By Gregory D. McCluney

The Cost of Drinking the Very Best

You’ve had a really good year. You spent a fortune to attend the Super Bowl, but now it’s time to treat that special Valentine to some special wine. To drink the very best, you may have to call your banker, or at least your strongest credit card, and be prepared for some sticker shock.

As most wine drinkers know, real Champagne comes only from France and only from the Champagne region. It must meet many French regulations and can be made only in the traditional method from only a few grapes from the region, primarily pinot noir, pinot meunier and chardonnay. We’ve gathered some of the rarest (note vintage) bottles, although few of us will ever taste these wines. In most cases, they can only be purchased from collectors or at high-end wine auctions. And the prices are variable, to say the least.

But you had a GOOD year, right? Hang on to your wallet, here are a few examples of just how crazy it can get.

2000 Krug Clos du Mesnil

Grapes for this classic come from some of the best vineyards in Champagne dating back to 1698. Think biscuit, nuts, flowers and spice all in beautiful balance.

Around $900 per bottle, if you can find it.

NV Jacques Selosse Lieux-dits Les Chantereines Grand Cru Avize Extra Brut

Very little sugar is added to this cuvee (Extra Brut) during the fermentation process utilizing a very dry yeast. Something different. If you see a bottle, expect to pay nearly $1,000 for a special and unusual bubbly.

1943 Moet & Chandon Brut

This famous house made this special cuvee to celebrate its 200th anniversary in 1943! Old champagnes, well made, are a special experience – at a special price of at least $1,000, when available.

Krug Grande Cuvee

Sometimes called No. 1 or Krug Private Cuvee, this special bottle is non-vintage and is a combination of several years’ grapes, which some feel makes it more desirable. The price can be $1,800 and up.

Moet & Chandon Dom Perignon White Gold

If a special wine in the bottle is not enough, how about a special bottle? This one is engraved and white gold-plated and is beautiful indeed with a price tag of around $2,500.

1961 Moet & Chandon Charles & Diana Dom Perignon

Served at the famous wedding of course, a few bottles were put aside for future celebrations and are now a collector’s item with, when available, a price tag

Of $3,500 and more.

The Tsar’s Cuvee

Shipwrecked 1907 Heidsieck

Just 2,000 bottles were rescued from a sunken ship put down by a German sub enroute to Tsar Nicholas II and his cellars. How special can you get? If this is your idea of the ultimate Valentine wine, expect to pay a collector almost $300,000 for one bottle.

So much for the 1 percenters, much more reasonable and highly drinkable bubbly is available for your Valentine at Vino Venue for $20 and up . Drop by!

by Greg McCluney