Do something special for Mom on her special day-after all, she gave birth to you. (How many hours of painful labor was it?) Pop open a celebratory bottle of Champagne for your mom this Sunday and make it the good stuff-the real deal from that small region of France. Yes, the Euro is romping all over the dollar so it's a wee bit expensive, but isn't your mom worth it? (How many hours of labor, again?) We tasted through a bevy of true Champagnes with one ringer thrown in for fun. The results were surprisingly close-here are our top picks:
1999 Argyle Brut, $19.99
The only one not from France, this Oregon sparkler was pegged by more than one taster as the most classically correct Champagne. High praise indeed. It offers lovely fresh bread dough and green apple aromas with an edge of vanilla. Very effervescent with particularly tiny bubbles, the flavor emphasis is on creamy peach with ripe lemon coming through on the finish. Fine quality at an excellent price.
Duval-Leroy Brut, $28
Lightly herbal aromas are backed by soft yeast, violet, honeysuckle and crisp apple. A very pretty Champagne with a lush, creamy texture and spicy apple and berry fruit. The citrusy backbone complements a lengthy finish that ends with light notes of honey. A very good buy for true Champagne
Nicolas Feuillatte Premier Cru Rosé, $38.50
Presents tart cherry, pear and rose petal aromas wrapped around a soft earthiness with touches of basil and pomegranate. Rich, creamy berries, melon and cherry fruit flavors dominate in a dryer style Champagne with a nice intensity. The pretty pink hues are a nice plus.
Pol Roger Extra Cuvee de Reserve Brut, $41
Opens with round and ripe bright fruit aromas with a lightly nutty touch of yeast and just a fresh hint of mushroom. Big apple and honeyed citrus flavors are complemented by a nicely rich mouth feel with notes of fresh baked bread at the back. Vibrant acidity comes through especially on the finish in the richly styled sparkler. A favorite of Winston Churchill, who presumably shared a glass or two with his mother.
This Week's Panel: Fawn Caveney, Tastevin ; David Kirkpatrick, Boise Co-op; Kyle Marker, Bardenay; Karen McMillin, Idaho Wine Merchant; Kathleen Neville, The Milkyway; Kevin Settles, Bardenay.