It was a great evening. No doubt.

Special sushi prepared by Loni, many years in the making (you can find out why here in Loni’s account of events). And to top it off, we finally uncorked that special ’97 Bollinger that had been eyeing us temptingly for several years.

A little chance was involved.

I just happened to be researching the right pairing for the fresh sushi rolls and sashimi we were about to enjoy. So as Loni whipped up a frenzy in our kitchen I surfed our Cellartracker software looking for the right match. I was thinking Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, or, maybe Riesling. But by chance I came across a Champagne recommendation. Of course! How perfect. We then knew it was time to pop the Bollinger.

And we would drink every drop, enjoy every moment, and savor the mystical flavors that would wash across our palettes. Sure, we were giddy with excitement.

Part of me wondered, though, was the bar too high, the expectation so elevated because of the Bollinger reputation, that the only result would be disappointment?
Like a virtuoso, a tenor, a grandmaster, this 1997 Bollinger came through in style, and, in fact, even exceeded.

  • Bollinger 1997 La Grande AnnĂ©e Champagne
  • Rating
  • 94
  • Clint says:
  • “Everything I could hope for in a Champagne, and with special sushi prepared by a special person. 2009 starts in style.”
  • The Wine
  • Champagne 12%
  • The Winery
  • Bollinger, Ay, Marne, France
  • Category
  • Wine reviews


The kitchen filled with a rush of excitement. We took in the aroma. Then poured a taster. The fine bubbles streamed to the top of our two glasses.


And what a way to start the evening. Citrus. Smooth and refreshing, with a light finish.

So far so good. Loni’s spread of sushi was equally impressive, both in plating and taste. Hmmm, geez, it was almost as if… yes… as if it had been about 5 or 6 years since this kind of sushi presentation last happened.

Pairing this Champagne with the sushi was the right choice. Perfect, in fact. This is truly a case where the drink accentuates the food, and vice-versa.

I still recall the vivid flavors of the Hamachi sashimi dancing in my mouth as the carbonated bubbly balanced the wasabi, while accentuating the juicy, tender raw fish. Superb.

Moments to remember.

(Note: Loni successfully saved the label using “Label Lifters”, and we also kept our tasting notes which were written on a note pad from the 1950s, with a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible adorned along the bottom, base price $2,611.)

Clinton shoots videos for Stark Insider. San Francisco Bay Area arts, Ingmar Bergman and French New Wave, and chasing the perfect home espresso shot 25 seconds at a time (and failing). Peloton: ClintTheMint. Camera: Video Gear