Talking about a recent dinner at El Bulli, possibly the most famous restaurant on the planet, Eric Asimov, wine writer for New York Times, said, “I would have stuck happily with Champagne throughout the meal. Not ordinary Champagne either, but superb, hard-to-find bottles like Selosse Brut Initiale, which retails for about $US125 but was on the list for $US165, or Jérôme Prévost for $US140, or maybe both.” El Bulli and a Meal for the Ages by Eric Asimov, The New York Times, 21 September 2010.

Too often we don’t think of having Champagne with a meal. The big Champagne houses have done such good job of associating Champagne with celebratory events that we tend to drink it at parties and with hors d’oevres, instead of enjoying it with the main course.

Wednesday evening’s Vintage Celllars Double Bay Champagne tasting at the Botanic Gardens in Sydney certainly had a very festive air. Of course, being in the company of the most famous Champagne Houses in the world happily sharing some of their best bottles created a wonderful sense of occasion – heightened by a pretty elegant and knowledgeable crowd and an excellent array of delicious hors d’oevres!

Almost in hushed tones did we ask each other if we had tasted the Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin La Grande Dame 1998 or the Dom Perignon 2002 – my friend Richard’s pick of the evening!

Comparing vintage Champagne to the House style non-vintage cuvee is perhaps the best way to appreciate why spending a couple of hundred dollars more for the vintage is worth it!

Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin La Grande Dame 1998 had all the marvelous attributes you associate with fine vintage Champagne: a blend of nearly two thirds pinot noir and one third chardonnay, the wine is crystal clear with very fine bubbles. It … Read the rest