There's a remarkable article in today's Daily Mail, which I got to by way of my restaurant-critic pal Alison Cook at the Houston Chronicle, that somehow finds a charming note amidst all the horrorshow of the attacks in Mumbai (follow this link to Suketu Mehta's superb op-ed piece in the NY Times). The story involves a very lucky British fellow named Nick Hayward, five hours locked in a restaurant in the Taj Mahal hotel, some vintage Cristal, and a perfectly amazing headwaiter. And that's all I'll tell you, since anything else would wipe out the perfectly wonderful ending of the story.
But I will recommend a few Champagnes for the holiday season while I'm at it. These five are all grower Champagnes; I do intend, before the end of the month, to weigh in on a selection of more widely available brut Champagnes from the major houses—though we all know the road that's paved with good intentions (or with unbought stuffed dogs, if you're a Hemingway buff).