TN: 1993 Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Cuvee Royale Brut

In early August, I spent a week with my daughter Jessica Rose aka Dolphin Girl in Key Largo, Florida. I only bought one bottle of wine the entire week, because despite a reasonably good selection that was available, there were no real bargains to be found. That wasn’t a problem, because the micro-brews were good. There was one bottle that caught my eye however, and I couldn’t resist picking it up, based on the raves it has received from our good friend and colleague, Champagne Warrior Brad Baker. Here’s what I posted on my Facebook page as I sipped on it over a few hours during my last night in the Keys:

1993 Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Cuvee Royale Brut

This baby isn’t just hangin’ in there, it’s struttin’ its stuff! No wine for a week, and to enjoy this after that is a special treat. Do I have to take notes or can I just ease back and groove with it? (Some habits are hard to break and I ended up recording these impressions.)

Medium straw color ~ ample mousse and active bead ~ expressive hazel nut and pear, with nice minerality and what seems to be an interesting note of well integrated oak ~ excellent presence, concentration and acids ~ beautiful stuff ~ ~ no wonder the Champagne Warrior loves this so much!

A funny thing about this wine; it was the last '93 in a bin of 2000s and it was marked at $23.99. I grabbed it and 6 Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPAs and checked out. As I was walking to the car, it occurred to me that I may have been overcharged and when I checked the receipt, sure enough, they hit me up for $28.99 for the bubbly. I went back in and had the following conversation with the woman behind the counter.

“Excuse me, but I was overcharged for this bottle.”

“No, it’s in our system at that price.”

Yes, but the price tag clearly says $23.99”

“Maybe somebody changed the tag.”

“Is this your price tag?”

(Hesitates…) “Yes…”

“Look, it’s obvious what happened here. It’s the last '93 in a bin of 2000s. This is listed at the old price, both vintages have the same UPC and the scanner reads the price of the newer vintage.”

“I’m sorry, that’s what it’s in our system at.”

“In Michigan, where I come from, a retailer has to honor the price that’s on the product.”

“Oh, really?”

It was obvious that she wasn’t going to budge, so I let it go, figuring it was still a decent price for what should be a great wine and as it turned out, it was a great wine!

- from Some Bubbles & 2 Rosés

Reporting from Day-twah,

geo t.

Great story, and I’m rather surprised that a vintage sparkling from CA is showing so well! Impressive.

Nice to see a note on this wine. I remember “discovering” this bottling back with the '92 and '93 vintages when they were something like $14 in SF in the late '90s. Great deal then, but who would have known it would last so well.

Todd & Vincent, I have to admit that I was a wee bit worried that the wine might have left its best days well behind, so I was doubly pleased at how well it showed. A perfect way to end a great week with the darling daughter sez I!



Nice notes and a great find. I’m happy that the bottle survived any possible bad storage. Every Royal Cuvee from 92 present is still showing very well today and the 91 is still nice too, but not quite at the same level as the others. I don’t see any of them going downhill anytime soon either. Both the Royal Cuvee and Roederer’s L’Ermitage can age very well with the Royal Cuvee having the best track record. As an aside, the 93 Royal Cuvee has aged better than most Champagnes that cost multiples of its original purchase price (I bought mine at $15-20).

I found a small stash of the 1993 l’Ermitage earlier this year for a great price. They are all gone already, but were nice.

Thanks for the kind words and feedback, my friend. Knowing how much you like this one, there was no way I was going to leave it lying in that bin, even with them screwing me around on the price!