Written by 12:11 am Nino's Column

Champagne Wishes

Very few beverages epitomize luxury like Champagne. Since the method and geography were first defined in 1662, Champagne has been associated with nobility and royalty.
For non-royals, especially here in the states, Champagne has long been associated with celebration of life’s most memorable moments: engagements, weddings, the birth of children, a big promotion or winning an NBA championship, a practice borrowed from Formula One racing; I’ll have you know!
In all of my years of studying this magical elixir, visiting the world’s iconic Champagne houses and curating wine lists for hotels and restaurants, including my own, I’ve come to realize that Champagne is not only meant for society’s upper crust. Nor is it only for special occasions. In fact, from a foodpairing standpoint, few beverages match Champagnes versatility. It’s easily enjoyed with everything from pheasant to fried chicken. Don’t get me wrong, there is a profound difference between a prestige cuvée and the custom-labeled bottle that was on the table at your niece’s wedding.
With over 100 Champagne houses and over 19,000 vine-growing producers, Champagne is a topic you could devote your life to understanding. Most of us just want to be able to order a good bottle, when the occasion requires or the mood arises. To help you navigate the bubbles, so to speak, here are my three favorite Champagnes, each at a different price point.
Dom Pérignon
Dom, as it is casually referred, is produced by the Champagne house Moët & Chandon and is their prestige cuvée. It is named after a Benedictine monk who, contrary to popular legend, did not invent Champagne, however, made numerous advances in Champagne making. This is definitely a special occasion bottle for most. One sip and you will understand why, in most restaurants in Miami including mine, a bottle of Dom Perignon will list for about $250-$500 depending on the vintage.
Veuve Clicquot
In 1772, Philippe Clicquot-Muiron founded the house which would eventually become, Veuve Clicquot. Madame Clicquot is credited with helping to create the riddling rack, which helped make mass production possible. A bottle of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label is an excellent bottle of Champagne at a moderate price, say $100-$200 depending on the vintage. A bottle of Yellow Label is perfectly suitable for most of life’s Champagne moments.
Tattinger is a famous Champagne house established in 1734. Due to its size and a number of other factors, Tattinger, which was briefly acquired by a US corporation but later bought back by the Tattinger family, is able to offer their Champagnes at reasonable prices. Taittinger Brut La Francaise is a very good Champagne, receiving 90 ratings from both Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast. You will see it on most wine lists for about $60-$80. That makes this my pick for your Tuesday night “I feel like bubbles” selection.
So, if you haven’t ordered a bottle of bubbly in some time, do so tonight and remember the words of Mark Twain,”Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right.”

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