Champagne (or, um, “sparkling wine”) Roundup

by moderndomestic on December 23, 2008

Strawberry and Champagne - Day 246

What's Christmas without bubbles?

Photo Courtesy of Velo Steve via flickr, under the Creative Commons license.

After work today, I’ll be heading out to pick up some sparking wine for Christmas. I was about to write that I was going to pick up some “Champagne,” but, as any Wayne’s World fan knows, Champagnes only come from the Champagne region of France. Since real Champagne is definitely out of my price range, I plan to buy sparkling white wine, probably from California.

Of course, I won’t be in the market for a really nice bottle, because I intend to use half of it for mimosas on Christmas morning, and the other half for leisurely sipping on Christmas Day. But I thought that some of you were probably in the same boat, so I put together a little roundup of the Web Guide to Champagne Buying.

The New York Times did a tasting of sparking wines all priced at $20 a bottle or under, which I found extremely helpful. Granted, most of their picks hover at the $20 range, which is a bit steep for mimosas, but their best value, Crémant de Limoux blanc de blancs from Domaine J. Laurens, is only $13. Even I can afford that.

For those of you who want to shell out for the real stuff, the Wall Street Journal put together a guide to buying “Prestige” champagnes—i.e., Champagnes that are way, way out my price range. While I don’t think I know anyone who reads this blog who’s in the market for a $150 bottle of wine (not even my parents!), the article has some nice tidbits about the history of Champagne, insight into Champagne prices, and commentary on what one should look for in a good bottle of Champagne.

This Apartment Therapy post from last year has a guide to Champagne buying with recommendations from Craving’s Cynthia Sin-Yi Cheng. Among other things, the article suggests to buy Champagne from established wine shops that have the facilities to properly store it. While Cynthia’s picks for 2008 are way out of my price range, her reasons for her picks are interesting and her tasting notes are an interesting read.

The Washington Post
also has a guide to finding good Champagne values.
The piece suggests, among other things, to look for small growers, local importers, and, of course, to ask your local wine store for their recommendations. The Post also did a tasting of different Champagnes, although their cheapest bottle is $38. Well, it’s still fun to read about, right?

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

rebecca December 23, 2008 at 7:12 pm

bah! That French champagne can’t beat the good old sparkling wine of Napa Valley! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judgment_of_Paris_(wine)

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Bonnie December 29, 2008 at 7:40 pm

I agree with Rebecca. This is too late for Christmas but just in time for New Years’ Eve… The World Market (aka Cost Plus) has been having a great sale on bubbly recently. We bought a bottle of Piper Sonoma, which is a Calif. product bottled by Frenchmen, for about $12. It was so tasty, we went back for a few more bottles after Christmas.

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moderndomestic December 30, 2008 at 9:04 pm

Ooooh, good call. Although we’ll be traveling for most of New Years Eve, and a certain Plank has to work the 6 am shift that day, so I don’t know how much champagne we’ll be consuming.

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