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Champagne in the $100 Range

I am planning to propose to my girlfriend in January and I need a wine recommendation. We'll be going to a restaurant where a chef acquaintance of ours will be serving us a special tasting menu. They'll take care of most of the wines (the chef mentioned that he'd find us some cool boutiquey stuff), but I wanted to bring a special bottle of champagne to start off the evening. (The nicest bottle on their list is Yellow Label.)

Given the expenditures on the ring and on dinner, my budget is not unlimited. I want to spend about $100. Complicating matters is the fact that we live in Pennsylvania, so we are at the mercy of the state as to which champagnes are available. Here is the list of champagnes available in PA (there are 18 pages, but you can sort by price):

http://www.lcb.state.pa.us/webapp/Pro...

I'm definitely looking for something on the dry end of the spectrum. Thanks for the help!

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  1. Here are three recommendations:
    The Heidsieck Champagne Charlie at $121
    Laurent Perrier Brut Rose at $86
    Gosset Grand Millesime Brut at $96

    I've noticed, frustratingly so, that in that list, some
    vintage dates are left off some of the vintage wines.

    There are more knowledgeable Champagne lovers than I who write on this board...
    Whiner is one of the most passionate and informed...hope he weighs in.

    Here are some other threads with good recs that you can check against the PLCB list:
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/429815
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/457486
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/413632

    1. You cannot go wrong with Cristal

      5 Replies
      1. re: Tay

        You can when
        a) it's $200+ retail and
        b) they don't sell it in your state.

        :)

        1. re: Tay

          Yes, but it's $300 for the 2000 vintage on the list.

          1. re: Tay

            Well, Cristal can be excellent, but you can go "wrong" by a) spending too much for it; b) passing by several "better" wines which cost less.

            But that's MY taste; YMMV.

          2. I think you should lean toward a rose. Not to generalize but most women like the pink color and the rose Champagne is quite good. All of the following would work well for the occassion:

            LAURENT PERRIER BRUT ROSE
            HEIDSIECK CHARLES BRUT ROSE
            VEUVE CLICQUOT RES ROSE 2000
            DELAMOTTE BRUT ROSE NV
            GOSSET ROSE
            POL ROGER BRUT ROSE' 99

            1. In addition to ML's recs...

              POL ROGER BRUT CHARDONNAY 1998
              POL ROGER BRUT ROSE' 99
              JACQUESSON BRUT NV CUVEE 730
              JACQUESSON BRUT GRAND CRU AVIZE 1997
              PIERRE PETERS CUVEE SPECIALE BRUT 99
              EGLY OURIET PRESTIGE MILLESIME

              1. More or less in ascending order by weight (based on memory):

                POL ROGER BRUT CHARDONNAY 1998
                JACQUESSON BRUT GRAND CRU AVIZE 1997
                JACQUESSON BRUT SIGNATURE 1996
                GOSSET GRAND MILLESIME BRUT
                BOLLINGER GRANDE ANNEE BRUT

                The '85 Heidsieck CC is intriguing, as is the '90 Henriot Enchanteleurs (which I've never had) but before buying them I'd want to be 100% sure about their storage conditions. A fan of rich, winey champagnes, I'd probably opt for the Bollinger (though I agree with Maria that the lack of vintage dates is disconcerting).