Whether at a wedding, birthday, anniversary or for no other reason than pure pleasure, sipping a glass of chilled, sparkling champagne has never been more accessible or affordable.
Once, champagne was the reserve of the rich, upper classes served in an elegant engraved champagne glass while sitting at a crystal laden dining table. Then, as time passed, it was enjoyed only on special occasions where just one glass was taken to toast the happy couple or congratulate a colleague, or to welcome in the New Year.
Today champagne is consumed as freely and regularly as budgets will allow. Champagne cocktails are offered in most reputable wine bars, and all the major supermarkets have a good range of champagnes to suit most pockets. Of course, there are some champagne drinkers that still demand the very best that money can buy.
When it comes to which glass to use, a delicate engraved champagne glass, a vintage coupe, or ultramodern stemless, nothing can compare to the set of two glasses designed by jeweler John Calleija.
Carefully cut from an eight kilogram crystal block, each glass weighs 250 grams and stands around 15 centimetres tall. They have been encrusted with 1,700 rare Argyle pink diamonds and white diamonds totalling 21 carats. Additionally, 18-carat rose and white gold accompanies the platinum used to finish the glasses, which have been valued at AU$400,000 (£247,000).
If these are too expensive, then maybe the Imperial Champagne glass will be more affordable. For a mere €65,000 (£59,500), the stem of the glass is handmade from 180g of gold and adorned with eight carats of diamonds, each one hand set into the glass itself.
Champagne on ice
Of course, keeping the champagne cool is must for any self-respecting host. Champagne buckets can add a lovely sense of occasion to a table setting or celebration, so if you have several million to spare, why not push the boat out with the Van Perckens Nr.8 Champagne Cooler Diamond Version? Coming in at around HK$32.35m (£3.18m), it may not be within everyone’s reach, but there is a lot to love about this champagne bucket, which does come complete with a set of matching champagne glasses.
Firstly, it is made from 20-carat gold and is decorated with Royal Leerdam crystals and diamonds. Weighing in at around 7kg, the unusual circular design of both the bucket and the glasses, is encrusted with diamonds, which catch the light and dazzle from every angle.
The ice is in the bucket, a lovely engraved champagne glass is on the table, and it is now time to choose the champagne and sometimes only the best will do. Why not try a bottle of Taste of Diamonds, which at £1,200,000 it is the most expensive champagne in the world? Blended from Pinot Noir, Grand Cru Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier grapes, the champagne comes in a bottle bearing an engraved, 18-carat white gold plaque which weighs around 48g, and is studded with a 19-carat Swarovski white diamond.
Champagne really is a taste of luxury for some, and for the rest, dreams will have to do.