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  #1  
Old 12-29-2004, 03:21 PM
bump bump is offline
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Good, moderately priced Champagne/Sparkling wine?

Since New Year's Eve is almost upon us all, and I'm celebrating it with my girlfriend and other friends, I'm looking for a moderately priced ($15-20 USD) Champagne/Sparkling wine to get for us.

Problem is, I don't have the slightest bit of knowledge about that style of wine.

Anyone have any recommendations/warnings/rules of thumb?
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  #2  
Old 12-29-2004, 03:45 PM
Thinks2Much Thinks2Much is offline
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It's only $6-$8 per bottle around here, but Ballatore is a great sparkling wine with general appeal. It is more sweet than dry, but not overly so. I have never met someone who didn't like it. A real champagne connesuier might turn their nose up at it, but that doesn't sound like your crowd or you wouldn't be asking this question.
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  #3  
Old 12-29-2004, 03:46 PM
DeVena DeVena is offline
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Not Korbel. <shudder>

For that price, try a cava - I like Freixenet Cordon Negro Extra Dry which is about $7.50. It's not as "sharp" as a brut. More fruity.
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  #4  
Old 12-29-2004, 03:47 PM
lieu lieu is offline
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We like the Frexinet, usually about 7 to 9 bucks a pop.
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  #5  
Old 12-29-2004, 03:53 PM
Anne Neville Anne Neville is offline
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One word: Cava.

Cava is Spanish sparkling wine. It's usually inexpensive and generally quite good. You've probably seen Freixenet (pronounced roughly "fresh net"). Cordon Negro and Carta Nevada are both quite good. Cristalino is another good Cava. I particularly like the pink Blanc de Noirs Cristalino.
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  #6  
Old 12-29-2004, 03:55 PM
Anne Neville Anne Neville is offline
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Stay away from champagnes that aren't from France, in general. Note: not sparkling wines that are not from France, but sparkling wines that are called champagne but are not from France. In my experience, the good non-champagne sparkling wines don't try to fool people by calling themselves champagnes.
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  #7  
Old 12-29-2004, 04:55 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is online now
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If you buy a sparkling wine that is not Champagne, look for the designation "Methode Champenoise" on the label. This means the bubbles were produced by secondary fermentation in the bottle, rather than by the Charmat Bulk Process prior to bottling. While it may not make that much difference in the $8 range, individual bottle fermentation stands on its merits as a more authentic product. You may not be able to afford Dom Perignon, but you can buy an inexpensive wine that is made in the same basic way.

Schramsberg is another good California sparkling wine at the upper end of the price range you quoted.
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  #8  
Old 12-29-2004, 05:12 PM
scout1222 scout1222 is offline
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I like Piper Sonoma. I saw it on sale at Cost Plus last week at something like $10-12. Inexpensive, but not cheap.
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  #9  
Old 12-29-2004, 05:38 PM
AllShookDown AllShookDown is offline
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I also recommend Ballatore.
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  #10  
Old 12-29-2004, 05:38 PM
Athena Athena is offline
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Mr. Athena and I are champagne drinkers. That is, we drink champagne a lot - not just on special occasions. I'd say we drink a minimum of 2 bottles a month, and many more around the holidays.

The following sparkling wines/champagnes should be widely available and inexpensive:

By far the best value-priced sparkling wine that's widely available right now is Domaine Ste Michelle. It comes in several varieties - my favorite is the Cuvee Brut. Around here, it's regularly priced at about $13/bottle, and I can get it on sale right now for $10/bottle. My sister-in-law in Texas tells me she gets it for $8. This champagne compares favorably with many $15-$20 bottles I've had. If you want a no-brainer, good, cheap sparkling wine, Domaine Ste. Michelle is it.

Going up, check out Mirabelle Brut. Around here, it goes for about $15/bottle. It's a different style than the Ste Michelle - slightly more refined, smaller bubbles, a bit more fruity. This is a great sparkling wine for the price.

Also check out Chandon. At around $18-$22/bottle, it's a nice crisp wine that almost everyone will like. In the same price range and also very good is Argyle.

