Food & Drink » Winesipper

Simply Champagne


The panel typically ends the year with a celebratory tasting of sparkling wines—but this time around, we really upped the ante with three amazing Champagnes. Yes, they are very pricey, but they're also worth it. If Santa didn't come through for you, gift yourself and ring in the New Year right with one of these exceptional bottles.

Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose, $106

A blend of the three classic Champagne grape varieties—Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir, the latter vinified as a red wine to give this cuvée its color. The richest of the trio, it leans towards red fruits on the nose with strawberry and raspberry. The palate is a lively mix of berry with hints of pear and peach. Touches of quince, pomegranate and mushroom come through on the long finish.

Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs, $98

Blanc de Blanc means white from white, so this Champagne is 100 percent Chardonnay. The result is a sparkler with an intense nose of bright citrus that gives way to floral peach, brioche, almond and an intriguing hint of cumin. High-toned stone fruit flavors lead off, followed by lemon custard and pineapple. The racy acidity turns round and creamy on the finish. This would be great with oysters or caviar.

2007 Taittinger Comtes de Champagnes Blanc de Blancs, $201

Vintage wines such as this elegantly complex and refined prestige cuvee are made only in exceptional years. This 2007 is a mix of lime, apple cider, croissant and buttery popcorn on the nose. The ethereal palate offers apple, tangelo, fresh baked baguette and lemon zest.