Here I am once again displaying my blatant lack of knowledge when it comes to wine and such spirits. A bottle of Perrier-Jouët Champagne from the 1874 vintage recently sold for around $57,000, reports Food and Wine.
The bottle absolutely demolished the estimated price of $20,000 and set a record for the most expensive bottle of champagne ever auctioned by Christie’s Auction House. Perrier-Jouët had already set a record with its champagne in 1888. A bottle from the exact same vintage held the record for most expensive bottle sold at auction until 1967 when it was finally beaten.
The price tag on this bottle is hefty as hell, but the winning bidder did receive more than just some bubbly. In addition to the record-breaker, the bidder also got an incredible champagne-filled experience. The prize package included a night at Maison Belle Epoque (the home of the brand’s founders) for up to 10 people, a guided tour of the house and the cellars, a tasting of the current Perrier-Jouët range, a meal made by a three Michelin starred chef with champagne pairings from Perrier-Jouët. And, the pièce de résistance: The bidder gets to pop open the 1874 vintage with Cellar Master Séverine Frerson.
This dust-covered, unlabeled bottle is of course super rare. Tim Triptree MW, international director for Christie’s Wine & Spirits Department said, “As far as I know, no one other than Perrier-Jouët has any of this champagne left. It has spent almost 150 years in ideal conditions…” He added, “It’s had no movement, and the vault’s darkness, temperature of 11 to 14 degrees Celsius, and 98% relative humidity, are perfect for maturation.” The self-control it must take for people to not crack open a bottle for that long is just astounding.
I understand that aging wine makes it taste better, but again as someone with the pallet of a 12-year-old, what constitutes “better”? Does the alcohol get stronger? Can you just taste the history in a glass? One day I’ll get to the bottom of it.