New Year Bubbly – Nicolas Feuillatte Palmes d’Or ’96

New Year’s Eve – the end of one year and the optimism that the next will outdo all that has come before. My 2013 began by popping open a very special bottle of Champagne that was gifted to me on my birthday.

Nicolas Feuillatte (pronounced – nee-koh-lah føee-yaht) is one of the top 5 Champagne brands. It is often lost between the Moets and the Mumm’s of the world though, so it isn’t too surprising if you haven’t come across it before.

Look how pretty! Nicolas Feuillatte Palmes d’Or Brut Vintage 1996

Palmes d’Or Brut Vintage is the family-owned house’s grande cuvee (which makes it more exclusive) and is sold in a stunningly sculpted bottle. What made this bottle even more special was its 1996 vintage, which I was told was an extraordinary year for Champagne. I did some research to find out why, and here’s what Jancis Robinson had to say about it, “What was so extraordinary about the 1996 vintage in Champagne was that not only were the grapes exceptionally high in flavour and ripeness, they also managed to retain admirably high levels of acidity, the component that gives champagne its refreshment value and long life. Not since 1955 had such high levels of both acidity and grape sugars been recorded in Champagne.”

That explains the first thing that struck me about the Palmes d’Or Brut. After 17 years in a bottle, it is still remarkably fresh and fruity – definitely one for the collection. If the Champagne and the wines that followed that night are any indication, my 2013 will be a fabulous year. I wish the same for you. Happy New Year!