Promise her anything, but give her Krug, the Editors’ favorite Champagne.




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KRIS PRASAD is Wine Editor of THE NIBBLE. Mere alcohol doesn’t thrill him at all, but he does get a kick from Champagne.



December 2005
Updated December 2008

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Wine

Champagne For Toasting the New Year...

Or Any Occasion That Requires Good Champagnes

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble: How’s a person to decide what to pour on New Year’s Eve? Even for those with no money concerns, there’s the decision over Dom Perignon...Roederer Cristal...Veuve Clicquot Grand Dame—“the usual suspects.” 

Here’s what we’re pouring this New Year’s Eve. We start out with the big guns, but by the time you get to the bottom of the list, you’ll find lovely bubbly for just ten percent of the cost of our first wine.


Pol Roger Cuvée Winston Churchill 1995: $200

To drink a ten-year-old vintage Champagne from a great house usually is infanticide—fifteen years is a minimum to to let the wine evolve, preferably twenty. But 1995 was warm weather by Champagne’s standards (the warmest in recent years until 2003). Thus the fruit at this stage of development is neither tight nor reserved. Even though Cuvée Winston Churchill has an unusually high percentage of Pinot Noir in the blend (80%) it does not have the mouth feel of a Blancs de Noir. It is instead lively and agile with broad yeasty and nutty flavors, and a hint of red currants in the finish. Supremely elegant.

Krug Grande Cuvée: $150

Among the great Champagnes, Krug is THE NIBBLE Editors’ favorite. It is the only Champagne Bubbleshouse acknowledged to make a non-vintage, The Grand Cuvée, that is as great as any tête de cuvée. The Grand Cuvée can be a blend of as many as 10 vintages and is made of all three Champagne grape varietals (Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir). A deep straw gold color with brioche and peach aromas predominating, Krug is sumptuous, creamy and intensely flavorful, vortexing on the palate into a seamless long finish.

Krug is definitely not a sipping Champagne but one that is best savored with food—any food, since there are several complex facets to this Champagne that make it so versatile.

Photo by Min Broughton | IST.

Pierre Peters NV Brut, Grand Cru Reserve $40

This is a boutique Champagne made by a small grower, which means that the production is limited and you will have to search it out at fine wine merchants. We recently tasted this cuvée, which was released in Fall 2005 with base wine from the 2001 vintage, and were highly impressed by its wonderfully aromatic, non-oaky and non-tropical aromas which instead leaned to the lime and keffir leaf spectrum. Medium-bodied with crisp fruit, excellent depth and a fairly long finish, this Champagne is an ideal starter to kick off festivities. Austin Powers would call it “dreamy.”

Roederer Estate L'Ermitage Brut 1999, Anderson Valley $40

The American venture French Roederer, this is a fine American Champagne-style wine with riper flavors than you would find in a typical Champagne. Rich, slightly leesy with density in the mid-palate, it is full without being heavy. More spicy than the Peters Champagne CorkBrut, it lingers long on the palate as well; but here the ripeness of fruit asserts itself in the finish.

Photo of cork by Miroslav Sári?ka|  IST.

Bellavista Cuvée Brut $35

This sparkler has a beautiful fine bead and a nose tinged with apple blossoms and toast. Delicious, crisp and lemony, but not acidic, it is made from a blend of Chardonnay (over 70%) and Pinot Nero (30%). This is easily the best sparkling wine that we have tasted stateside from Italy's best sparkling wine region, Franciacorta, in Lombardy.

Llopart Leopardi Vintage 1999 Brut: $22  

We have mentioned this wine in another article, but it remains the best Spanish sparkling wine we have tasted this year. Llopart Leopardi is a Cava, which refers to sparkling wines made in Catalonia on the northeast coast of Spain (the other non-Catalonian Spanish sparklers, about 7% of total production, are not entitled to the Cava designation). The wine is straw-gold in color with a gorgeous bead of tiny bubbles. It is fragrant with the barest hint of citrus peel: on the palate yeast-bread flavors combine with melon-like fruit and hints of toasted nuts. This wine is elegant and dry with a fairly long finish. It is rare to find a Cava that combines such finesse without sacrificing intensity. It is made from the regular Cava grape varietals of Xarello, Parellada and Macabeo and also includes 15% Chardonnay—which may account for the slight creaminess and extra heft that is not found in most other Cavas

Argyle Brut 2000 $20

This sparkling wine from Oregon is sleek, racy and delightfully fruity in the best sense of the word. The flavors are complex with hints of quince and nut-bread. Very nicely balanced, this is not only is this a great value; it has breed which is rare in a wine so well priced. This particular vintage has near equal amounts of chardonnay and pinot noir.

Pol Roger was Sir Winston Churchill’s favorite Champagne.  In the year of his passing, the house put a black mourning band around the neck of its vintage bottles as an homage; and subsequently named its tête de cuvée “Cuvée Winston Churchill” in his honor.


Pol Roger


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