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Despite the sigh of relief we’ll all likely breathe the moment this year ends, we still need to celebrate both Christmas and the soon-after New Year’s Eve safely — that might mean buying some champagne online to toast at home this year. And if you’re not totally sure which one to grab or where to find it online, you’ve got plenty of options at various price points at your disposal. To help guide your shopping for any occasion asking for bubbles, we’ll dive into the best champagnes to get in 2020 as well as where to find peripherals and everything else you might need to toast the end of quite a year.
SKIP AHEAD How to buy champagne
Without further ado, here is our official list of the best Champagne and other sparkling wines to sip into the new year and beyond.
Best holiday champagnes
If you’re looking to splurge on your celebratory bottle(s) this year, there are several excellent options on this list but Krug is always a great place to start. Perhaps best known for its Grande Cuvée, a meticulous blend of 120-plus wines spanning more than an entire decade of choice harvests, each year’s edition showcasing the sixth-generation Champagne house’s supreme blending expertise (honed over the last 177 years).
The 168th Edition, which is crafted around the challenging-yet-wondrous 2012 harvest, is toasty with harmonious notes of deep cherry, marzipan and baking spice —it’s bone-dry with bursting, bright acidity.
It also happens to perfectly complement one cold-weather ingredient in particular, according to Chef Cassidee Dabney of Relais & Châteaux resort Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee.
“There is a unique umami flavor in mushrooms that some wines actually accentuate to the point of being unpleasant and long-lasting — however, Krug Grande Cuvée 168th Edition is a nearly perfect match,” she said of her Roasted Golden Beet with Mushrooms and Pine Bud Syrup recipe. “The delightful, well-integrated bubbles scrub your palate clean with each sip and the weight of the dish is matched by the power of this Champagne.”
The story behind Stuyvesant Champagne is just as exciting as the bubbles within the bottles, especially if you’re someone who appreciates the thoughtful dichotomy of tradition and contemporary perspective.
Brooklyn native (of Bedford-Stuyvesant, to be exact) Marvina Robinson, a longtime lover of Champagne, was inspired to collaborate with a Champagne producer to create her own exclusive label for her forthcoming Champagne bar concept, Coupette NYC. Robinson seeks to champion Black entrepreneurship, equity and diversity in the world of wine and great Champagne.
You can enjoy for yourself at home with one of two (or both) B. Stuyvesant cuvées: a non-vintage reserve Brut and a classic brut Rosé. While both are deliciously quaffable, the ultra-elegant, gold-hued Grand Réserve Brut is rife with florality on the nose and gingerbread on the palate.
If you’re looking for a strikingly complex and bone-dry Champagne from a standout year, look no further than this Blanc de Blancs (100-percent Chardonnay) from 2008, an exceptional vintage for the Champagne region.
Larmandier-Bernier follows organic and biodynamic winemaking processes — which can mean many things but, in short, indicate the grapes have been grown and harvested sustainably and nothing has been added to or removed from the final product — this translates to unadulterated expression of terroir and is as close as it gets to licking the chalky soil of the region (in the best way).
The Longitude Blanc de Blancs is full of just-ripe red berry notes, earthy undertones and pointed minerality. Pair this with seafood or sip it on its own.
This top-rated and bestselling rosé Champagne might just be your new go-to. Marc-Hébrart’s Cuvée Rosé, a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, is truly exquisite — especially for a bottle that can usually be found for $50 or less.
It’s an easy-drinking wine that’s wonderfully complex, bone dry and velvety on the palate with pronounced minerality and notes of creamy vanilla, freshly-picked flowers, red berries and toasted nuts. If you’re buying this bottle for any reason, you’ll want to grab a couple — it’s a perfect rosé Champagne for kicking off apéritif and continuing to drink into your dinner’s main course.
Copper in color with round, bursting flavors of perfectly-ripe and caramelized pineapple and stone fruits, baking spices and praline, this demi-sec Champagne is a perfect representation of the sweeter end of the Champagne spectrum.
It’s got a touch of sweetness that’s far from cloying and, thanks to its higher sugar content, a wine like this can be paired with a wide variety of desserts.
