Favorite Champagne discussion continued
I posted a short review on a book about champagne over on Not About Food, and was directed to start a discussion about actual champagne here.
What are people's favorites? I usually stick to California and Italian sparkling wines for the price, but reading the book has me hankering for something made by the big shots: Bollinger, Moet, Tattinger, Heidsick, etc. I can't afford their star bottles, so suggestions in the $25 range would be best.
I've tried Pommery and Cliquot Ponsardin, so I can check those off the list. I found Pommery light and easy to drink, but not compelling. The Cliquot was very drinkable, but more of a sweet after dinner drink than a dry sipping champagne.
While I don't have anything against the big shots, I'm a big fan of grower-producer champagnes. To me, its like supporting independent bookstores & mom & pop shops. I like to think that way I'm not paying for marketing.
As Robert said, K&L is a great source of champagnes in SF. I also really like D&M and am a member of their champagne society.
Grower-Producer Champagne is so much better than the big labels it's ridiculous. For about the same price as the widely-available brands, you get far greater quality (think Cristal or Grand Dame for <$50 instead of $150+). Since I have a business relationship with a distributor of some grower-producer Champagne, I won't mention any specific wines here. But I would encourage hounds to seek them out and try them.
Here's a recent thread with other ideas.
Some friends of mine had a lot of Moet white star NV, so we were drinking a lot of it for awhile; but it really doesn't stand out for me.
I like Piper Heidsieck; it's been a long time since my last sip of Tattinger but recall liking that. Piper Sonoma is really good, esp for the low price.
I know it's above the price range, but I must express my complete fondness for Perrier Jouet in the fleur bottle. Just so wonderful. I never cared that much for Dom, but now have a bottle of 1996 Dom, rated 98 points by Robert Parker! Look forward to popping that bottle.
Yeah, Pommery and Cliquot didn't do it for me either.
I also like prosecco and the Gloria Ferrer sparklers. Not such a fan of Roederer Estate, though.
OK, you can take this FWIW since I'm not wine-savy ... but I have above-average experience with champagne. And it seems we might have similar champagne tastes ... with my tastes evolving away from the sweeter varieties which I really cant drink anymore.
For me, champagne is more consistant and I can expect if not the same results from year to year, at least something that is familiar.
My all time favorite that I love, love, love is the Piper-Heidseick cuvee brut ... the red label.
For some reason, the baby Piper in the small bottles just doesn't taste as good as the regular-sized bottle.
It is about $35 in supermarkets, but goes on sale for $25 every now and then. I'm sure there are good prices at places like BevMo.
I didn't like any of the other Piper-Heidseick line though. They don't have it on their website, but about a year ago they had a bottle with a yellow label and a cute name ... it was memorably awful ... other than the red label, the others are ok, but I wouldn't spend the money again.
HIGHLY recommend the red label.
Didn't like so much Bollinger, Moet or Tattinger.
I've been through quite a lot of Moet from the bottom of the line to a $150 bottle on sale. I just could not see the alure of this champage ... until I had a top of the line glass once ... God knows how expensive the stuff was by the bottle, probably a few hundered dollars. I know I spent an obscene amout of money for a glass.
I wouldn't have done that, but it was available at Bizou just before it closed and I REALLY trusted the bartender who knew my taste after going there a decade.
That was one memorable glass of champagne and if I win the big lottery or somehow grow a mega-business where I'm filthy rich, this is all I would drink.
But the rest of Moet ... no.
So I'm sure you can at least try some of these by the glass at the city's wine bars. I'm not sure if Coco500 still has the Piper-Heidseick by the glass. They would have it every now and then when it was Bizou.
Hmmm ... I should get back to work and build that business so I can afford that pricy Moet.
Thank you, as always, for an excellent response. In return, I'll issue an alert to hie thee to your nearest Bevmo. The Piper-Heidseick red label is going for $23.99 right now.
Actually, the Bevmo website appears to have a lot of bubbly on sale. Hopefully this sale is happening in stores too.