A quick drive by of bubbly stuff for the New Year. All but the last are pretty widely available.
Under $15: Gruet. Nathalie and Laurent Gruet, the
sparkling wine geniuses of Alberquerque, New Mexico. I can't think of
anything else of this quality in this price range.
$20-30: Domaine Hubert Clavelin "Brut-Comté" Cremant du Jura.
Stick a bottle of this into a tasting of typical NV Champagnes and this
will pass muster without a murmur. It's 100% chardonnay, and made in
exactly the same way as the real stuff, and tastes that way, too.
$30-$60: The truth is, a non-vintage bottle from almost any of the Grande Marque houses will do. I'm partial to Louis Roederer, but the standard is pretty high across the board.
Lotto winners and hedge fund managers: Hard to argue with Krug. But for about $175, Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle achieves a similar luxe style. Eb at the Asheville Wine Market says it was the hit of a tasting that included Dom and some other high-end stuff.
Geeky: Champagne Aubry Nombre d'Or Sablé Blanc des Blancs. Note: I've never seen, much less tasted, a bottle of this stuff. But I really, really want to. I fear I don't get enough Arbanne and Petit Meslier in my regular diet. Barring that, an old favorite: Champagne José Michel, Pinot Meunier. Proudly made from Champagne's underdog grape, and just delicious. I think Josh still has some on the shelf.
PS: I'll be pouring at Table Wine on New Year's Eve; not sure yet what the lineup will be, but I'm confident it will be great. Noon to 5 p.m. Stop by and say hello.