Matthew's Foray into Blogging

Monday, January 02, 2006

Tasting Notes

We drank $150 to $300 (depending on where you price it) worth of Champagne yesterday. As I mentioned, we had been sitting on a bottle of Moet & Chandon Cuvee Dom Perignon 1995, which my parents received as a gift a few years ago. We were looking for a very special occasion on which to open it, but we continued to “chicken out.” We were telling ourselves that we would go ahead and uncork it this New Year’s. I had bought a bottle of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne, in the event we “chickened out” again. I was afraid to open the Dom Perignon. Is my palate sophisticated enough that I would be able to detect the depth and complexity, or would a $150 Champagne be wasted on me?

We finally opened the Dom Perignon yesterday. We did not open it after the clock struck 12:00 on January 1, because we did not stay up that late. It tasted good, but… I’ve tasted some nice $12 sparkling wines. After taking a few sips of the Dom Perignon, we decided to open the Piper-Heidsieck, so we could discover the difference between a $40 Champagne (bargain shopper that I am, I picked it up for $27) and a $150 Champagne.

Unfortunately, I did not detect “a mixture of almonds, cream, and white fruits,” and the Dom Perignon did not “explode into lemon, apple, and banana.” The Dom Perignon was pale in color. It was slightly sweet, initially, but seemed to become dryer. It was mildly acidic, and the bubbles were fine. The Dom Perignon had an aftertaste I could not place, or, in sophisticated terms, a long finish. I experienced difficulty detecting flavors to which I could assign descriptive words, such as “citrus” or “blackberry.” It was not caramel-y, or earthy tasting.

The Piper-Heidsieck was toasty! The color was more of a bronze. I could definitely detect the flavor of toast. It held up well to the Dom Perignon. For my tastes, I guess I can stick to the inexpensive Champagnes.

Apparently, Wine Spectator awarded the Dom Perignon 1995 92 points, and the Piper-Heidsieck received 91 points, whatever those numbers mean. How can one assign a numerical value to a wine? I think Robert M. Parker, Jr. can be credited with beginning this practice.


  • you couuuuuuuld have just bought the $2 brand of Champagne.

    By Blogger Ashley, at 11:27 AM, January 02, 2006  

  • I just had sparkling white wine. and some tequila shots. i think...

    By Blogger Rach, at 9:27 PM, January 02, 2006  

  • It must be bankrupting having a sophisticated palate. Glad I haven't!

    We recently discovered a brilliant bottle of red wine called Up A Gum Tree which retails here for 2.99 GBP (a bargain).

    Happy new year by the way!

    By Blogger Lesley, at 4:06 AM, January 03, 2006  

  • Ashley - you are in California, so you can drink "Two Buck Chuck."

    I forget what the real name of the wine (Charles ___); but it's soooo good... and only $2 in Cali.

    Matthew - I was watching "Good Eats" on the Food Channel last night. The episode was about cheeses. If you haven't watched this show, TiVO it. It's right up your ally (per your culinary posts).


    By Blogger Ashley, at 5:18 PM, January 03, 2006  

  • I don't think I could drink anything that expensive. It would sit around for decades before I would be able to open it! Cheers!!

    By Blogger Crazy Me, at 5:38 PM, January 03, 2006  

  • Oh, yes, I have seen Alton Brown's Good Eats. Alton Brown is quite informative and entertaining. Happy New Year to all.

    By Blogger Matthew, at 2:41 AM, January 04, 2006  

  • I tasted Dom one time at a wedding; "tasted," not "drank," because a taste is all I was offered. I remember it being excellent, but I hope hell freezes over before I lose enough sense to pay $150 for something to drink.

    Who's up for some Asti?

    By Blogger English Professor, at 8:43 PM, January 04, 2006  

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