It’s the holiday season – everyone’s favorite time to celebrate with friends and family. Since no celebration is complete without bubbles, I’ve updated this list for my readers with a few new suggestions. As I did last year, I’ve kept my recommendations under the $100.00 mark.
Champagne is a lovely way to start a holiday party rolling, and also makes a great gift. Thanks again to Pogo’s Wine and Spirits in Dallas, Texas for hosting their annual Champagne tasting.
Ruinart – Blanc de Blancs – made from 100% chardonnay grapes harvested from premier crus in the Cotes de Blanc and Montagne de Rheims. A great deal at about $65.00 dollars a bottle.
Last year I recommended the Ruinart Rose’. Read on down the page for details.
Roger Coulon Reserve de L’ Homme – the lovely bubbly is 33% chardonnay, 33% pinot noir and 33% pinot meniur. Very fine bubbles and an intense minerality both on the nose and palate, it elegantly expresses the essence of the terroir. The Coulon house vinifies each grape and parcel separately to preserve the character and personality of the terroir. Only $68.00 www.champagne-coulon.com
Champagne is The Ultimate Party Beverage
“Tis the season for bubbles and Champagne is the ultimate party beverage. Light and bubbly it hints at glamor, luxury and even decadence. Mention the word champagne and suddenly you’ll have a plethora of new friends, plus old friends you haven’t seen in 20 years or more…there’s something about Champagne.
Want to be a hit at your company Christmas party, family get-together, or impress your New Year’s Eve date? Take a nice bottle of Champagne.
One thing I’ve noticed, when it comes to Champagne you don’t have to spend a lot, but you can’t spend to little either. It can get pretty bleak at the bottom of the barrel, pun intended.
I’m not suggesting you should spend beyond your means, but if you really want to make friends and influence enemies, follow my lead and take a bottle of champagne to your holiday event.
What’s with the mystique and allure of Champagne? Perhaps because it’s French? Not that the French are the only ones producing sparkling wine, but in order to be called Champagne, the grapes must be grown in the Champagne region of France. Further, it must be produced in the Méthode Champenoise. It’s a rather complex process, and time-consuming. The longer it takes, the more expensive it becomes.
Last week I went to a Champagne tasting at a local wine shop where there were over 100 Champagnes, many from boutique producers. Some ridiculously expensive, but more that were very affordable. You’ll notice that many of my recommendations are rosès. Why? Because I like them. Rosés are made with a blend of chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot menuer grapes. I think the blend gives the wine more character and I like the color. (Many mistakenly think roses are sweet – this is an unfortunate perception). If you’re not a fan don’t worry, all of these wines come in an equally tasty non-pink version
I’ve put together a list of my favorites from that tasting. Sadly I couldn’t taste them all so I decided to focus on bottles under $100.00 because there were so many great ones! And yes, I’ve personally tried them all. I think drinking wine, like most everything else in life is subjective, but really you can’t go wrong here. Besides, I double checked my list with the pros at the tasting.
Without further ado: Champagne The Ultimate Party Beverage
Tattinger Rosé Prestige – This rosé is a blend of pinot noir and pinot meunier. From Wine Spectator who gave this rosé 90pts.
Wine Spectator – “Firm and spicy, this chalky rosé shows tightly knit flavors of black raspberry and cherry fruit, fresh ginger and pink grapefruit zest, with hints of honey and almond skin.” www.tattinger.com
Tattinger Brut Millesime 2005 – the Champagne is made from both Chardonnay and pinot noir grapes. It’s a warm golden color, very effervescent with a lot of fine bubbles. This one smells like peaches and grapefruit.
Billecart – Salmon Brut Rosé NV – Billecart is a very established boutique winery producing excellent and consistent wines. Made from chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meneur grapes this Champagne is a lovely pale salmon pink color. Delicate fruit on the palate with nice minerality. If you really want to impress someone take a bottle of this. Only serious wine aficionados and champagne drinkers have heard of it. Or people like me who go to a lot of tastings!
Ruinart Rosé – Ruinart is the oldest producer of champagne and has a fascinating royal history. It was a favorite of Empress Josephine and the first champagne imported to the United States and personally presented to President Andrew Jackson.
The Ruinart Rosé is 55% pinot noir and 45% chardonnay. It’s a lovely orange-pink color with fine bubble. The nose is of red berries. All the grapes are from the family estate vineyards.
Le Mesnil Brut NV – this is a Blanc de Blanc meaning it’s produced from 100% chardonnay grapes. The nose smells of green apple, wet chalk and has the warm toasted notes of a much more aged champagne. An excellent value.
Camile Saves Brut Premier Cru – this is a more traditional champagne produced from grapes sourced exclusively from the family estate vineyards in the town of Bouzy. This is another smaller producer that has a very long history in Champagne production.
Veuve Cliquot Gold Vintage Rosé 2004 – I really like this pink Champagne. It was a bit stronger fruit on the both the nose and the palate, but dry and not sweet. Different. If you like rosé try it! Veuve Cliquot is perhaps better known for their yellow label brut Champagne. I once poured it at a charity event and we were out in an hour. A more well-known brand, well established and reputable.
Which will you try? Do you have a favorite? Leave a comment or send me a message.
The tasting hosted by Pogos Wine Shop was open to the public. All opinions expressed are my own and are strictly editorial.