Also remember, in champagne, "Extra Dry" is actually a sweeter champagne. Go for Brut if you want dry. From sweetest to dryest, the champagne categories are:

Demi-sec
Dry
Extra Dry
Brut (if you're not sure what to get, go for a brut)

You also might see Blanc de Blanc and Blanc de Noir - these indicate that the wine is made completely from white grapes, in the case of Blanc de Blanc, or red grapes, in the case of Bland de Noir. It doesn't necessarily mean anything about their sweetness, but in general a sparkling wine or champagne labelled either of these is dry.
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  #11  
Old 12-29-2004, 05:40 PM
Athena Athena is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scout1222
I like Piper Sonoma. I saw it on sale at Cost Plus last week at something like $10-12. Inexpensive, but not cheap.
Yup, Piper-Sonoma is another good one. For those of us not in California, it runs more like $18-$23/bottle, and is well worth it.
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  #12  
Old 12-29-2004, 06:18 PM
booka booka is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scout1222
I like Piper Sonoma. I saw it on sale at Cost Plus last week at something like $10-12. Inexpensive, but not cheap.
If you can get Piper Sonoma for $10 a bottle, I'd suggest that you buy a case.
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  #13  
Old 12-29-2004, 06:20 PM
booka booka is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeVena
Not Korbel. <shudder>

For that price, try a cava - I like Freixenet Cordon Negro Extra Dry which is about $7.50. It's not as "sharp" as a brut. More fruity.
I think Korbel has a slightly better "Natural" (sp?) version out now that's a cut above their normal stuff. At least that's what I recall...
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  #14  
Old 12-29-2004, 06:22 PM
TheLoadedDog TheLoadedDog is offline
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If you can get Australian stuff, you'll likely find that Yellowglen is in your price range, and it's a very decent drop indeed.
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  #15  
Old 12-29-2004, 06:27 PM
Anne Neville Anne Neville is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by booka
If you can get Piper Sonoma for $10 a bottle, I'd suggest that you buy a case.
If you have a Beverages and More near you, you can get Piper Sonoma for $9.99 a bottle. I believe they are only in California, but they might ship to at least some other states.
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  #16  
Old 12-29-2004, 06:49 PM
booka booka is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus
...Schramsberg is another good California sparkling wine at the upper end of the price range you quoted.
I concur - Schramsberg is always very yummbly, and their newer Mirabelle line is tasty.

Why, I think I'll go and open a bottle of some bubbly right now!

Here's a hijack: what percentage of the time do you order champagne in a restaurant, only to find that they roughly slosh it into the glass so that most of the carbonation is lost within 5-10 seconds? I'm to the point these days where I find that I just politely have them leave the bottle, and I say that we'll pour it ourselves. Knuckleheads. This idea that you pour champagne from 3 feet above the glass and watch it go flat in the glass is something I can't understand. I see most tough guys in bars gently pour their Bud Lites into a glass with the delicacy of a fine cognac (as it should be). But do it with champagne? No way. Slam it in there!

Wait. I live in the U.P.. It's all clear to me now.

A quick story. Once Ms. Booka and I were in what was basically the nicest bar/restaurant in town. Great views of the harbor and all that. I ordered a bottle of something like a Taittinger, but when it came, it of course wasn't as cold as I would have like, and they didn't have any clue that they should have brought a champagne ice bucket with it. I said "Could you bring us a champagne bucket for this puppy?". Sure, they said, and then I hear this fine example of a Yooper chick call downstairs to some orc, asking "could yous bring me up a bucket o' ice". I knew right away what would happen. 5 minutes later some mouthbreather shows up with a drywall bucket - full of ice. Life in da U.P..
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  #17  
Old 12-29-2004, 08:55 PM
ShibbOleth ShibbOleth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Athena
Mr. Athena and I are champagne drinkers. That is, we drink champagne a lot - not just on special occasions. I'd say we drink a minimum of 2 bottles a month, and many more around the holidays.
I'm curious, what do you recommend under $50? Don't worry about wide-spread availability.

Oh, and on a side note to people in California: please don't torture the rest of us with your low wine prices... our insurance is probably cheaper.
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  #18  
Old 12-29-2004, 10:00 PM
psycat90 psycat90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anne Neville
Stay away from champagnes that aren't from France, in general. Note: not sparkling wines that are not from France, but sparkling wines that are called champagne but are not from France. In my experience, the good non-champagne sparkling wines don't try to fool people by calling themselves champagnes.

This is absurd advice. California Champagnes (or New York Champagnes, or any other champagnes not from France in the US) are not trying to fool anybody by designating their sparkling wines as champagne. They are excellent values, very drinkable, and pretty consistent year after year.

--------------
Some California Champagnes I like in your price range:

Domaine Chandon Brut
Korbel Sec (It's easy to find in this area-I live about 15 miles from the winery, but it might be harder to find in other areas.)
Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut
J Vineyards Brut
Piper-Sonoma Cuvee Brut


The first 2 are a little cheaper than the last three. The second is sweeter than all of the rest. I drink California champagne at least once a month, and those first two are my 'everyday drinking' choices. The last three I would consider perfect for NYE. They're no Dom Perignon, but they're excellent in their price range.
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  #19  
Old 12-29-2004, 10:46 PM
Athena Athena is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycat90
This is absurd advice. California Champagnes (or New York Champagnes, or any other champagnes not from France in the US) are not trying to fool anybody by designating their sparkling wines as champagne. They are excellent values, very drinkable, and pretty consistent year after year.

