Help me understand the higher end Champagne.

Which is a better year for Dom Perignon? I saw both the 1999 and 2000 on sale, both for around $130 each. Or should I buy a cheaper Champagne like Veuve Clicquot or maybe Moet et Chandon? They are under $50.
Original Post
quote:
Originally posted by WineGuy2008:
Help me understand the higher end Champagne.



After spending insane amounts of money and following countless rec's / highly rated champagne, I am convinced I will never "understand it" and stick to pilsner when I need some bubbles.
quote:
Originally posted by WineGuy2008:
Help me understand the higher end Champagne.

Which is a better year for Dom Perignon? I saw both the 1999 and 2000 on sale, both for around $130 each. Or should I buy a cheaper Champagne like Veuve Clicquot or maybe Moet et Chandon? They are under $50.


I'm not a huge Dom fan and neither of those are spectacular years. There are several wine stores in the US selling the 1985 Charles Heidsiek Champagne Charlie for about that price. If you do a search of this board, you will see that this is a VERY well regarded wine around these parts -- I've had every vintage of Dom (that it came out) from 1985 through 1996 and I prefer the '85 Charlie to all of them. The 1995 Blanc des Millenaires from the same producer should be pretty easy to find for about $85.

Mostly, though, I would go to a store that specializes in Grower-Producer Champagnes and befriend the owners so that you can be guided through all the different styles.

I would not get the Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label or the Moet & Chandon. For basic NV non Grower-Producer Champagnes, I think Billecart-Salmon is the way to go... or Charles Heidsieck (or maybe Bollinger Special Cuvee, though the last bottle I had wasn't so special).
quote:
Originally posted by winetarelli:
quote:
Originally posted by WineGuy2008:
Help me understand the higher end Champagne.

Which is a better year for Dom Perignon? I saw both the 1999 and 2000 on sale, both for around $130 each. Or should I buy a cheaper Champagne like Veuve Clicquot or maybe Moet et Chandon? They are under $50.


Mostly, though, I would go to a store that specializes in Grower-Producer Champagnes and befriend the owners so that you can be guided through all the different styles.

Fantastic tip from Winetarelli.

If you're truly interested to have a wig-blowing experience rather than a prestige experience, the grower fizz is the way to go.

Any competent shop should be able to put you hip for that kind of coin-- e.g. Vilmart "Cuvée Creation"-- but if they need help, tell 'em you're looking for a téte de cuvée from someone in the Wasserman or Thiese portfolios, or at least a "Special Club" bottling from one of the growers (e.g. Vazart Coquart)...

That said, nothing elicits the admiration of others like Dom Perignon!
quote:
Originally posted by Board-O:
I can't answer your question on the 1999 or 2000 Dom Perignon, but I'd urge you to seek out the 1996 if you want something spectacular.
I've had the '99 and it was forgetable, however on both occassions that I've had the '96 it was simply fantastic, well worth seeking out. Someone mentioned the '96 Duval-Leroy at about $50, for a bit more the '96 DL Femme is quite special and I think more readily available than the '96 DP.
quote:
Originally posted by WineGuy2008:
Am I reading this thread correctly that a $50 champagne can be as good as a $100+ Dom Perignon? And that the 1999 and 2000 Dom Perignon is not worth the money at $120 a bottle?
One of the toughest lessons I've learned as my wine knowledge advances is that there often is not a linear relationship between price and quality. So yes, a $50 can be better than a $100 bottle or even a $400 bottle, it really depends.

As for the question of "is it worth x?", that is really a personal question that only you can answer. If you really want to get a bottle of champagne, you want it to be DP, you only have access to the current releases, and you can afford it, then maybe it is worth $120 to you. For me personally it definitely is not, though for a '96 DP I'd probably pay $200, but again that's just me.
I had the 2000 last night, and it's really good, $130 though makes it tough. The 1996 DP Rose at same event was incredible, could have drank it all night, but at $400/btl I'm not a buyer. Thought the 2000 DP was better than 1993 Oenetheque that was about $340 though, and is likely reflective of a not-great vintage.
Yes, intersting sidebar BTW,a Moet rep was there and he explained that DP did not make rose until the 1960's at the request of the Shah of Iran, who wanted something special for some event in Iran. Tend to doubt there are many bottles left in Iran from that event....
quote:
Originally posted by WineGuy2008:
Am I reading this thread correctly that a $50 champagne can be as good as a $100+ Dom Perignon? And that the 1999 and 2000 Dom Perignon is not worth the money at $120 a bottle?


