A glass of champagne is simple, elegant and timeless. We live by the motto that a glass of bubbly is perfect for any occasion, whether you’re at a classy soirée, a romantic dinner or simply having an evening home alone, a glass of liquid gold sets an elevated tone and makes every moment feel special.
“I only drink Champagne on two occasions, when I am in love and when I am not.” –Coco Chanel
Sadly, Champagne producers have had a difficult time mostly due to the Covid crisis. Sales plummeted across the board for several reasons including restaurant closures and uncertain economic conditions in many nations around the world. Because champagne is viewed by many as a celebratory beverage, many consumers put their bubbly consumption on hold.
“Come quickly, I am tasting the stars!” –Dom Pérignon
Champagne producers are still releasing their latest cuvées, many of them from vintages from 6-8 years ago. Most of these wines are special offerings companies have been producing for decades, and the overall quality is first-rate in most instances. In the spirit that better days are ahead, (and because champagne needs as much good news as possible these days) here are several of the latest releases of bubbly that you should buy, drink and repeat.
“Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right.” –Mark Twain
Louis Roederer Blanc de Blancs 2013
Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs forms the backbone of this still-young vintage. Crisp apple and ripe lemon flavors go together with a taut, nervy texture that has a steely edge. Medium-full with excellent concentration. Very good acidity and complexity. The wine needs to age, so drink from 2021. Enjoy over the next 2-5 years. $85
Pol Roger Blanc de Blancs 2013
Crisp apples and tight minerality come together in a satisfyingly ripe wine. It is young, showing its fruity side and only just moving to its future complexity. But this will be a fine, structured Champagne. Wonderful finesse, classy as always from this great producer. A touch lighter than the outstanding 2012, but another excellent Blanc de Blancs. Drink over the next 3-7 years, perhaps longer. $135
Philipponnat Blanc de Noirs 2012
An outstanding demonstration of Philipponnat’s consummate expertise in blending and vinifying Pinot Noir. Aromas of Anjou pear, yellow plum and yellow orchid. Medium-full with lovely harmony, very good acidity and excellent persistence. While offering impressive richness, this displays a great deal of charm and finesse, and is more refined than many examples of Blanc de Noirs. On the palate the attack is fresh and generous, with notes of stewed fruits and creamy-textured pear. This 100% Pinot Noir cuvée combines vinosity, fruit and a wonderful, persistent minerality that is very characteristic of the vintage. Enjoy over the next 5-7 years. $80
Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 2012
The prestige cuvée, first created in 1962 and released in 1972 to mark the 200th anniversary of the house, is a homage to its first female boss, Barbe-Nicole Clicquot-Ponsardin, who took over in 1805. La Grande Dame has always been based predominantly on Pinot Noir, precisely because Madame Clicquot believed that “the finest white wines come from red grapes.”
Light yellow; aromas of plum, lemon peel, quince and orange blossom. Medium-full with very good to excellent concentration. Lengthy, elegant finish with very good acidity and freshness. Impressive complexity, lovely Pinot Noir character, and beautiful overall harmony – no one element stands out in this cuvée. Enjoy over the next 7-12 years. With a slight preponderance of Pinot Noir in the blend, this wine is rich and impressive. It is still young, with a crisp edge that makes the fruit shine. Apple and citrus flavors are integrated into a mineral vein. Outstanding. $150
“A single glass of champagne imparts a feeling of exhilaration. The nerves are braced; the imagination is stirred; the wits become more nimble.” –Winston Churchill
Champagne makes every occasion special, but don’t let that limit the times you serve bubbles. There’s no reason a weeknight happy hour or meet-up with friends can’t be worthy of champagne. Pop that bottle of bubbles when you’re home alone watching Dateline just because you are fabulous and deserve it. Cheers!