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Affordable Holiday Champagne & Sparkling Wine

affordable-holiday-champagne-sparkling-wine-toasts

Affordable Holiday Champagne & Sparkling Wine Toasts – Though it may be the drink of kings, at its most basic level, champagne is a white wine.

To earn the right to call itself champagne, though, a bottle must meet the Appellation d’Origine Controlée or AOC standards.

The most basic of these is regional—authentic champagne can only be produced in the Champagne region in France, an area in the country’s northeast, about 100 miles outside of Paris.


Affordable Holiday Champagne & Sparkling Wine Toasts – For a bottle of sparkling wine to be labeled Champagne, it has to be made in Champagne, France and produced using the méthode champenoise.

If that bottle is produced using the exact same method, anywhere else, it must carry a different name.

Affordable Holiday Champagne & Sparkling Wine Toasts – The production method itself must even be referred to differently, méthode tranditionalle being the usual substitute.

These rules are strictly enforced. They are codified in national laws, European Union regulations, and international trade agreements and treaties.

Affordable Holiday Champagne & Sparkling Wine Toasts – When they are broken, in even the most tangential ways, lawsuits are quickly filed.

While sparkling wine producers in some countries may ignore these rules, their bottles could never make it onto a shelf in the EU.

Affordable Holiday Champagne & Sparkling Wine Toasts – Since 2005, the same is true in the United States. And yet if you’ve ever seen bottles of bubbly labeled California Champagne – perhaps produced by Korbel, Cook’s or André – what you’ve seen is perfectly legal.

The loophole that makes these labels legal is the result of a fight that began in the trenches of the first World War, with roots going back to the nineteenth century.


Affordable Holiday Champagne Toasts From France


Affordable-Holiday-Champagne-Toasts-From-France-Laurent-Perrier-Cuvee-Rose

Laurent-Perrier Cuvee Rose


Sparkling Rosé from Champagne, France

$100


The Cuvée Rosé from Laurent-Perrier is the most recognized rosé champagne in the world.

The house uses its proprietary maceration technique and the wine is crafted for a fragrance and not mixed for a color.

Held in an elegant bottle inspired by King Henri IV, it has been widely acknowledged for its consistent high quality for more than 40 years, and it is the benchmark for rosé champagne around the world. 

Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé is truly remarkable for its highly expressive bouquet, stemming from very careful preservation of fresh fruit aromas during the wine making.

Made with 100% Pinot Noir from 10 different “crus ” (or villages), from the North and South areas of the Montagne de Reims, as well as the famous village of Bouzy.

Grapes from carefully selected plots are meticulously sorted and de-stemmed before going into the vats, and the controlled maceration helps with the color extraction and the development of the full aromatic richness of the Pinot Noir. 

Intensely fruity flavors, clean and slightly sharp, the wine opens to the sensation of freshly picked red berries: strawberries, Morello cherries, black currants and raspberries.

The finish is supple and rounded. 


Affordable-Holiday-Champagne-Toasts-From-France-Piper-Heidsieck-Brut-Vintage-Rare-with-Gift-Box

Piper-Heidsieck Brut Vintage Rare with Gift Box 2008


Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France

$200


In a subtle, joyful effervescence, the intense crystalline golden robe evokes yellow diamonds.

The initial nose shines by the pure vivacity of this vintage. As Rare Millésime 2008 gradually warms in the glass, a vast range of orange blossom, hyacinth and white flowers is released.

This leads to the delicacy of vanilla blossoms, a touch of fresh coconut, aromas of just ripe Williams pear and fresh almond, enhanced by notes of tangerine and blackcurrant buds.

The second nose reveals the saline minerality, abundant and refined, an iodine-smoky harmony and a touch of licorice.

On the palate the crispy, precise attack is followed by exuberant aromas of fresh pineapple, freshly cut and crisp, passion fruit, kiwi and coconut, nuanced with tangy citrus notes.

These combine with plush springlike flavors with unparalleled length.

The finish, with remarkable saline and iodine notes, perpetuates the journey into an endless spring.


Affordable-Holiday-Champagne-Toasts-From-France-Veuve Clicquot-La-Grande-Dame-Yayoi-Kusama-Limited-Edition

Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame Yayoi Kusama Limited Edition in Gift Box 2012


Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France

$200


In a subtle, joyful effervescence, the intense crystalline golden robe evokes yellow diamonds.

The initial nose shines by the pure vivacity of this vintage.

As Rare Millésime 2008 gradually warms in the glass, a vast range of orange blossom, hyacinth and white flowers is released.

This leads to the delicacy of vanilla blossoms, a touch of fresh coconut, aromas of just ripe Williams pear and fresh almond, enhanced by notes of tangerine and blackcurrant buds.

The second nose reveals the saline minerality, abundant and refined, an iodine-smoky harmony and a touch of licorice.

On the palate the crispy, precise attack is followed by exuberant aromas of fresh pineapple, freshly cut and crisp, passion fruit, kiwi and coconut, nuanced with tangy citrus notes.

