I love bottle-aged champagne. I blame Australian wine critic, James Halliday, for leading me down that particular primrose path. He was a regular house guest for many years when he co-chaired the Royal Easter Show with me and would bring with him a bottle or two of aged champagne (among other treasures). Often as much as 50 years old, they were occasionally flat but always delicious.
If you want to hold a bottle of bubbly for an extended period it is necessary to buy vintage wine so that you know how old it is. There is no good reason why non-vintage champagne won’t develop attractive toasty, biscuit characters with age it’s just that you are never really sure when the grapes were harvested and, by extension, when it is ready to drink … until now.
Krug has introduced a novel way to track the blending details with harvest dates and bottling date on every wine. Simply note the ID number on the back label, go to the Krug website and enter the six-digit ID number into the appropriate slot on “Krug ID”. The latest Krug Grande Cuvee NV, for example, is ID213035. Krug’s website reveals that it is a blend of 142 wines from 11 different years between 1990 and 2006 and that the wine was bottled in Summer 2013 after being aged for six years in the cellar. The final composition is 44% pinot noir, 35% chardonnay and 21% pinot meunier.
The website also recommends pairing the wine with pureed artichoke, a vegetable that I read somewhere is “the enemy of wine”. Must try it.