SOLON, Ohio - As you can see in the picture, taken during a recent visit to Solon Wine and Liquor, this special bottle of champagne is almost as big as I am. The various bottle sizes for champagne are named for ancient kings: Jeroboam, Methuselah, Salmanazar, Nebuchadnezzar and so on.
The big guy next to me? One of my friends suggested sardonically that it should be called "The LeBron." But it is, in fact, called The Midas. It holds as much champagne as 40 regular size bottles. And if you want this one from elite champagne house Armand de Brignac, it'll cost you $66,000.
That is not a typo.
But even if you had the dough and were so inclined, you couldn't get it. Only a few were produced in the tiny Champagne, France village of Chigny les Roses. (Only wines produced in the Champagne region of France can technically call themselves "champagne.")
The bottle sold in Ohio went to a nightclub in Columbus. They wanted a second one and couldn't get it. That ought to be some party, eh?
Meanwhile, back here on earth, it is possible to get some very fine sparkling wine or champagne without taking out a second mortgage on your house. There are great champagnes to be had in the $50 to $70 range such as Veuve Clicquot and Perrier Jouet. Famed champagne producer Moet and Chandon offers a less expensive sibling labeled simply Chandon for about $21.
Iron Horse sparkling wines out of Sonoma, California, stand at the pinnacle of their category. They'll be served at the inauguration in January, and Iron Horse has been poured for esteemed guests of every administration going back to the Reagan-Gorbachev Summit which lead to the end of the cold war. Yes, the Iron Horse sparkler may have helped. They start at about $40.
Whichever wine you choose, uncork it carefully. Dan Hammer of The Hammer Company suggests you hold the bottle sideways (Sideways - I loved that movie!), grabbing the base with one hand and holding the cork firmly with the other and slowly twist the cork. It should ease out gently with a small "pop," announcing to your
guests that it is time to celebrate.
Oh, that Armand de Brignac? If you'd like to splurge on what many call the "Ace of Spades" because of the symbol on the gold bottles, a regular size bottle costs about $330. I actually saw one today at Giant Eagle. The bottles are collector's items too, hand dipped in gold, with hand applied pewter labels. (I'll bet LeBron has tried it.)
You can read more about this historic winemaker here: http://www.armanddebrignac.com.
To you and yours this holiday season, cheers!
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The Vatican Library and Oxford University's Bodleian Library have put the first of 1.5 million pages of ancient manuscripts online.