Although the turn of the millennium is now just a memory, the same problem persists: What Champagne to drink on New Year's Eve? Personally, I'll be drinking only the best (again) and that means a prestige cuvée.
There are no regulations regarding what can be called a prestige cuvée (or tête de cuvée), but generally they're made almost exclusively from the grapes of a producer's own vineyards, either Chardonnay, Pinot Noir or a blend of both. Invariably packaged in fancy bottles and bearing some very high prices, they are intended to be the finest that a Champagne house can offer.
The most famous prestige cuvée, Dom Pérignon from Moët & Chandon, was also the first. Created in 1921, it was the inspiration of an English journalistalthough the French don't like to be reminded of thatand America was the first country to import it. Today, Dom Pérignon is but one of some 2,000 prestige cuvées made by French Champagne houses. The ones that follow are some of my favorites.