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From JF of Harrogate:-

QUESTION: I have been given a bottle of 1996 Taittinger Blanc De Blancs Comtes de Champagne worth / retailing around 220. What do you think of this Champagne and what is the best way to store it? Furthermore, if I keep it for a few years will it be worth more or is it just too common?

ANSWER: You are indeed fortunate to have been given a 96 Comtes de Champagne, generally regarded as an outstanding vintage of one of the best 100% Chardonnay-based Champagnes available. It is named after Thibaud IV, Count of Champagne in the 13th Century, reputed to be the first to have planted Chardonnay in the area. Assuming it has been kept well so far, it ought to be capable of keeping & improving up to 2016, although should be perfectly drinkable now. Ideally it should be kept in cellar conditions (where the temperature would be 10C / 50F) or failing that, at the very least in darkness, at a constant temperature, as cool as possible (but not the fridge) and definitely on its side to prevent the cork from drying out and allowing oxygen to enter. Sadly, single bottles of vintage Champagne don't increase enormously in value, unless they are the "fashionable" ones like Roederer Cristal or Dom Perignon.