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Senior editor James Suckling joined Wine Spectator in 1981 and retired in 2010. As European bureau chief, he was based in Tuscany and tasted the wines of Italy, Bordeaux and Port.
James Suckling

A Bubbly That Makes an Impression

Krug Brut Champagne Grande Cuvée NV

James Suckling
Posted: September 15, 2009

Last weekend, I had dinner with my girlfriend and her mother in Siena, in the restaurant Tre Cristi, which has excellent fresh fish. I wanted to make a good impression, or "la bella figura," so I ordered a bottle of Billecart-Salmon Rosé Champagne to start. But it was corked!

Corked bottles of Champagne are a real rarity; I can't think of the last time I had one. But it happened, and it was sort of embarrassing. The restaurant didn't have another bottle of the rosé already chilled, so I wasn't sure what to order.

I thought to myself: "La bella figura, James, and you only live once."

"Okay, we will take a bottle of Krug non-vintage," I said in Italian. I didn't remember the price, but I knew the bill afterwards was going to hurt.

The gold-labeled Krug arrived immediately, and was poured into our Riedel tulip glasses. It was outstanding. I hadn't had the non-vintage Krug in a while. It was very dense and rich, yet remained fresh and delicate. I loved the biscuit, subtle apple and dried tropical fruits on the nose and palate. The bead was fine and creamy. I gave the Champagne 92 points, non-blind. It was (ouch!) $280 on the list.

It didn't matter. It was a wonderful night. The food and service at Tre Cristi were excellent, and the company and conversation beautiful.

WineSpectator.com members: Get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Champagnes, along with our quick list of Top Values among all sparkling wines.

Tom J Wilson
Canada —  September 15, 2009 5:11pm ET
In Siena my bubbly will be Cuvee Annamaria Clementi from Ca' del Bosco, or Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore....

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