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Question
I have a bottle of champagne that was given to me by an elderly aunt a number of years ago. It is Henriot Reims French Reserve Baron Phillippe de Rothschild champagne 1971. It has been stored in a cellar for many years and is displayed in a black hinged box. Is this champagne a good champagne? I am not a champagne lover and would hate to waste and not appreciate a fine champagne. I would offer it for sale if it was worth it.

Answer
Hi Thomas

Even the best Champagne begins to show its age after twenty-five years, and this one is well beyond that point.  I'm afraid it will be pretty tired---with faded flavors, disappearing bubbles, and color that is a bit more brown than gold.  

I'm sorry to say that it won't have much value on the auction market because of all of the above.  

But that's not to say it might not still have some charm.  I would open it with a few friends, making sure it is nice and cold, and see what it's like.  And I'd have a back-up bottle on hand, just in case this one is over the hill completely

Hope that helps

Paul Wagner  

Wine

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Paul Wagner

Expertise

Wines of the world, wine a food matching, wine and food service questions. I currently teach Wine courses at Napa Valley College, am an international wine judge, written many articles for publication, and have been a guest speaker at way too many wine conferences to remember. 25 years in the business. With Liz Thach and Janeen Olsen, I authored the definitive book on wine marketing: Wine Marketing & Sales, Strategies for a Saturated Market by The Wine Appreciation Guild, which won the Gourmand International Award in 2008 for the best wine book for professionals! With Rick Kushman of Capital Public Radio, I host a radio show and podcast called Bottletalk at rickandpaulwine.com, where I answer questions about wine and food on the air.

Experience

30 years in the business.

Organizations
Society of Wine Educators, Academy of Wine Communications, American Wine Society

Publications
Vineyard and Winery Management Magazine, Fine Wine Journal, les Amis du Vin Journal, Society of Wine Educators Journal, and more.

Education/Credentials
I have taught at Napa Valley College for the last twenty years.

Awards and Honors
Spanish National Wine Fair: A lifetime dedicated to wine award. Espaderino della Castelania di Soave in Italy.

Past/Present Clients
Wineries include Caymus, Wente, Parducci, Shannon Ridge, Paul Dolan Wines, Vigilance, and others. Wine regions include the Union des Grand Crus de Borcdeaux, Union des Grands Crus de St. Emilion, Consorzio di Chianti CLassico, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Consorzio di Franciacorta, Rioja Alavesa, and others.

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