This week is less of a cocktail and more my favorite cocktail. Plain champagne. Although there is nothing plain about champagne, even the bad ones.
I’ve always liked champagne. Champagne has had a bit of a revival over the past 20 years here in #merica. Long ago Cary Grant and Debra Kerr clinked glasses over the Atlantic and Humprhey Bogart met Audrey Hepburn for a rendezvous and oh so many other black and white champagne moments where it was like a glass of wine, elevated but accessible.
Sometime between that golden age and the 80s Dynasty shoulder pads, champagne became aloof, a drink for an occasion but not for a Friday night. What’s weird is this didn’t happen overseas. They still drank champagne as a cocktail something to order on any old night.
Usually over here we’re following the old countries’ lead. We lack the confidence to know what we do is just fine as well. But this one we went out on a limb and maybe that’s why we follow the old countries. We never should have made champagne something only used to toast a moment. I’m glad it’s back in heavy rotation.
So my thoughts on how to enjoy champagne at most pricpoints:
Affordable: La Marca
This is a great champagne, rather prosecco. If you didn’t know only sparkling wines made in the region of Champagne France are allowed to call their wine champagne. Everywhere else it is called sparkling wine or prosecco etc also usually based on a regional distinction. In the end they’re all sparkling wines. The labeling on wines is an artform on its own and incredibly fussy.
Anyway, I love this prosecco. It’s good on its own or mixed in a cocktail. I don’t like using really expensive champagne to make a champagne cocktail. It’s a waste of high quality champagne to mix it with OJ. This is one of the few that walks that line between great on its own or in a drink.
My Favorite: Veuve
This is hands down my favorite. It’s pricier but it’s on sale all the time at my market and wine store. I keep my eyes open and grab it when I see it hit the $45 range which it does often. The Rose is great too. And their higher labels are outstanding as well if you want to go upscale. I’ll mix it sometimes but usually I drink it pure.
The Grande Dame: Dom Perignon
It may sound cliché but yes Dom is as good as the folklore says. And anyone who tries to tell you otherwise doesn’t know WTF they are talking about. So if you get a chance have some…and NOT in a cocktail!
There are so many others Cristal and Armand de Brignac. I argue Armand gets it’s mark up from its owner. It’s not better than Veuve in my opinion. But on top of that there are countless mid range $20-$80 bottles that are outstanding. Just keep your eyes open and ask questions.
Don’t be intimitdated. Most wine enthusiasts and store owners are just that enthusiastic and want to share information. That’s not to say you won’t find a condescending snob in the store but I bet my life that person is a customer and not the owner. Ignore that person and find someone who knows what they are doing and does it with joy.
Cheers, my dears!