Do you know the joke about the alcoholic who drinks only one bottle of booze a day? Well, I’ve just worked out which bottle he or she is soaking up, and it’s available here in Phnom Penh at The Warehouse, the popular wine and beer merchant on Street 240.
You’ll need to bring a friend or two to help you take it home, as the bottle in question weighs 38 kilos. Better go the ATM first as well – a few times – because it will set you back a cool $1,600. We’re talking about a Nebuchadnezzar of Nicolas Feuillatte NV Champagne.
Above the Magnum (1.5 L) Champagne bottles start getting biblical on your ass. Not since Sunday School have I met up with those three stooges, Methuselah (6 L), Salmanazar (9 L), and Balthazar (12 L). But I’d never encountered Nebuchadnezzar before. He’s big – very big. We’re talking a monumental 15 litres of the bubbly stuff (equivalent to 20 standard bottles at $45). Obviously this requires a serious upgrade in the bottle’s specification, which accounts for some of the additional cost (do the math). Cache makes up the rest.
Worth drinking? Definitely. A light and fruity wine, with delicate, discreet bubbles, and a toasty, creamy finish make it worth limiting daily consumption to the singular. It’s an ideal accompaniment for chicken or seafood brochettes with citronella at your next barbeque. You’ll probably have some left over for the cheese course. Nicolas Feuillatte is a popular and fast-growing Champagne label. The brand is in partnership with the Centre Vinicole de Champagne, the largest association of growers in the region. Between them, they control nearly 2,200 hectares, accounting for over 7% of the vineyards in Champagne. The quality and diversity of the fruit enables the creation of some exceptional wines.
So who will buy this behemoth of the wine world? “Princes and princesses” says The Warehouse head honcho Roger Gaffney, with the air of a man familiar with selling off characters from The Old Testament. He might have added nouveau riche plutocrats keen to splash their new cash on the world's most famous wine. Or partygoers (“I’ve brought a bottle along with me…”). I’m sure there’ll be takers.
Alas, no indication that we’re going to be bumping (literally) into Melchizedek (30 L) at The Warehouse soon. If I’m going to stick to the bottle a day my doctor recommended, it needs to be bigger.
32E1, Street 240, Sangkat Chaktomuk
Khan Daun Penh, Phnom Penh