An auction purchase chosen for its good colour (for its age) and appearance. About mid-gold with a tiny amount of sediment. Left to settle for about four months and moved to the restaurant a week prior to opening.
Opened and then poured after about five minutes. Very faint fine bubbles, but consistent with age. Initial nose was of white truffle, but I assume that this was a reductive element as it disappeared within a minute or so. The bouquet settled to a consistent theme of caramel and light toffee throughout the two or so hours it was open. After an hour or so when the wine warmed slightly there were notes of orange zest, woodsy smells of the old wardrobe and antique shop type and a faint hint of something darker still, maybe molasses.
The palate consistent with the nose, the mousse more visible in the mouth than in the bottle with caramel and toffee with a richness of flavour and density of texture that I associate with older Cristal (not that I have previously tasted any quite as old as this...). Not especially complex, but solidly persistent in flavour down the palate. It held together very well for the two hours and I noted towards the end that there was a very firm acidity clearly visible when it was warmer. At this point the woodsy pinot scents were firmly in control.
Given the huge numbers of disappointing older champagnes I've tried over the years, this counts as a relative success. Fabulous old bottle? No, but in sufficiently good shape that it was possible to see what this might have been twenty or thirty years ago when I suspect that it was in its absolute prime. Most importantly, it was a wonderful part of a very special occasion and so it served its purpose well.
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