30 Oct 2011

In praise of older Champagnes

I have always thought that the advice occasionally offered to wine lovers (usually, it has to be said, by Champagne salesmen, and even more usually by salesmen of poor quality Champagne) to drink Champagne when it is young and "fresh" is a load of bollocks. First of all the wines of Champagne, coming from a very cool climate, have so much natural acidity that a few years (and, by few, I mean about ten or more) cellaring will do them a power of good, that is if they are good wines to begin with. And there lies quite a big "if" of course. In fact Champagnes should be regarded just as any wine. If it is good and well-built to start with, it should age gracefully if properly stored.

I was once again reminded, forcefully and most pleasurably, of this today when sharing with a few friends my last (help!) magnum of Veuve Clicquot Vintage Reserve 1995. This wine showed such heady and refined aromas, such depth of flavour, such plenitude of textures, such burnished and tapering acidity, that it simply enchated us all in the amazingly hot late October sun as we sat and contemplated the colours of rising autumn around us. Champagne, at least when it is as good as this, just has to be one of the world's marvels.

I must go out and get some more of this kind of stuff.... and then try to be patient for ten years or so.

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