Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Last week I was looking for any excuse to get away from the mess that is the apartment. Still waiting for the oh-so-efficient folks over at the Department of Buildings to figure out when the kitchen renovation audit will be lifted, I accepted an invitation to join a few fellow bubbleheads in opening up some older Champagnes at Sugiyama in Midtown.

So we sat down in the private room and told Chef to make us dinner, we eat everything. And thus we did. Amazingly fresh fish began arriving, as did more intricate dishes, and our palates swooned. But we were thirsty so corks began popping...

We started with the 1982 and 1988 Salon, one of my favorite Champagne houses. The 1982 was good yet began dying quickly, but the 1988 was tight and coiled and like a hesitant flower, needing some time to open up and blossom. I put it aside, to go back to it as the night progressed, and was not disappointed. This wine just kept getting better and better, revealing a stunning depth and density as it breathed.

The 1986 Pol Roger Cuvee Winston Churchill was sadly corked, such a shame. Luckily, the 1982 Bollinger RD (disgorged in 1996) and the 1985 Dom Perignon were stunning powerhouses, both of them fresh and vivacious, gorgeous examples of their house styles. The 1985 DP is one of my favorite bubblies and did not disappoint this night.

A NV Jacques Selosse Substance appeared and we drank it greedily, its slightly oxydized heft really dancing across the tongue and leaving a longing, haunting finish. The bubbles were barely detectable yet seemed to prick the palate every once in a while, teasing the tongue. This is not a mass appeal Champagne but I liked it.

We moved on to the Rosés, eagerly anticpating the 1975 Roederer Cristal Rosé and just as eargerly tasting it. Wonderful, absolutely wonderful. Who said Rosés don't age? This offered elegant, graceful and fragrant light red berries on a super precise frame that ended with a fruity finish. This too seemed to linger on the palate leaving a haunting impression of light red flowers.

There was a blind 1998, but its name is lost in the haze of bubbles that began accumulating in my head by this point of the evening. Still, it was an amazing night with fantastic food, great wines and wonderful folks.

What more can one ask for? Oh, right, more Champagne!

1 comment:

Abra said...

I've got to say that I was lucky enough to have a 26 year old Dom Perignon lately. It was so golden you barely knew it was Champagne. Yet it was delicious, dry, still with a fine set of bubbles, but really something different than I'd ever expect from a Champagne. I'm sorry that you were't here to try it - you'd probably have been a lot more eloquent about it than I've been able to be.