F&W editors share their favorite Champagnes and Champagne cocktails. Plus: Award-winning author and wine connoisseur Mark Oldman suggests exceptional sparkling wines to try.
Great Champagnes to Try
Here are F&W senior wine editor Ray Isle's five favorite Brut Non-Vintage (NV) Champagnes to look for this holiday season:
Oudinot Cuvée Brut NV ($35)
Oudinot is what's known as a "grower Champagne"—whereas most Champagnes are produced by large companies that source most of their grapes from hundreds of independent growers, Oudinot is a single small estate. A floral scent and creamy, peachy flavors define this Brut.
Gosset Brut Excellence NV ($46)
Gosset, a small but very high-quality producer, was founded in the town of Aÿ in 1584. Unlike most other Champagnes, Gosset's wines—like this citrusy Brut—do not undergo malolactic fermentation (a kind of secondary fermentation that helps soften the wine), making them bright and remarkably zesty.
Deutz Brut Classic NV ($49)
The Deutz style is delicate and aromatically complex, as in this subtle, blossom-scented bottling. It's blended from equal parts Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, largely sourced from the Marne subregion.
Bollinger Special Cuvée Brut NV ($56)
Bollinger, which owns an unusually high percentage of estate vineyards for a Champagne house (about 60% of its production) is known for its full-bodied density of flavor. This biscuity, luscious bottling is a great example of the Bollinger style.
Taittinger Prelude Brut NV ($75)
Taittinger's Prelude, an equal blend of Chardonnay and Pinto Noir, is sourced only from grand cru villages, making its price a bit higher but adding finesse to its peach-and-orange-inflected flavors. It's luxuriously creamy at first, and finishes with mouthwatering acidity.
Mark Oldman: How to Saber a Bottle
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