A beginner’s guide to the best & most expensive champagne
Champagne — The opening pop of a champagne bottle is a sound synonymous with luxury, decadence, status, and sometimes overindulgence.
The world’s most famous and iconic wine, and one that is strictly regulated for quality, true champagne hails only from the Champagne region of France and produced under regulations that dictate where and how grapes are grown. Per these regulations, champagne can only be made from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier grape varietals.
While most of the world follows France’s ownership of the champagne name (the place Champagne existed before the wine came to be), some countries – including the United States – allow producers to label unregulated wines as champagne. In the case of champagne, it’s not a rose by another name situation. To make sure you’re getting the authentic bubbly, purchase a bottle clearly marked as a product of France.
Now that we’ve got the region down, let’s look at levels of excellence for true expensive champagne. When it comes to the bubby, vintage refers to the year the grapes were grown. Champagne can be labeled as non-vintage (made every year to stay consistent year to year, but aged a minimum of 15 months), vintage (containing grapes of a single year’s standout, quality harvest and aged at least three years), and prestige cuvee, the top-shelf choice a vintage or non-vintage blend aged much longer).
In some cases, the exorbitant price of one of the most expensive champagne could buy you a beachfront mansion, luxury car, or an exotic vacation. If your taste for luxury lies firmly in the bubbly, ordering one of the following bottles will definitely quench your thirst for the creme de la creme of champagne.
Found perfectly preserved at the bottom of the sea in 1997 – yes, really – a bottle of Shipwrecked 1907 Heidsieck will set you back a cool $275,000. Sipping on one of the 200 bottles found at a shipwreck off the coast of Finland will bring you back a hundred years to when the champagne was sent to its intended recipients – the Russian Imperial family.
Have an extra $40,000 burning a hole in your pocket? Unload those 40,000 smackaroos for a bottle of Dom Perignon White Gold Jeroboam, a limited edition Dom Perignon selection. The three-liter bottle is crafted from white gold, which may help explain its steep price tag.
First hitting the markets in 1938, 10 years after its fermentation, a bottle of Krug 1928 today costs an impressive $21,000. With each passing year, this expensive champagne intensifies in flavor complexity and value, making it not only one of the oldest champagnes out there, but also one of the most expensive. Its tasting note describes it as deep dimensioned with bready notes and a sweet bouquet of vanilla.
Known the world over as “Methesulah,” Champagne Cristal Brut 1990 comes in at $17,000 a bottle. Easily distinguished by its striking gold-labeled bottle, this world-renowned champagne was crafted using a blend of grapes and today enjoys a prestigious reputation as one of Cristal’s finest creations.
Let’s throw this expensive champagne in for good measure; the Gout de Diamants Brut Diamond. Sadly, this whopping one-of-a-kind $1.8 million bottle – yes, you read that right – was commissioned for one unnamed private client, so this one is definitely out of reach.
A blend of Grand Nu Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, this stunningly expensive champagne is priced for its actual bottle, which is handcrafted from 18-carat solid gold and centered by a single, flawless 19-carat white diamond. The label is also created from 18-carat solid white gold and engraved with the client’s name. Because, you know, why not?
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