Vol. 1, No. 6, Feb. 22, 1999
© Copyright 1999 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.
Millennium fever is upon us, with symptoms ranging from a proliferation of "countdown clocks" to cults and ominous prophecies that the End Times are near. Here's one scary prediction that's been making the rounds: So many people are planning to pop a cork for this one-in-a-thousand celebration that the world might run short of Champagne by the end of '99.
Is this a serious threat? Perhaps, depending on how picky you are.
If only the genuine article will do -- the fine sparkling wine hand-made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes in the Champagne region around Reims, France -- then there's no question that millennial fever will create a strong demand. But most revelers will be happy with more affordable products, and you can be confident that the makers of budget sparklers are already ramping up production to take advantage of a good thing.
So, yes, shortages of luxury Champagnes are possible, and in the weeks before New Year's, it's possible that individual retailers may run short on inventory and have to restock. But the industry certainly shouldn't have any trouble supplying the demand for everyday bubbly.
Still, if you want to celebrate with something special, there's no reason not to be cautious and stock up early. Quality Champagne should last for at least a year, stored either upright or on its side in a cool, dark part of your house.
Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte non-vintage Brut Premier Cru ($26.99)
"J" non-vintage Sonoma County Sparkling Wine ($24.99)
FOOD MATCH: Both sparklers made a very fine match indeed with pan-grilled veal chops finished with a splash of Bourbon and a bit of butter.
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