Bubbly toast: Tips to en­joy a year’s worth of cham­pagne

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE -

The half-dozen bot­tles on this list will make your cel­e­bra­tions — an­nual or daily — quite sat­is­fy­ing. A few are in lim­ited sup­ply.And four will cost you $40 or less. (The scale: three stars, ex­cep­tional; two stars, ex­cel­lent.) Prices are ap­prox­i­mate. Check wine searcher. com to ver­ify avail­abil­ity, or ask a fa­vorite wine store to or­der through a dis­trib­u­tor.

Pierre Pail­lard Brut Rose Bouzy

Three stars Cham­pagne, France, $53 The salmon-tinted fizz shoots a beam of red-berry fla­vors across the palate, as if the bub­bles are ea­ger to es­cape the glass. Then its long and sat­is­fy­ing fin­ish keeps it firmly an­chored earth­ward, in Cham­pagne.

Jean Ves­selle Rose Demi-Sec Frian­dise

Three stars Cham­pagne, France, $48 This ever-so-slightly sweet rose is fruitier than most cham­pagne, yet not as fruity as New World sparkling typ­i­cally gets. Don’t think of it as sweet. (Demi-sec lit­er­ally means “half-dry” but is of­ten rather sweet.) The slight resid­ual sugar is kept in check by the lively acid­ity, and this wine would be a ter­rific part­ner to Asian cuisines or light fruit desserts.

Charles de Casanove Cazanove Brut

Two and a half-stars Cham­pagne, France, $30 (great­value) Wow. What a ter­rific cham­pers forthe money.It’s an ex­cel­lent in­tro­duc­tion to what makes cham­pagne spe­cial, and those al­ready fa­mil­iar with the genre will ap­pre­ci­ate its so­phis­ti­ca­tion. Widely avail­able, it’s the value find of the year.

Thierry Tri­o­let Grande Re­serve Brut

Two and a half-stars Cham­pagne, France, $40 (great­value) Toasty and rich, this is a nice cham­pagne to have with medium-weight poul­try or fish dishes.

Roland Cham­pion Cu­veed’ Aramis Brut

Two and a half-stars Cham­pagne, France, $35 (great­value) This is a pow­er­ful cham­pagne, show­ing the red-berry fruit of its red grapes — pinot me­u­nier and pinot noir— and the chalky min­er­al­ity of the re­gion. De­light­ful, and a ter­rific value.

R. Dumont & Fils Brut

Two stars Cham­pagne, France, $35 (great­value) From the south­ern part of Cham­pagne, where most of the grapes are sold to the ma­jor houses, comes this beau­ti­fully made brut that of­fers true cham­pagne char­ac­ter at a rather low price, mak­ing it at­trac­tive for restau­rants to serve by the glass. — Dave McIn­tyre

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