Foursquare, the recently-rejiggered local search app, can provide a wealth of handy info—for instance, I recently asked the company’s data gurus what cities in the US mention Champagne the most when using the app. The results weren’t all that surprising: Las Vegas took first place, followed by Los Angeles and Washington DC. Gamblers, movie stars, and politicians. You got that right.
The places that mentioned Champagne the least were more interesting. In third place was Phoenix, AZ—too hot for Champagne? Jealousy that while neighboring New Mexico has a famous sparkling wine producer (Gruet), Arizona does not? It remains a mystery. In second place for never-mentioning-Champagne-if-at-all-possible was Napa, California. That one I get, even if most winemakers I know there guzzle Champagne like it’s water.
But the city in America that mentions Champagne the least—the populace just absolutely, totally and thoroughly uninterested in bubbles—is Lake Buena Vista, Florida. My first response was “huh?” until I checked it out and found that Lake B.V. is actually the home of Walt Disney World (plus Epcot, etc. etc.). Evidently the Mouse frowns on the fizz. Who knew.
Regardless of where you are, though, if you like Champagne, here are a few ultra-reliable choices:
NV Louis Roederer Brut Premiere ($54). Roederer, unusual among the famous Champagne houses in that it’s still family-run, makes one of the best basic, non-vintage Brut bottlings around.
NV Gaston Chiquet ($45). A toasty, terrific “grower Champagne”—i.e. from a small estate producer, rather than a large house—this also happens to be fairly widely available (it will be at Whole Foods throughout the holiday season, for instance).
NV Bruno Paillard Brut Rosé Premiere Cuvee ($75). Rosé Champagnes have gotten more and more popular in recent years, and Paillard’s is a great example with nuanced flavors and floral aromas.
2000 Gosset Grand Millesime Brut ($85). Gosset tends towards a rich, powerful style, one that is in evidence in this luscious vintage Champagne.
NV Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle ($175). Laurent Perrier’s tete-de-cuvee (or top wine) is unusual in that it’s a blend of three top years, rather than a single vintage. That approach pays off in a layered, complex Champagne that is gorgeous now or could age for years in a cellar.