Updated: Nov 15, 2019
If you've followed my @grapechic adventures during NY Champagne Week, it would come as no surprise that I've been inspired by the Champagne world. My week started at La Fête du Champagne (courtesy of the team at Vineyard Brands) and ended with a Ruinart & Krug comparative dinner at Morrell Wine Bar & Café. For those not familiar with La Fête, it's a grand tasting that offers over 100 different champagnes to taste! Over and over I was blown away by the range of the producer's portfolios, and it made me want to spread the word. As the holidays are quickly approaching, I wanted to throw together a comprehensive champagne guide for any budget. Whether you're hosting or gifting, I'm here to make sure you're buying GOOD WINE!
1. Champagne Delamotte NV Brut $49.99
As the fifth oldest house in Champagne and sister company to the famed Champagne Salon, Delamotte offers some of the best value on the market. Round and fresh with delicate notes of white flowers, lemon zest, almonds and brioche. This wine is ready to drink now so you don't need to wait for a special occasion to pop this bubbly! Find this wine for $49.99 on wine.com.
This champagne is made entirely from Pinot Noir and 70% of it is vinified in small barrels. These bubbles are marked by their gorgeous golden color and pronounced notes of red berries, strawberry pastry, and toasty hazelnut. Expect the perfect balance between structure and finesse. Find this at The Wine Cellerage.
3. Pierre Peters "Rosé For Albane" Cuvée $73.99
Coming from an Estate that used to strictly make Blanc de Blancs, this rosé is made from Chardonnay blended with saignée Pinot Meunier. Complete elegance follows through from the nose to the palate with notes of blood orange, cherries, and crushed white flowers. The mouthfeel is both creamy and fresh, and for $73.99, it would make a great gift for the special person in your life! This one is a little harder to track down, but I found it at K&L Wine Merchants.
4. Jacquesson - Cuvée 741 Extra Brut NV $84.96
With a terroir-heavy focus, 2 brothers created the perfect blend for their 741 cuvée. Although the grapes were mostly made by the tricky 2013 vintage, you can be rest assured this wine didn't take a hit. Luminous with notes of dried stone fruits, toasty brioche, and fresh pear, you can enjoy now or store for a few. Buy from Astor Wines for $84.96.
5. Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs 2007 $129
Impress your friends & family with a wine from the oldest Champagne House founded in 1729. Chardonnay shines in this Blanc de Blancs- 75% from the Côte des Blancs (Chouilly, Le Mesnil, Oger, and Avize) and 25% from the northern slopes of Montagne de Reims. Intensity at it's finest, this champagne reveals layers of ripe citrus and green stone fruits, slate and crushed chalk, fig leaf, and a floral bouquet. 9 years on its lees brings a round autolytic texture and additional notes of bready yeast. Find this one at Morrell Wine for $129.
I know what you're thinking...another Blanc de Blancs? The answer is YES! Coming from the Côte de Blancs, this family-run property encompasses just 8.3 hectares of vines. With the average age of the vine surpassing 55 years, you can expect this champagne to be concentrated and seductive. Powerful notes of rose, honey, lemon pith, and toast are balanced by a marked acidity and an extremely long finish. It's worth every single part of its price tag at $210. Find it at Morrel Wine.
As Krug states, "a Krug vintage is a blend of the most expressive wines of a single year enhanced by a stay of over ten years in the cellars." 2004 in particular spent 12 years in the cellars and is a blend of 39% Chardonnay, 37% Pinot Noir, and 24% Pinot Meunier. Harmony and finesse are the best descriptors for a vintage that had a chilly start, but beautiful weather in the months before harvest. Lemon custard, puff pastry, candied citrus, and ginger give way to a long and elegant finish. Be sure to tell everyone that this vintage is the last of the second trilogy in the history of the house. Purchase this at Morrell Wine for the current price of $259.