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Speaking of Champagne, what's your favorite?

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  • eating out Jun 9, 2004 04:33 PM
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As said in my earlier post, my most favorite champagne, and the only expensive champagne I've had, is Henriot Cuvee des Enchanteleurs, 1988. I find this champagne to be utterly delicious. I prefer this to any alcoholic beverage, and I think it's the start of a beautiful, and expensive, relationship with champagne. So, what are some other truly delicious bottles of bubbly? Thanks!

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  1. It's been awhile so, I can't provide an exact name/vintage but for a change of pace I enjoy a nice rose champagne.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bk

      The Billecart-Salmon is superb, one of my favourites.

      1. re: cap
        t
        TrishUntrapped

        A second to the Billecart-Salmon....

        Also, Renardat Fache Cerdon de Bugey is outstanding as well. Less pricey than the Billecart, with a taste of strawberries.

    2. Try DVX or J, both from California. You'll love them.

      1. j
        Judith Hurley

        It's actually on the low end of the price list, and I imagine real knowledgeable wine people would laugh out loud, but I like Piper Sonoma Brut. Here in California it's the kind of thing you easily find in any supermarket.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Judith Hurley

          I'm not laughing. I like it.

          A nice Veuve Clicquot (oh I'll bet I screwed that spelling up!) is always good, too.

          1. re: snackish

            I don't understand the ubiquity of Veuve Clicquot. I find it too lean and flinty for my taste, with an unpleasant finish. Lately I've been enjoying Jose Dhondt and Camille Saves.

        2. Last fall I had a quick taste of several cuvees of Henriot. I liked them all very much. It was my first exposure to this marque and when I asked the retail pricing, I was stunned. For the quality in the bottle, you'll pay 20-30% more in other brands. You have happened upon something that's not only delicious but a great value in wine these days. That 1988 is well worth the $60-70 retail price. There are not many vintage champagnes from good years that you can touch at that price. The house has not been a player in the US market and is re-building the brand here. Snatch it up while you can before it becomes better known.

          It's my understanding that Henriot uses no Pinot Meunier in its blending and has a high percentage of Chardonnay which gives it delicacy, freshness and a long life. You may want to try the other Henriot bottlings, if the house style appeals to you. They'll provide good drinking at lower prices.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Melanie, you really hit the nail on the head when you wrote about the high percentage of Chardonnay. Blanc des blancs (white champagne made from white grapes) are revered in France. My favorite is the Pol Roger Chardonnay. What a superb wine! A quick glance through internetland found a '96 for $66. I don't know about this specific vintage, though the 'idea' is that poor vintages don't get produced.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              The Cuvee des Enchanteleurs 1988 is the only Henriot I've tried, and I'm well aware of the steal: in St.Louis, the same bottle goes for $90-100. I'm tempted to buy all the bottles they've got at my store, $60 for this fantastic champagne is a wonder.

              I'm definitely going to scout out these other recommendations, and try another Henriot. Thanks for the tips!

              1. re: eating out
                j
                john gonzales

                winesearcher shows they are selling the 88 Henriot for $65. They ship.

            2. For special occasions, I'm a fan of Veuve Clicquot ($34), and its lemon-y, mineral-y taste. If I could afford it, I'd drink the Grande Dame that V.C. produces (apple-y, less dry)-- but I find myself serving Rottari (sp?) Prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine, more and more at my dinner parties. It's less expensive, and goes well with the cheeses, olives, and other antipasti I tend to serve as appetizers. I also like the Sparkling Wine produced by Westport Vineyards, a vineyard on the MA/RI border that makes astonishingly good and inexpensive sparkling wine.

              As an alternative, some of the sparkling hard ciders made by West County Winery (Colrain, MA), esp. their Reine de Pomme variety can be wonderful, and are not "rough" or too appley. The Reine de Pomme is like a lovely pink champagne, and is incredible with roast pork.

              1. This past weekend I had the opportunity to have the new Krug 1990. It was unreal and has surpassed my former favorite which was the 1988 Krug.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Sthitch

                  I second the Krug recs. I also really enjoy the schramsber J. Schram and their blanc de noir. I had a wonderful schramsberg '92 blanc de noire that was yeasty and full flavored almost like a piece of sourdough. It would have been wonderful with a nice piece of aged parmesean.

                2. Egly-Ouriet Grand Cru NV..inexpensive ($45.00)and astounding...slightly peachy.

                  1. j
                    john gonzales

                    Krug and Salon are probably tops in my book. The Krug Clos du Mesnil and Salon are awesome blanc de blancs. The Salon gets a nod in being much lower priced. Pierre Peters puts out some fine BdB for even less, as does Ruinart, and the Mumm du Cramant NV. The hard to find PJ Fleur BdB was excellent, but pricey.
                    Roses: Billecart NV is an excellent value. I think the Veuve Vintage Rose is very solid, as are Laurent Perrier and Gosset. Roses make such great food wines.

                    Other dependable names: Charles Heidseck, Paillard, Roederer (brut Premier much better value than Cristal), Jacquesson.

                    Domestically my favorite is S.Anderson which is a deal and Roederer. Also good are Schramsberg and some of the Gloria Ferrer better cuvees. Otherwise, if I'm going to spend $30 I go French.

                    There are still a few 90s (heidsieck) lurking which was an excellent vintage. The 96s are just coming out and are fantastic. It's a vintage to stock up. The Dom, usually not among my faves, is top-flight.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: john gonzales

                      A few months ago I was at a Champagne dinner and one of the offerings was 1982 Salon. Maybe it was my English ancestry, but for drinking on its own, I was the only one who liked it. The rest of the table thought that it was over the hill. But once it was tasted with food, it became universally revered. Other than this one example Salon has never really done anything for me. I always find it too subtle in flavor and delicate in body.

                    2. For the really good stuff, consider spending more for vintage. It's the champy with a year on the label. In theory, at least, the winemakers can declare a vintage only during really good years. (Otherwise, they blend juice from various years, playing off their relative strengths and weaknesses to create a not bad, not great blend.)

                      I recently had a Charles Heidsieck Brut Millesime 1990 ($75 list) that was superb. Highly recommended for special occasions. (If you care about ratings, Wine Spectator gave it a 98 out of 100.)

                      But beware: The taste is so much better than the usual $35-45 Champy that you may be spoiled forever. I know I am.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Park Sloppy

                        I whole-heartedly agree. I am partial (in addition to my aforementioned love of Krug) to almost any vintage of Dom Ruinart. But it is my understanding that they are no longer going to import into the United States because the intense toasty flavor was not selling well.
                        And while Deutz Classic is my favorite everyday non-vintage, it cannot compare to any vintage of the Cuvee William Duetz.

                      2. I don't know if it's my favorite, and I don't know how much it costs, but I recently enjoyed Viscomte Castellano Brut. Anybody know anything about it?