June 15, 2024

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Celebrate the Holidays with Bubbly

Now that the holiday season is upon us, it’s time to take a look at a few bottles of bubbly to share with family and friends to ring in the New Year. We’ve taken the time to taste a few – lucky us – and share with you our suggestions from the best of the best to the most bang for your buck.

Let’s start with some of the less expensive sparklers to perhaps bring along to a holiday party or to offer up as a gift to your boss and/or cube-mates.

Roederer Estate NV Brut (California)

For under $20 bucks this is by far the best tasting sparkling wine this side of the Atlantic. And because this one comes from California – the Anderson Valley more specifically – we can’t call it Champagne. But guess what folks? This one sure tastes like the real deal. This one is easy on the wallet and long on flavor. And it’s cheap enough that you can always stash a couple extra bottles away for last minute gifts. Roederer Estate also produces a slightly more complex vintage brut, Roederer Estate 1999 L’Ermitage Estate that you can pick up for around $40 bucks bottle.

Piper Heidsieck NV Rose Sauvage (France)

To add a bit of color to your holiday festivities try the Piper Heidsieck Non-Vintage Rose Sauvage. The color will knock your Christmas stockings off and so will the flavor. This one is not only lovely to look at but it tastes good too. Shop around and see if you can’t find this one for under $50.

Deutz NV Brut Classic (France)

If you’re feeling adventurous, try the Deutz Brut Classic. This one is dry and clean and very elegant. The only way to describe it is to say that it tastes like Paris on a crisp late-fall evening. Your friends will definitely think you have class if you show up at the party with this bottle of bubbly.

The Pricier Options

Okay, so you got that Christmas bonus in the bank and you want to splurge. You’re Mr. Top-Shelf tonight and you’re looking to impress your lady or gent. What will it be? I’d say you should start with the Dom.

Dom Perignon Vintage 1998 (France)

Probably one of the more recognizable Champagnes, Dom Perignon has shown up in literature, song, and movies as a symbolic splurge. Its price does put it slightly out of reach for the budget-minded individual (around $150). In spite of the fact that this vineyard is part of a large conglomerate that owns, among other names, Louis Vuitton, this stuff is tasty and still handcrafted by artisans following the age-old processes developed by this vintner in the Champagne region of France. It is light, seemingly evaporating on your tongue, yet complex with hints of citrus. Its pale yellow color is intoxicating in itself. Oh, and did I mention it comes in a box?!

Krug 1995 Vintage Brut (France)

Okay, so this is where things get complicated. This bottle of bubbly is beyond the splurge, beyond the impress-your-friends realm. Heck, to use the word “bubbly” in reference to this guy is a downright insult. This is Sideways territory here. Krug Vintage Champagnes are made from only the best of the best pressings of grapes with as many as 20 varietals making up their complex nature. Known for their longevity, some of these vintages will outlast their makers. I once got upgraded to first class on an Air France flight from Paris to NYC and drank Krug the entire voyage. It was as if I had died and gone to Francophile heaven. You won’t go wrong with this guy… trust me.

Veuve Clicquot 1996 La Grande Dame (France)

And to round off the pricey Champers, I present La Grande Dame. Veuve Clicquot is that hard to pronounce Champagne that is as ubiquitous as Beany Babies. Actually it’s pronounced vuhv klee-KOH – if you want to impress your friend start rounding those lips. The non-vintage “yellow label” is a classic standby and perfect addition to any party spread. But La Grande Dame is different. La Grande Dame is complex in flavor and effervescence. The nose is flower and citrus. The body is fruit, peaches and grapefruit and kumquat. La Grande Dame, she’ll make you happy.