Holiday Shopping Guide: 13 Great Luxe Champagnes
The following Vintage Champagnes cannot be beat; some have pedigree that you'll have heard of before; some will be new to you, and that's part of their appeal, and some will be pink. Each will be a perfect companion for daily holiday breakfast or brunch.
Here, then is a list of favorites in order of price-certainly not in order of quality.
Henriot Cuvée des Enchanteleurs 1996
Some say this is the freshest of Champagnes; that just might be true. Its aromas are fresh fruit, with a touch of caramel and spice ($125).
Billecart-Salmon 1990 Grande Cuvée.
Its tight, slowly rising bubbles brings out this wine's toast and red fruit aromas, followed in the taste by full-bodied power and a lengthy finish ($125).
The toasty aroma is followed here by cherry and citrus zest in a bracing, racy structure that finishes almost never ($125).
Nicolas Feuillate Palmes d'Or Brut 1999
White flowers and honeysuckle aromas start this off and end with a powerful, clean, lengthy finish ($130).
Vranken 1999 Diamant Blanc Millesime
Delicate pear and apple blossoms come forth and the structure is equally delicate, as is the cool, crisp finish ($140).
G.H. Mumm 1998 Brut (R Lalou Cuvée Prestige)
From Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, this is a deep, full bubbly with yeasty aromas and an endless finish ($150).
Philipponnat Clos des Goisses 1999 Brut
Mostly Pinot Noir, this is a single-vineyard Champagne. It's amber and with a hint of rose petals as well as almonds, plus it has a refreshingly mineral character ($155).
Moët & Chandon 2002 Dom Pérignon
This familiar thirst quencher delivers dried fruit flavors and finishes off with toasty yeast, the way Champagnes of old always did ($200).
Perrier-Jouët Fleur de Champagne Rosé 2002
Strawberries and more strawberries are presented here, with delicate balance and a clean finish ($299).
Dom Ruinart Rosé 1996
This is a wine of delicate, red fruit aromas with the taste of licorice and citrus. Its finish is like a spice island ($325).
Salon 1997 Blanc de Blancs
Perfumed with smoky, yeasty aromas and tasting like minerals and flowers, this wine has great depth to it ($330).
Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Brut Rosé 2003
Strawberries appear here, too, but with an added lemon zest and undertow of yeastiness for a most complex bubbly ($350).
If you're sorry that the twelve days have gone by, and you need one more burst of bubbling joy, try Krug.
Krug 1996 Clos d'Amonnay
There's a hint of your grandmother's closet in the aroma and the flavor of lemon/citrus in the taste. It finishes like something from one of those mineral rich streams that bottled water boasts about. The wine is powerful and delightful ($2,250).