These combine with plush springlike flavors with unparalleled length.

The finish, with remarkable saline and iodine notes, perpetuates the journey into an endless spring.


Affordable-Holiday-Champagne-Toasts-From-France-Louis-Roederer-Brut-Vintage

Louis Roederer Brut Vintage with Gift Box 2014


Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France

$90


Intense, fresh and fruity bouquet, reminiscent of a tangy red fruit tart (wild strawberry, blueberry), slightly sweet yet underpinned by more concentrated, jammy and citrus notes.

The aromatic complexity comes through after a few swirls in the glass giving us a medley of spice, warm cinnamon and peppers.

Fleshy attack dominated by ripe, crunchy, plump red fruit that brings depth and creaminess.

The fruity structure is gradually elongated by a chalky, mineral freshness that creates a lingering sensation of lightness and harmony on the finish.


Charles-Heidsieck-Brut-Reserve

Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve


Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France

$70


A deep golden robe. Delicate vivacious and long-lasting bubbles are the result of more than 36 months of ageing in chalk cellars.

With 40% of reserve wines (the maximum possible amount), the blend offers a complex, voluptuous nose with notes of freshly baked brioche and the richness of roasted coffee beans.

A precise selection of wines, purposely limited to 60 crus, ensures the Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve a deliciously sophisticated harmony.

An opulent selection of ripe, sun-drenched fruits such as mango, apricot, and greengage plum combines with dried fruits, pistachio and almond.

The texture is reminiscent of a crisp layer of nougatine on a velvety cream pastry filled with plump red plums and ripe cherries.

The reserve wines, some dating back ten years give the wine lushness.

The depth of the thousand-year-old chalk quarries where the wine matures offer a touch of praline along with notes of amber and vanilla.


Bollinger-PN-VZ16

Bollinger PN VZ16


Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, Franc

$129


Intense, fresh and fruity bouquet, reminiscent of a tangy red fruit tart (wild strawberry, blueberry), slightly sweet yet underpinned by more concentrated, jammy and citrus notes.

The aromatic complexity comes through after a few swirls in the glass giving us a medley of spice, warm cinnamon and peppers.

Fleshy attack dominated by ripe, crunchy, plump red fruit that brings depth and creaminess.

The fruity structure is gradually elongated by a chalky, mineral freshness that creates a lingering sensation of lightness and harmony on the finish.


Gosset-Grand-Millesime-Brut-2012

Gosset Grand Millesime Brut 2012


Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France

$100


The color is a bright and clear yellow gold. Initially the nose is very fresh and expressive with notes of hawthorn, lilac, wild white flowers and fruit notes such as pear, plum and Mirabelle.

The palate is straightforward with light notes of violet. Citrus fruit aromas dominate in this cuvée: lemon drops and grapefruit sustained by pear and plum.

On the palate, there is citrus, caviar and grapefruit.

The finish has a long, refreshing note with a hint of saltiness and lemon.

Blend: 67% Chardonnay, 33% Pinot Noir


Affordable-Holiday-Champagne-Toasts-From-France-Dom-Perignon-Vintage-2010

Dom Perignon Vintage 2010


Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, Franc

$200


The color is a bright and clear yellow gold. Initially the nose is very fresh and expressive with notes of hawthorn, lilac, wild white flowers and fruit notes such as pear, plum and Mirabelle.

The palate is straightforward with light notes of violet. Citrus fruit aromas dominate in this cuvée: lemon drops and grapefruit sustained by pear and plum.

On the palate, there is citrus, caviar and grapefruit.

The finish has a long, refreshing note with a hint of saltiness and lemon.

Blend: 67% Chardonnay, 33% Pinot Noir


The History Champagne


Though sparkling wines go back farther than their history in northern France, what we know as champagne got its start accidentally.

As a byproduct of the Champagne region’s climate, early frosts would send the fermenting yeast in bottle-aging wine into hibernation; when the temperatures warmed, the yeast would wake back up and begin fermenting the wine again, producing an excess of carbon dioxide and, in turn, bubbles.

These unexpectedly fizzing bottles were prone to bursting, earning the drink the spurious nickname “the devil’s wine.”

Legend has it that Benedictine monk Dom Pérignon is responsible for turning these errors into a true wine style in the 17th century (though he was, in fact, originally charged with the task of preventing the bubbles rather than perfecting them).

The style grew quickly in popularity, especially among the French upper class, and following Napoleon’s invasion of Russia, became a go-to for the Russian Tsars as well, cementing its status as an elite beverage.

As a byproduct of the Champagne region’s climate, early frosts would send the fermenting yeast in bottle-aging wine into hibernation; when the temperatures warmed, the yeast would wake back up and begin fermenting the wine again, producing an excess of carbon dioxide and, in turn, bubbles.

These unexpectedly fizzing bottles were prone to bursting, earning the drink the spurious nickname “the devil’s wine.”

