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I was given a bottle of Dom Perignon 1985 about 12 or 13 years ago as a gift. We have never opened it and now are considering opening it for our 65th birthdays. My question is twofold: Has it gone flat and tasteless? Does it have any value?

Ron

Dear Ron,

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Happy birthday. Providing it has been stored in a cool, humid cellar, Dom Perignon 1985 should make for a memorable toast for your celebration.

Dom Perignon is a top French Champagne, made only in the best years. Unlike most Champagnes, it carries an age-statement on the label (in this case 1985). It's meant to be cellared. After 10 or more years, such wines usually develop intriguingly nutty, honeyed nuances. The bubbles should remain pretty much intact, though I find that very old champagnes tend to lose a modicum of effervescence (no biggie, though).

Yes, you are clutching a valuable wine. At auction, it could fetch well above Dom Perignon's current, new-vintage selling price of more than $200. A licensed appraiser could give you a figure, but - hey - it was a gift, right? And it's your birthday! A gold-plated wine to launch your golden years.

Have a wine question?

E-mail your wine and spirits questions to Beppi Crosariol. Look for answers to select questions to appear in the Decanter newsletter and on The Globe and Mail web site.

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