Champagne, put simply
Champagnes and their sparkling cousins from around the world might be reserved in some households for special occasions but, once in a while, you’ll come across a bottle that’s all on its own worthy of celebration. In fact, there are countless incredible Champagne houses — along with producers behind the many alternative sparkling wines you’ll find on shelves, such as Lambrusco, Prosecco, Cava, and more — who’ll prove with one sip that “becoming a person who considers bubbles to be a regular, everyday habit” should top your list of 2021 resolutions. Before we get into our top picks of the year, here are a few things to keep in mind as you browse these champagnes.
Champagnes follow a general sweetness scale: The classification on the label will tell you how dry or sweet the wine is. For reference, here are the terms you’ll encounter, from driest to sweetest: Brut Nature, Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry, Dry, Demi-Sec and Doux. It can be confusing but just remember that anything Brut and below will be dry and anything Extra Dry and above will have anywhere from a touch of sweetness to, well, a lot of sweetness.
French champagne versus sparkling wine
Champagne can only come from its eponymous region in France and it must follow strict guidelines to bear the name on any label. It is made using the “Méthode Champenoise” or Traditional Method, which is defined by its secondary fermentation taking place inside the bottle as opposed to taking place within a large tank.
Other sparkling wines from around the world can be made using either method.
Champagne can be made from a select handful of specific grape varieties, the main three being: Chardonnay (a white grape), Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier (black grapes)
- A Champagne made exclusively from Chardonnay grapes is called a Blanc de Blancs (white from white grapes)
- While a Champagne made from 100-percent black grapes is called a Blanc de Noirs (white from black grapes).
If the bottle has neither of these terms, it’s safe to assume that it’s a blend of both white and black grapes.
The value of Sparkling wine
Just because a bottle of sparkling wine doesn’t say “Champagne” on its label doesn’t mean it’s not as good as Champagne. If you’re looking to expand your palate, save some cash or both, check out some of our alternative recommendations above.
Where to find the year’s best champagnes and champagnes accessories
Where to find Champagne online and more great options
- Champagne Duval-Leroy Précieuses Parcelles “Clos des Bouveries” Extra Brut Millésime
- Champagne Boizel Brut Millésime 2007
- Fréderic Savart Premier Cru "L'Ouverture" Blanc de Noirs (100% Pinot Noir)
- Pierre Péters Blanc de Blancs "Cuvée Réserve" Brut Champagne
- Veuve Clicquot La Grand Dame
- Dom Pérignon “P2” Brut Champagne, 2002
- Champagne Grongnet Blanc De Blancs NV
- Champagne Drappier Brut Nature
- Jacques Selosse “Cuvée Initial” Blanc De Blancs
- Besserat de Bellefon Champagne Brut Rosé Cuvée des Moines
Champagne alternatives: Sparkling wines
- Nyetimber Brut Rosé Multi-Vintage, West Sussex, England
- Eric Kamm Auxerrois Pét-Nat 2019, Alsace, France
- Chandon étoile Brut, Napa Valley, California
- Venturini Baldini Montelocco Lambrusco, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
- Coiled Wines 2018 Rizza Sparkling Riesling, Boise, Idaho
- Kramer Vineyards 2017 Brut, Yamhill-Carlton, Oregon
- Ca’ del Bosco Franciacorta Cuvée Prestige Extra Brut, Lombardy, Italy
- Raventós i Blanc, Cava Rosé de Nit, Penedes, Spain
- Mionetto Prosecco Rosé DOC Millesimato, Veneto/Friuli, Italy
- Amirault Crémant de Loire Brut “Les Quarterons,” Loire Valley, France
Best Champagne glasses for the occasion
- NUDE Stem Zero Masterglass
- Zalto Denk’Art Universal Glass or Denk’Art Champagne Glass
- Grassl Liberté
- Gabriel-Glas “One for All” Universal Wine Glass, StandArt or Gold Edition
- Made In White Wine Glasses
- Ferm Living Ripple Champagne Saucers
- Chambong Handblown Champagne Shooters (because why not?)
Best Champagne clubs and experiences
- VIVANT’s “Bottling Magic in Champagne” or “The Roots of Champagne” Live Tasting Experiences
- The Sip Champagne and Sparkling Wine Subscription
- Champagne Fleur de Miraval Zoom Tasting with Empire State of Wine (Three-Bottle Bundle)
- Comité Champagne Online Champagne Courses
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