Nothing against sparkling wines from other parts of the world, but there is something special about true Champagne. Only bubbles from that small region in France can be labeled as such, but that exclusivity comes at a price. Here are three worth the splurge, if you can manage it:
2006 Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage, $78
Vintage Champagne is made with grapes from a single year, and only when the quality merits it. Founded in 1743, 2006 was only the 71st time Moet (the house that brings you Dom Perignon) has declared a vintage. The aromas are a mix of gooseberry, vanilla, citrus and mineral. On the palate, creamy stone fruit is backed by ripe lemon and lime with a bit of slate and a brash of acidity on the finish.
Krug Grande Cuvee Brut, $205
One of the most expensive non-vintage bubbles is also one of the best Champagnes, period. It opens with a rich mousse of pinpoint bubbles that carry aromas of fresh baked bread, dried fruit and touches of earth and crushed stone. A blend of 183 wines from 12 vintages, the flavors are Chablis-like with mineral laced brioche, citrus, hazelnut and honey. A sublime experience.
2004 Veuve Cliquot Le Grand Dame Brut Rose, $300
Cliquot's Yellow Label is one of its most popular house styles, but Le Grand Dame takes things to another level. A Pinot Noir-heavy blend, the grapes come from eight Grand Cru vineyards. It's a smooth, full-bodied wine that retains remarkable elegance and balance. Intense red fruit aromas are colored by mineral and ginger, while silky red currant and strawberry flavors caress the palate.