Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Champagne is too special to be enjoyed only on special occasions. Here are 5 bottles to burst anytime this winter

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With almost every big celebration there is a call to open the champagne. Champagne has a long-standing reputation for being the go-to drink to celebrate or toast any special occasion and is even a defining drink for New Years Eve. But there is more to Champagne than the grand countdown or this rare step. After this year, a lesson to be learned is not to wait for the special occasion. Instead, make the occasion special on your own. Champagne is a sublime way of doing this.

First, let’s eliminate a few requirements. Remember: for Champagne to be a real Champagne, it must be produced in the eponymous region of north-eastern France. Everything else is just sparkling wine – although there are many equally satisfying and sophisticated sparkling wines that go by other names, such as Cremant (made in the same style as traditional Champagne but produced in other regions of France), It’s okay (Spain), and Franciacorta (Italy). And word to the wise: officially, there is no such thing as “American champagne” or “California champagne”. It’s just sparkling wine here too. Everything else is just marketing.

And then there are three primary grape varieties used to produce Champagne: white Chardonnay grapes and red Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes; a mixture of the three is what makes up most classic non-vintage bottles.

But there are many other styles of champagne that are worth tasting as often as any other wine. For those interested in the terroir (terroir), a Blanc de Blancs is made only from Chardonnay grape varieties, a grape variety considered to be one of the most expressive of its terroir. While rosé has enjoyed astronomical popularity over the past decade, rosé champagne has been produced since the 18th century. For collectors, the Champagne houses also offer prestigious cuvées, the best Champagne produced by the house and perfect for aging.

Here is a selection of certified Champagne wines in a variety of styles to consider opening anytime this winter.

Beautiful joy: Beau Joie specializes in zero dosage Champagnes (no added sugar), aimed at appealing to consumers who are more concerned about their health. (That said, remember that this is still an alcoholic beverage, and there is no such thing as “clean wine” or “purely healthy wine.”) Zero dosage allows for purity of the fruit. to shine without being masked by the addition of sugar. While it’s not easy to create such a delicately balanced bottle without adding sugar, as is common in the industry, consumer demand for this low-sugar approach has been on the rise in recent years. Beau Joie bottles are also very special on the outside, as they are encased in an intricate weave made from second-generation copper scrap, a functional design element that helps cool champagne faster (ideal for impromptu celebrations) and keeps it colder longer without the need for an ice bucket, which not everyone has at home. SICKLE: $ 69.

Champagne Henriot

Many wine lovers keep old bottles for interior decoration, but Champagne Henriot takes it to the next level with its limited edition Garden Box Rosé kit: it not only includes a bottle of raw rosé but can also be used as a flower pot. This coppery rosé blend highlights the Pinot Noir grapes from the Montagne de Reims while retaining the fresh minerality of Chardonnay, with a palate of red fruits. SICKLE: $ 75.

Valentin Leflaive

Valentin Leflaive is the culmination of prolific Burgundian producer Olivier Leflaive and Erick de Sousa from Champagne de Sousa, from Avize on the Côte des Blancs. The result is a Champagne with unique minerality and complexity thanks to Burgundy barrels. This rosé Champagne is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes from the Montagne de Reims. The base wine (70% of the blend) is aged for seven months in stainless steel vats. The 30% of reserve wine added was aged in Burgundy barrels, those used for the elaboration of the great wines of Olivier Leflaive. After secondary fermentation, the wine was aged for 20 months in the cellar. Elegant and bright with flavors of red fruits, Champagne offers a fine foam that supports the fresh and complex citrus notes with distinct notes of lemon, cherry and strawberry. SICKLE: $ 75.


The shop House, directed by cellar master Caroline Latrive (one of the only female cellar masters in the region), produces wines centered on Chardonnay which immediately provide pleasure, freshness and elegance. Ayala is, for the most part, a brand of Champagne under the radar. But the 2013 Blanc de Blancs could change their minds on that one. Produced only in exceptional years, this 100% Chardonnay wine is the ultimate expression of Latrive’s style of winemaking. It offers remarkable minerality and roundness. And the flavors develop as it sits in the glass – becoming almost velvety – with hints of passion fruit, citrus, white peaches and honey. SICKLE: $ 110.

Pol Roger:

Pol Roger is one of the few Great brand (the most prestigious) Champagne houses which remain family-owned and run. He is known for his tradition of aging and manual riddling of each bottle in the 4.66 mile long cellars beneath the estate’s chateau, located on Avenue de Champagne in Epernay, France. The house rosé has a dark salmon pink color with a fine stream of small bubbles. The nose presents aromas of ripe fruit with elements of citrus (blood orange), pomegranate and small wild red fruits. On the palate, a deep mineral character; a fine and creamy maturity; and a hint of vanilla. The wine is tender and sweet, with a balance of delicate freshness and refined elegance. SICKLE: $ 123.

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