champagne. The really pricey stuff. Like the bottle Gothbat is looking at.


    Now you should go to CellarTracker.com and search for Perrier-Jouet ( The name of the "flower bottle" is Belle Epoque) and look what the ratings are. As far as which one should you buy. Pick the better vintage. Champagne is exactly like any great wine. The Vintage year means everything. What are the two years on the bottles being offered? The better vintage is the one to choose.

    One last thing, Champagne does not need to be stored on its side like most still wines. The pressure of the gas inside the bottle keeps a layer of moisture on the cork and in turn this keeps the cork in perfect condition.

    I really recommend going to cellartracker.com and read the reviews on the bottles your looking at.
    Joe

  10. #10
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    Re: Dusty Champagne

    I do pretty much everything online but for some reason there are certain things that I'll wonder about and never think to google, this is one of them. Thanks for the link, Joe, if I can get by the store that has the old bottle in time I'll check the year on it and go with the higher rated one since the prices are about the same. That's weird about the name, they have Belle Epoque listed on that site with vintages to 1999 and also one called Cuvée Fleur de Champagne with vintages to 2000 but when you go to the Perrier Jouet page it lists only a 1996 and 1995 vintage Cuvée Fleur de Champagne however the bottle in the tiny pictures they show looks like it says Belle Epoque. I wonder what the older bottle says on it, the store that has it just had the box out with a note saying to see them at the counter for the bottle.
    /\../\

    "I've had eighteen straight whiskies, I think that's the record . . ." - Dylan Thomas

 

 

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