Bubbly sure goes down easily…but did you know it takes a really long time to make a bottle of champagne? Yup. A non-vintage Champagne (a Champagne made with grapes harvested in different years) takes a minimum of 15 months to make and up to 30 (that’s over 2 years to wait to drink those bubbles). If we’re taking Vintage Champers (made only with grapes from one year’s harvest), it has to age for a minimum of three years, but they are usually kept much longer. However, it is important to note that Champagne does not age, meaning that it will not evolve and change with time…but it sure can last a long time.
What The Oldest Champagne Bottle Tastes Like
Serena Sutcliffe, the head of wine at Sotheby’s had the chance to taste the oldest Champagne bottle, Perrier-Jouët 1825 in 2009. She compared it to “mince pies cooking at Christmas time — it was very addictive and very special”.
“It’s the sort of thing which happens once in a lifetime,” said Michel Bettane, France’s most celebrated wine critic. “The 1825 was a very interesting wine. There were flavours of mushrooms, woods and a bit of honey.” Sounds pretty darn interesting to me.
Bernard Burtschy, wine writer for Le Figaro, had this to say of the bottle of Perrier-Jouët 1825: “Generous with an intense nose. There was a taste of heather honey, of gingerbread, of lemon confit, of mushrooms and of the dead leaves which are the grey hairs of a wine which has aged.”
Alluring taste differences aside, no doubt all the critics reveled in this luscious, milestone event “as the world’s oldest bottle of champagne was opened — 184 years after it had been sealed and stored away”.
“It’s not surprising that opinions differed about it,” said Olivier Cavil, of Perrier-Jouët, the champagne house that produced the bottle in 1825, when George IV was on the British throne. “It is very difficult to be objective when you are submerged in emotions and this was a very emotional occasion indeed.”
The 1825 Perrier-Jouët was stored in the same spot in Perrier-Jouët’s cellars, 70ft underground at a constant temperature of 11C (52F).
Last we heard, there were only two bottles left…so pretty soon, this may no longer be the oldest Champagne bottle in the world, but there’s no need to worry there. Why bother with the oldest, when you can taste some of the best value Champagnes. It’s the best way to enjoy a little luxury without breaking the bank.
What’s the oldest bottle of Champagne you’ve tasted? Let us know in the comments below!