We live in an era where we have unbelievable access to fantastic wines from around the world, often at surprisingly reasonable prices. Yet there are times when value shopping just can’t compare to splurging on the real thing. Champagne is one of those magical places that makes wine that the rest of the world just can’t, and the 2005 Pierre Moncuit Grand Cru that I opened last night was a perfect example of why: it somehow effortless walked the tightrope between a broader, creamier style and a more taut, linear one. Creaminess and crispness don’t typically go hand in hand, with one of the rare exceptions being high-end Champagne.
The reason is that while the base wines for Champagne tend to be searingly high in acidity, the years (sometimes decades) they spend aging on their lees slowly imparts a richness and texture to them that can only be achieved by that time-consuming method. While many other sparkling wine producers can turn out quality products, only a very select few outside of Champagne have the time, the money, and the extremely high quality grapes to actually compete with Grand Cru/Tete de Cuvee caliber Champagne.
Unfortunately, that great wine comes with a sometimes-staggering price tag. I’d consider this bottle a bargain at $65 retail, and the truly classic examples from well-known producers can easily hit three (and sometimes four) figures. While I certainly wish Champagne could be a bigger part of my everyday life, it still remains my go-to choice for most special occasions.