Why is this a problem to you?
* Price != Value
* People have differing opinions and expectations
quote:
Originally posted by TuaRita99:
Yes, intersting sidebar BTW,a Moet rep was there and he explained that DP did not make rose until the 1960's at the request of the Shah of Iran, who wanted something special for some event in Iran. Tend to doubt there are many bottles left in Iran from that event....


I heard that the DP Rose contains enriched uranium.
I think of DP as Louis Vuitton. Its a brand. A good brand; but you pay a premium for it.

However, it doesn't mean its the best. I can get better shoes at TODS or better jewels at Tiffs.

Its well liked by all, but its not the best. But you won't go wrong with it either.
quote:
Originally posted by WineGuy2008:
Am I reading this thread correctly that a $50 champagne can be as good as a $100+ Dom Perignon? And that the 1999 and 2000 Dom Perignon is not worth the money at $120 a bottle?

Could be, but not necessarily or even commonly.
Great wines often cost a lot.
They may not deliver commensurate satisfaction for the added dollars, but that's up to you.
One thing for sure, you gotta pay for prestige.
FWIW, I had a champagne tasting this summer, including a few American sparklers. Moet et Chandon's White Star is virtually indistinguishable (in a blind side by side comparison) with Chandon Brut from California. Note that the Chandon is about 1/2 the price. I give them both about 86-87 points. Good, but not great. Dom is a totally different wine, even though it's the same parent company. My experience with Dom has been the 1990, 1992 and 1995 vintages. I have not had the '96, '99, or 2000 vintages, but I expect that for $130, you could probably do better than the '99 or 2000. It's hard to compare NV Moet and vintage Dom as the styles are quite different. In under $50 Champagnes, some of my favorites are Duval Leroy, Taittinger, Laurent-Perrier, Bollinger (usually a little over $50) and Piper Heidseick. These are widely available. A smaller producer that I enjoy is Jean Laurent (Blanc de Blancs, Rose or Blanc de Noirs--all NV). I will second the recommendation of the 1996 Duval Leroy. It is excellent, and a steal for a vintage Champagne under $50. D-L Femme 1996 is even better, but considerably more expensive, and probably harder to find at this point.

If you are just learning Champagne, try this comparison: Laurent Perrier LP Brut NV(lighter, crisper, chardonnay dominated), vs. Bollinger Brut NV (heavier, yeastier, pinot noir dominated), vs. Piper Heisieck Brut NV (rounder, fruitier, stronger pinot meunier presence). Taste all 3 side by side in 3 glasses, and invite some friends over for the tasting. Not all Champagnes taste the same--but these are all very good!
My wife and I aren't big champagne/sparkling drinkers, but that doesn't mean we don't like the occasional Chandon.

I did learn my lesson on just how good the Dom can be when my wife and I shared a Sam's Club-purchased bottle of 1996 Dom (bought it for $105). Tightly wound, yet with clearly defined, deliciously clean flavors and great intensity. It is a benchmark bottle for me.
If you're hell bent on Dom I've had every vintage back to the '88 and in good years it's really great stuff. In off years there's way better stuff for the money, Pol Roger vintage brut is a favorite of mine and about 50 bucks cheaper. Their '90 Oenotheque is the way to go if you can find it. I got a few a couple years ago for 170 per and they are well worth the money, the best champagne I've ever tasted. If you can't get that or the 96 go with the 2000 if you can get the gift set with the two flutes. Neither vintage is likely to blow you away but it's only $130.00 around here and at least you'll have the glasses after you drink it.

Add Reply

Likes (0)
×
×
×
×