In a whimsical mood sometime last year, I impulsively said yes to AT’s text if I wanted in on a bottle of 2002 Louis Roederer “Cristal” Brut Champagne. His boss, he said, had bought a half case for 50% off, and had generously asked if AT wanted any.

I was loath to open such an expensive bottle when I moved back to Chicago, and so, before I left, stashed the bottle, along with several others that I meant to age, at the bottom of my dad’s wine refrigerator.

When I returned last week, one of the first things I did was to check out my wines. Imagine my distress – only my Cristal was left in its original packaging! None of the other bottles – including my beloved bottle of Penfolds RWT – were to be found!

Evidently, the old wine fridge’s thermostat had died a sudden death, plunging temperatures within the fridge to -5 degrees C! Most of the bottles couldn’t withstand the temperature drop, and cracked. 😦

Thankfully, the Cristal was safe, happily nestled in its crystal lead bottle.

I didn’t want to take another chance. So, on my last evening in Singapore, I lugged it out to the seafood restaurant with my family. Mine and Jeff’s stomachs weren’t feeling all that great; we had been overstuffing ourselves on oily but oh-so-delicious hawker fare. Stubbornly though, I popped open the bottle and carefully poured the clear golden liquid into everyone’s glasses.

Now, I can’t say if it was worth the S$300… but it was definitely one of the best champagnes I’ve had. The bubbles were tiny and concentrated, bursting in a gentle fizz on my tongue. The wine was crisp and citrusy – of grapefruit and apple – with a yeasty, slightly nutty finish.


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