Laithwaites vintage Champagne from 2002 was given to me as a gift many years ago - so long that I don't remember exactly when I received it.
It had sat on the wine rack for upwards of half a decade before I finally decided to open it.
I suspect it may well have come with the advice to cellar for a while - last year I had a bottle of vintage port from Laithwaites that had been handed over with similar instructions.
In any case, a good vintage Champagne should be just coming into its own at 10 years.
Its opening was not to mark a special occasion or event - we just needed a white to drink with dinner and a bottle of vintage Champagne happened to be the only white wine immediately to hand.
My expectations were mixed, tempered by previous experiences of Laithwaites; I'm not generally a fan.
Fortunately, this wine turned out to be rather good - a classic, food friendly Champagne with yeasty biscuitness and brioche, ripe orchard fruits, a touch of red fruit and sous-bois Pinot character with a pleasantly rasping and persistent finish.
A textbook Champagne, in fact - everything it should be.
The blurb on the back says the wine was made by Union Champage to mark 40 years of supplying Laithwaites.
I do have a recollection of a time when wines from Laithwaites / The Sunday Times Wine Club seemed actually quite good - this bottle seems to hark back to that time.
No idea of price, almost certainly no longer available; now just a museum piece.
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