Champagne and sparkling wine are a necessity during the holidays. What better thing to toast than friends, family, the joy of the season and occasionally a few days off? A few thoughts on bubbles.You don’t have to spend a fortune – yes, once you try that Krug Grand Cuvee you will realize why Cristalino only costs $8. But there are plenty of wonderful wines in between and Cristalino is still an awesome value! So look for some wines in your price range It’s not just for toasts – too often people drink Champagne only with a toast or as an aperitif. And that’s a shame because Champagne (especially rose) is wonderful with food. The acidity and texture of Champagne make it a perfect match for lots of food. So try it at the table, not just the before and after. There is just something about real Champagne… Yes, there are great alternative sparkling wines, and I’ll list a few, but having at least one bottle of Champagne during the holidays will really make your season brighter. Here are some helpful tips on picking the right Champagne, either for yourself or for a gift Picking a Champagne Producer By price: Top picks for $50 and under (all are Non-vintage)
Charles Heidsieck Brut
Gosset Brut Excellence – one of my favorites, medium bodied – delivers an excellent wine every year.
Nicolas Feuillatte Blue Label Brut – another favorite, very clean wine, great acidity
Piper Heidsieck – reasonably priced, nice texture and body
Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label – a classic label, brand & wine. Delicious.
Pol Roger Brut – elegant non-vintage bottle
Taittinger Brut La Francaise Top producers from $50 – $100
This is where you start to see some vintage wines coming out, as well as Tete de Cuvee
Bollinger – if I cannot have Krug, I will drink Bollinger – love this full bodied Champagne.
Laurent-Perrier Brut Millesime (vintage)
Gosset Grand Reserve (NV) and Gosset Grand Millesime (vintage)
Henriot (vintage) Splurge on $100 +
Bollinger Grand Annee (vintage)
Dom Perignon (vintage)
Krug Grand Cuvee (NV) or Krug (vintage)
Louis Roderer Cristal (vintage)
Perrier Jouet Fleur de Champagne (vintage)
Salon Blanc de Blancs (vintage)
Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame (vintage) By Style Lighter-bodied producers
Taittinger Medium-bodied producers
Gosset NV Brut
Veuve Clicquot Full-bodied producers
Gosset (Grande Reserve & vintage)
Louis Roederer There are also some delicious grower Champagnes, which are wines coming from the growers themselves instead of the larger production houses. These are worth seeking out. Sparkling Wine picks:
For domestic (meaning US), Try Roederer Estate in Anderson Valley – amazing wines, fantastic prices; Iron Horse (all their cuvees are wonderful), Argyle and Schramsberg. In Cava, love the Cristalino for parties as well as Segura Viudas. And in Prosecco, the NIno Franco is very Champagne-like in its style. Drink some bubbly, drink it with food and enjoy your holidays!