We’ve Rounded Up the Best Bubbly for Your Holiday Parties

Ring in the new year with a quality cuvée.
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Photograph by Aaron M. Conway

Champagne has long been code for elegance, luxury, and excellence, but at the entry level superb quality hasn’t always been a requirement. The holidays, however, are a good time to go for the gold. Estates that grow their own fruit offer the best prospects, and the good news is you can find most of the labels listed here in our market. While not quite 100 percent estate-grown, Louis Roederer’s Brut Premier ($60) has crafted a beautiful wine with notes of cocoa butter and toast. The same goes for L. Aubry Fils Brut ($50), which has a touch of red fruit with prominent elements of almond and croissant. The chardonnay grown in Champagne possesses a kind of magic not found in most other wine-growing regions, and the blanc de blancs style showcases the crystalline majesty of the grape. Pierre Péters Brut Cuvée de Réserve ($67) is a spectacular exemplar, with an evolving range of aromas and flavors (peach, chalk, dogwood, lime zest) that draw you back to the glass over and over. If you find Champagne too edgy, dive headlong into a demi-sec or an extra dry. The A. Margaine Demi-Sec Cuvée Traditionelle ($50) is fresh with citrus, pear, and orange blossom notes. Top-tier Champagnes have often relied on long-standing reputation, but the best are also deeply expressive of intimate work. Take away reputation and glitz and you have the Vilmart & Cie Brut Grand Cellier ($85). It conveys such a rhapsodic inner life that saying it has an expansive bouquet of stone fruits, flowers, and smoke obscures the emotional connection it can make.

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