When somebody invites you to a private champagne tasting with a charming, knowledgeable expert visiting from one of the most venerable champagne houses in France, you don’t turn it down. When it’s at the Mansion on Turtle Creek, you let your child wait at the bus stop a few extra hours. And when it’s the rare, new-to-market Moët & Chandon 2002 Grand Vintage Champagne that you’re tasting before 99.9% of Dallas, you put your soul on eBay.
Wines are often praised or derided based solely on the year they are bottled. Champagnes, on the other hand, are frequently non-vintage blends of wines from different grape harvests to create a consistent taste year after year. So to experience an aged Champagne of such distinguished character in comparison to equivalent non-vintage bottles is to truly understand the beauty of these artfully mastered wines.
To paraphrase Moët & Chandon’s Winemaker Marc Brevot, these aren’t Champagnes to pair with food. Food is created to pair with these. Sadly, I wasn’t invited to France where their on-staff chef creates such culinary masterpieces, but I can easily imagine the delight of every bite and sip.
What makes this 2002 Grand Vintage so appealing is its utter complexity. After spending seven years in the cellar like some grapey Silence of the Lambs damsel in distress, it is released triumphant and empowered. Sweet and dry at the same time, it boasts notes of citrus, plum, pear, nectarine and peach. Summer fruits at their finest. Throw in a little nutty earthiness and a crisp finish and you’ve got a wine that becomes more interesting with every sip.
$52.99 suggested retailSiegel’s Fines Wines & Great Spirits 5757 Greenville Avenue, Dallas (214) 739-4012
And other finer stores in DFW.
Moët & Chandon’s Winemaker Marc Brevot advises to drink fairly soon after purchase to enjoy this vintage at its peak.
Steven Lindsey is a Dallas food and travel writer who will be contributing to craveDFW occasionally.