Legend has it that Benedictine monk Dom Pérignon is responsible for turning these errors into a true wine style in the 17th century (though he was, in fact, originally charged with the task of preventing the bubbles rather than perfecting them).

The style grew quickly in popularity, especially among the French upper class, and following Napoleon’s invasion of Russia, became a go-to for the Russian Tsars as well, cementing its status as an elite beverage.


Affordable Holiday Champagne Toasts – The Types of Grapes


Designations by grape type are typically either Blanc de Blancs, which is made only from white grapes, or Blanc de Noirs, which are made exclusively from red grapes. Despite the name, Blanc de Noirs also appear white in the glass just like Blanc de Blanc, but the two styles do have subtly different flavor profiles.

“Blanc de Blancs tend to be more fresh, lean and bright while Blanc de Noirs tend to be richer, denser and more red fruit driven,” explains Charles-Armand de Belenet, general manager of Champagne Bollinger. However, not all champagnes are made purely from either red or white grapes—indeed, a blend of the two types is very common, so don’t be put off if you don’t see any “Blanc” on your bottle.

Unlike their still counterparts, rosé champagnes are typically made by one of two methods—either allowing the pressed grape juice to sit on the grape skins for a brief period before fermentation, imparting both color and richer berry notes, or by blending the pressed white wine with still red wine. “This adds structure and a unique complexity, intensity and fruitiness to the wine,” says de Belenet.


Affordable Holiday Champagne Toasts From The US


Winemakers in California have been producing sparkling wine since the 1860s. These sparkling wines were typically labeled as Champagne, along with some indication that they were made in California.

As it is today, for most consumers, all sparkling wines were ‘Champagnes,’ regardless of how or where they were made.

Advertisements in San Francisco trade journals from the nineteenth century make this clear – with the use of phrases like ‘Imported Champagnes’ and ‘Domestic Champagnes’ commonly seen.


2012 Domaine Carneros Le Rêve Blanc de Blancs


Carneros

$115


From estate-grown Chardonnay, this is a gorgeously crafted and aged sparkling wine that is persistently crisp in stone, green apple, nectarine and lemon.

Firm in lasting acidity, this has beautiful composure and an understated richness of crème brûlée and baked pineapple.

Aromas of pistachio biscotti and lemon clotted cream precede a palate that’s by turns generous and linear, with flavors of lemon marmalade, hard persimmons, apricots, and fresh-baked pie crust.

All with a subtle seam of nuttiness that’s balanced out by a hovering sense of honeysuckle and lemon blossom.


2009 Schramsberg J. Schram Brut


North Coast

$120


This sparkling wine opens with pleasant aromas of baked pear, lemon meringue and baked apple, enhanced by nuances of toffee and honey.

The rich palate features fruitful elements of baked pineapple and Meyer lemon, layered with crystallized ginger.

Good depth on the finish is driven by a backbone of lingering natural acidity.

Blend: 90% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir


2014 Frank Family Vineyards Blanc de Blancs


Carneros Napa Valley

$55


Rich and nutty whiffs of roasted cacao nibs and coffee beans dance with freshly dug mushrooms.

On the palate, this is rich and muscular, propulsive and generous with nectarines, apricots, and yellow apples, the finish sweeping in with nicely balanced acidity.

It has a beautiful bouquet marked by floral and citrus notes.

The palate is fresh and vibrant, with a rich structure and creaminess that brings balance and intensity to the flavors.

The refined finish shows remarkable length with excellent minerality and effervescent fruit that lingers.


Sea Smoke Cellars Sea Spray Blanc de Noirs 2012


Vintage Sparkling Wine from Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California

$100


The nuanced nose expresses aromas of lilies, fresh pastry and green fig. The wine enters the palate with energetic freshness and finishes with delightful length.

Hailing from one of the appellation’s most celebrated vineyards, this ever-so-slightly pink wine delivers high and tight aromas of pink grapefruit, bubblegum and yeast.

The creamy fizz shows ripe nectarine at first, then alkalinity, lime zest and grapefruit pith show up to keep the party in order.


Roederer Estate L’Ermitage 2015
Vintage Sparkling Wine


Anderson Valley, Mendocino, California

$60


A lovely, aromatic nose of autumn leaves, fresh cream and pears.

Medium-bodied with fresh, bright acidity. Citrus and nutmeg wash over the palate.

The tight mousse lifts the palate upward, while remaining grounded by notes of white pepper and candied ginger.

Yeasty finish.


2015 Fess Parker Fesstivity Blanc de Noirs


Anderson Valley, Mendocino, California

$50


Nectarines and other stone fruits jump from the glass and are joined by mineral, forest floor, and a touch of flowers, all preceding a palate lively with wild strawberries, cherries, mushrooms, and mineral.

Seems to be a slightly sweeter style for a brut, but it comes off as appropriately ripe, not overdone, and it grows more savory through the finish.


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