Streams

Please Explain: Champagne and Other Sparkling Wines

Friday, December 28, 2007

What makes champagne different from other sparkling wines? Find out how the good stuff is made, and how to get the best sparkling wine at the price you can afford. Michael Aaron is the chairman of Sherry-Lehmann, the 73 year-old Park Avenue wine and spirits shop. Karen Page is co-author (with her husband Andrew Dornenburg) of several books, including What to Drink with What You Eat.

Here are some sparkling wines Karen recommends (prices are approximate):
Kluge Blanc de Blanc, Virginia - $30
Dellamotte Brut, France - $50
Gruet Brut, New Mexico - less than $15
Iron Horse Brut Rose, California - $50
Rumball Sparkling Shiraz, Australia - $30
Inniskillin Sparkling Ice Wine, Canada - $75
Poochi Poochi Sparkling Sake, Japan - $12
Chateau Frank Celebre, NY - $20

Guests:

Michael Aaron and Karen Page

Comments [3]

Sara from Long Island City

In the victorian and edwardian eras gentlemen carried a small silver wisk next to their watch fob. From what I can tell it's sole purpose was to be of use to ladies who wanted to keep their champagne extra bubbly by placing the silver wisk in their glass. Similarly I have a belgian friend who puts a silver spoon in his champagne bottle to keep it bubbly when he doesn't drink all of it right away. Is there any scientific evidence that this works, or in your experience any other traditions like these?

Dec. 28 2007 02:06 PM
Demetri from Brooklyn

I am having a korean bulgogi dinner on New Years. Can the guests recommend a champagne which will pair with such a strong food?

Dec. 28 2007 01:55 PM
Doug from Norwalk, CT

I was lucky enough to find a great little retail shop in CT and it turned my understanding of Champagne inside out. They turned my wife and I on to 'grower' Champagnes, small family estate bottled Champagnes from producers such as Gimonnet, Gaston-Chiquet, Vilmart, and others. We're amazed how we used to over-pay for large production brands that honestly don't have half the character and diversity of these Champagnes. We love nothing more than pouring these for friends who swore they loved a certain orange label Champagne....and then realized that's because they were never exposed to these gems. It strikes us how most Americans -which used to include us- have very little understanding of Champagne, outside of marketed brands. We're happy we no longer fit into that category, because Champagne is so diverse and interesting, and good with sooooo many foods, that it's become the mainstay of our wine-drinking.

Dec. 28 2007 12:57 PM

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