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.