Pol Roger Brut Réserve ($35)
Year in and year out, this medium-bodied, well-balanced wine from a leading small Champagne house is a perennial value and a particular favorite of mine.
Ayala Brut Majeur ($40)
Clean and bright, with good acidity—a sprightly aperitif from a long-established Champagne house that has made a big quality rebound in recent years.
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Bollinger Special Cuvée ($45)
Bollinger’s nonvintage—broad-flavored and toasty—is a true classic.
Marc Hébrart Cuvée de Réserve Brut ($50) This grower, based in the Vallée de la Marne, may not be famous, but his elegant Pinot Noir–dominant wine deserves to be better known.
Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve ($55)
The house style of the highly regarded Charles Heidsieck is readily apparently in this wine: complex yet approachable, full-bodied but lively.
Gosset Grande Réserve Brut ($55)
There’s excellent weight and richness in this nonvintage from one of the oldest houses in Champagne; it’s a great wine to pair with food.
Guy Larmandier Vertus Brut Premier Cru ($55)
A delicate wine from one of the top growers in the Côtes des Blancs region of Champagne.
Philipponnat Brut Royale Réserve ($55)
This nonvintage from a highly regarded small Champagne house is a “wow” of a wine and nearly as good as Philipponnat’s famed tête de cuvée, Clos des Goisses.
Jean Milan Carte Blanche Brut ($60)
Generous and creamy— a masterpiece of a wine.
Alfred Gratien Brut Classique ($70)
A lovely, well-balanced, rather fruity blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier that’s a pure pleasure to drink.