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Dec 13, 2013 05:59 PM

Savings in picking bubbles...

I like Champagne and sparkling wine that has some roundness and depth, like Billecart Rose. I love old Vintage Krug. I don't drink a lot of Champagne, and so I don't have a lot of knowledge or other frame of reference other than to say most of what I have tried has an almost metallic, and unappealing, taste. No interest in a Moët NV or the like. Any suggestions at prices under $75? Lower is better, because if I like it I'll drink it more often.

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  1. Pierre Peters Cuvee De Reserve BdB does the job for me, and retails $50-60

    1. Not much to go on here. One rose and an old vintage Krug.

      So, one thing to do would be to age Champagne yourself. Buy now and keep for 5+ years, that will change and - since you like it aged - improve the taste. You can buy inexpensive and get a more expensive taste by having them aged

      Rose is going to have Pinot, I think the Krug has a high proportion of Pinot, so suggest looking for blanc de noirs or wines with mostly pinots and avoiding blanc de blancs.

      You dismiss Moet 'or the like'. Does that mean all NV or only large brands?

      Look for artisan growers, small scale production. But avoiding NV is a mistake in my opinion.

      Also, why don't you drink a lot of Champagne? Best way to learn your likes is to drink more frequently. Maybe half-bottles to use as aperitif

      2 Replies
      1. re: Gussie Finknottle

        Thanks to all who have posted so far. I don't drink a lot of Champagne because I have had chiefly lousy experiences with big house NVs. I have found them tinny and just not interesting. While I'll readily admit the B-S rose and the old Krug were very different, they both had that ineffable sensation of being delicious, absolutely no inaccessible or offensive dimension, and actually a lot of layers and subtleties. I don't have a super big wine budget and am loathe to gamble on any wine nudging a hundred bucks. Heck, that us TWO spectacular PNs or cabs or a half case of Domaine Chandon Blanc d'noir, which is festive and tasty but not what I'd call complex. The question was prompted by a holiday driven desire to try some new Champagne but avoid a bad purchase, I am not turned off by all NVs. I have enjoyed Veuves. I just don't drink enough to know.

        Or I could just hunker down with a top drawer Zin or that aging BV cab that is not young to be improving from here on out. I am intrigued by the idea of aging my own sparklers. I love the slightly tamer fizz and the more developed tones of honey I have experienced a couple of times. However, I am wondering for Champagnes is there a ball park optimal age range? A friend brought a PJ Fleur that was about twelve, and it was really sad. It is in the white wine vinegar crock, starting a new life.

        1. re: tim irvine

          Tim, no one is suggesting that you go out and spend $100; indeed, I can't remember the last time I spent more than $100 on a bottle of Champagne . . . even for "special occasions"!

          It's interesting that you have enjoyed Veuve Clicquot -- at least I'm assuming you meant Clicquot when you wrote "Veuves"; there are *several* Champagnes named "Veuve," but most people mean Clicquot -- and did not enjoy Moët, from the standpoint that, although stylistically different, they are BOTH owned by the same parent company. This is what I was trying to get at when I asked you about Moët and what you meant specifically.

          Serious suggestions:

          1) Try, if you have not already, Roederer Estate Brut from Anderson Valley AVA, here in California. The wine tends to be rounder and fuller than, say, Chandon Brut from California.

          2) Buy a couple of bottles of Chandon Brut from California and cellar them for 2-3 years. (The fact this is more austere than Roederer Estate in its youth means it actually ages well.)

          3) Also try Domaine Carneros from California and Argyle from Oregon.

          4) In terms of "true" Champagne, with the obvious admonition that I have no idea what's available in Austin, you may want to look for (aside from the Serge Mathieu), Charles de Cazanove, De Sousa, Fallet-Dart, Gosset, Charles Heidsieck . . .

      2. Random thoughts, Tim . . .

        First and foremost, go shopping! Go to the top retailer(s) in Austin, explain (hopefully in a bit more detail) what you're looking for, and try their suggestions. Not only should you receive some knowledgable help and advice, but the recommendations will actually be things you can buy!

        Secondly, as Gussie said, there's "not much to go on" in your post. You make four specific statements:

        >>> "I like Champagne and sparkling wine that has some roundness and depth, like Billecart Rose." <<<

        To me, this is oxymoronic, as I consider Billecart-Salmon n.v. Brut Rosé to be delicate and sublime, rather than rich and with great depth.

        >>> "I love old Vintage Krug." <<<

        Well, THERE is your roundness and depth! And there are certainly rosé Champagnes that have it as well, but I wouldn't say that Billecart's n.v. Brut Rosé -- which is one of my favorites, by the way -- as one of them.

        >>> "No interest in a Moët NV or the like." <<<

        This is certainly a specific statement, but I have no idea what it means. Are all Moët wines off-limits? All Champagnes owned by LVMH? All Brut n.v. wines in general? Any wine produced by a négociant-manipulant (NM)?

        If the latter, then both Billecart and Krug are off-limits to you. If it's LVMH wines, then Krug is off-limits. If it's Brut n.v. wines, then the non-vintage Billecart is off limits, but nor their vintage-dated Brut Rosé "Elizabeth Salmon Cuvée;" the non- (multi-)vintage Krug Grand Cuvée is off-limits, but not their vintage-dated Brut. Then again, the E.S. Cuvée and the vintage Krug are both outside your budgetary limitations.

        I'll make one suggestion and suggest you look for Champagnes from Serge Mathieu, but that's based upon the aforementioned suggestion from Gussie that you look to Blancs de Noirs. But in order to *truly* be of assistance, I fear we need more elaboration from you . . .

        1. The NY Times did a tasting of Champagnes earlier this month:

          1. A sparkling vintage Vouvray from Foreau or Huet.