What to drink this week
For all the uncertainty in the air, I hope you will be able to join me in toasting the end of summer with something hedonistic, memorable and—i know this may sound pretentious, but bear with me—perhaps uniquely beautiful. I’m talking about an obsession of mine, the 2002 vintage in Champagne.
Theyõre tricky to get hold of, but these bubbles are worth the effort, encourages Harry Eyres
Why you should be drinking it
I’ve mentioned 2002 before as a superb year in Champagne, but the specialness of this vintage is revealing itself more and more as time goes on. Why special? That year was exceptional nowhere else in Europe and pretty ordinary in many places (Bordeaux, the Douro, Chianti), but, somehow, Champagne lucked out, with perfect late-summer weather. Most vintages are thought to be ready at seven or eight years old, but, at that age, 2002 was nowhere near its best. Krug only unveiled its 2002 Vintage and Clos du Mesnil this spring and other 2002 wines have yet to be released.
What to drink
Sadly, just as they’re reaching their peak, 2002 vintage Champagnes are becoming hard—although not impossible—to get hold of. From the excellent small house of Billecart-salmon, the Cuvée NF 2002 (£118; www.hedonism.co.uk) is sumptuously rich and full. Scour auction catalogues for the drier, super-fine Bruno Paillard Blanc de Blancs 2002. For a winning combination of power and floral delicacy, try Pol Roger’s majestic Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill 2002 (£127.50; www.fourwallswine.com). At an even more rarefied level, Krug’s recently released 2002 Vintage (right, £259.95; www.thefinest bubble.com) is everything you could hope for: a truly beautiful, voluptuous, multilayered wine, with each element in perfect balance.