Log In / Join Now

what we're drinking now

Executive editor Thomas Matthews joined Wine Spectator in 1988. His tasting beat is Spain.
Thomas Matthews

A Champagne for a Special Occasion

Krug Brut Champagne 1988

Thomas Matthews
Posted: September 30, 2009

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.

Quek Li Fei
Singapore —  September 30, 2009 9:04pm ET
Great Choice! 1988 is also the year I got married and I've been opening a bottle of the 1988 Krug or the 1988 Dom Perignon Brut every anniversary since they were respectively available in Singapore. Each time, they taste better. The older the champagnes got, the more honey notes we tasted with a broadening flavour palate. Gorgeous mellow with indolent fine beaded bubbles. As you have quoted Bruce Sanderson, "What more could you expect from a Champagne?".
Thomas Matthews
New York City —  October 1, 2009 8:56am ET
Every year!?! That is a good plan for a long and happy marriage. But please don't let my wife know! She might expect more than I can deliver.

Would you like to comment? Want to join or start a discussion?

Become a WineSpectator.com member and you can!
To protect the quality of our conversations, only members may submit comments. Member benefits include access to more than 315,000 reviews in our Wine Ratings Search; a first look at ratings in our Insider, Advance and Tasting Highlights; Value Wines; the Personal Wine List/My Cellar tool, hundreds of wine-friendly recipes and more.

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.