Sometimes you have to pull out all the stops.
My wife, Sara, reached a big birthday this year. The main celebration is a party for 20 and food from our favorite soul food restaurant, Po Pigs Bo-B-Q, an all-you-can-eat buffet next to a gas station on Edisto Island, S.C., where we vacation. (Thanks, Bobo and Pam!)
But on the actual day, we had a smaller dinner, with just her family, and as she opened cards and presents, I opened a bottle of Krug 1988. (It just so happens that’s the year we were married, so it had special resonance.) The wine, released at $173, now sells at auction for $362. I honestly couldn’t say what it cost me; I was rummaging around in my cellar, and there it was.
All of us are wine lovers; none of us are experts in aged Champagne; everyone was captivated by the Krug. The tiny bubbles, so perfectly integrated into the wine; the complex flavors, so subtle yet so expressive; the feeling it brought on, at once profound and festive. As Bruce Sanderson, our lead taster for Champagne, wrote in a 2002 tasting note as he scored it 99 points, “What more could you expect from a Champagne?” There was certainly nothing more I could ask for. For a big birthday toast, it was perfect.
WineSpectator.com members: Read all the blind-tasting and vertical reviews for the Krug Brut Champagne 1988 (most recently 98 points, $362 at auction).
• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Champagnes.