Champagne sales skyrocket up to seven times the usual during the week preceding New Year’s Eve, but what I want to know is what happens the next week? Actually, I do know: They fall off a cliff. This is wrong. In fact, if there’s one thing New Year’s Eve celebrations should tell us—besides that kissing the wrong person at midnight can lead to all sorts of problems—it’s that Champagne is so delightful that we’d be nuts to stop drinking it just because the party is over.
So my suggestion, now that we’re a week into 2016, is to keep drinking Champagne. Drink it with dinner; drink it with lunch; shoot, drink it with breakfast if you feel like it. And to help out with choices, here are five recent winners from the F&W Tasting Room.
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NV A. R. Lenoble Rosé Terroirs Brut ($53) This small, family-owned house blends premier cru Pinot Noir from Bisseuil and grand cru Chardonnay from Chouilly for this lightly smoky, strawberry-scented rosé.
2006 Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage ($65) Not inexpensive, but a bargain for what it offers, this toasty Champagne comes from a vintage that some worried would lack acidity and freshness—in this wine, at least, those worries are unfounded. It’s lively and vibrant, with a core of pear-citrus flavor.
NV Egly Ouriet Le Vignes de Vrigny 1er Cru ($85) A rare Champagne made solely from Pinot Meunier, this seductive, pear-inflected bottling comes from a single plot of 40-plus-year-old vines on the Petite Montagne de Reims.
NV Bollinger Rosé Brut ($90) Bollinger avoided producing a non-vintage rosé until 2007, largely because Madame Lily Bollinger (who ran the house until the 1970s) objected to it—the category was, as current CEO Jerome Philipon explained to me, “popular in houses of ill repute.” Whether that’s still true or not, I do not know, but nowadays rosé is popular with practically everyone else, and Bollinger’s very refined version has lovely wild strawberry and lemon-citrus notes.
1995 Charles Heidsieck Blanc de Millenaires ($250) Mysteriously, this vintage of Charles Heidsieck’s tete de cuvee has been the current one for quite some time now (this disgorgement came from last summer). It is, as it has been, spectacular Champagne: creamy and nutty, with fresh lemon notes and an enormously long finish. As Heidsieck’s chef du cave Cyril Brun said when we were tasting the wine, “I say this without arrogance, but if you don’t like that, don’t pretend you like Champagne!” I’d have to agree.