--------------
Some California Champagnes I like in your price range:

Domaine Chandon Brut
Korbel Sec (It's easy to find in this area-I live about 15 miles from the winery, but it might be harder to find in other areas.)
Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut
J Vineyards Brut
Piper-Sonoma Cuvee Brut


The first 2 are a little cheaper than the last three. The second is sweeter than all of the rest. I drink California champagne at least once a month, and those first two are my 'everyday drinking' choices. The last three I would consider perfect for NYE. They're no Dom Perignon, but they're excellent in their price range.
um... all those you list except Korbel call themselves sparkling wine. Even Korbel calls itself "California Champagne." I think the point Anne Neville was trying to make is that many low-price icky sparkling wines call themselves Champagne, which is incorrect. Champagne refers only to wines made in the Champagne region of France. It's as incorrect to call an American wine a Champagne as it would be to call an American wine a Burgundy or a Bordeaux, or to call whisky made in the US a Scotch. It's not a slam on American sparkling wines; it's simply incorrect to call American sparkling wine Champagne, and most reputable wine vendors will not try to masquerade as anything but American sparkling wine. And, as you point out, there is no need to; American sparkling wines are quite good.
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  #20  
Old 12-29-2004, 11:03 PM
Athena Athena is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShibbOleth
I'm curious, what do you recommend under $50? Don't worry about wide-spread availability.
Well, there was that case of 1990 Pommery Louise we got for $30/bottle... but you can't get it any more and if you could the normal price was more like $130/bottle.


OK, back to reality. It's really hard to go wrong in the $30-$50 range. Unlike wines, in most areas you have a limited number of sparkling wines to choose from. You just don't walk in to many liquor stores and see more than 10 or 20 sparklies in that range, at least not outside California or in really great wine stores in big cities.

Keep in mind, too, that my own selection is VERY limited, living in the middle of nowhere. Given that, here's what I like:

Duval-Leroy "Paris" bottle. Pretty sure this was a 1991 vintage. You can't miss it - it's in a beautifully painted bottle. Around $35 if I recall correctly. Really nice, dry, smooth.

It's hard to go wrong with any Roederer or Heidsieck in that price range. Look for the French Roederer if you're looking to spend at the top of the range - not that California Roederer is bad, but if you're going to spend $50 you might as well try a French.

You see Veuve Cliquot a lot in the $30-$40 range, but IMO it's a bit overpriced. Don't get me wrong - it's a great Champagne and I've drank a lot of it. It's just that it's become a known name and you can typically get the same quality for $10 less if you try something not so well known.

Anything by Pommery is lovely. Moet and Mumm are both good names to look for as well.

Hell, there's very few French Champagnes in that range that are outright bad; most of the crappy sparklies are at the low end, and unfortunately I think most people don't bother to try anything other than the Freixinet or the cheapo Korbels.

Now you all have gotten me WAY excited for New Year's Eve!
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  #21  
Old 12-29-2004, 11:23 PM
InternetLegend InternetLegend is offline
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I like the Gruet Winery sparkling wines, especially the Blanc de Noirs. I may be a little partial because the winery is local, but I think the wine compares favorably with the Friexenet or anything in that range.
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  #22  
Old 12-29-2004, 11:31 PM
psycat90 psycat90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Athena
that many low-price icky sparkling wines call themselves Champagne, which is incorrect. Champagne refers only to wines made in the Champagne region of France. It's as incorrect to call an American wine a Champagne as it would be to call an American wine a Burgundy or a Bordeaux .
No, they don't, not without listing the origin. Because they can't. It's simply not an option for US wineries to designate their sparkling wine 'champagne' without also listing its place of origin (as in California Champagne, New York Champagne, etc.) You'll notice the California and New York before Champagne in my post, just as on Korbel's website.

Champagne, Chablis, and Burgundy are semi-generic designations.

From TTB:

As specified, a semi-generic designation is a name of geographic significance that is also the designation of a class or type of wine determined by the Director to be semi-generic. Examples of semi-generic names that are also type designations for grape wines are Burgundy, Chablis, and Champagne. A semi-generic name of geographic significance may be used to designate wines of an origin other than that indicated by such name only if there appears in direct conjunction therewith an appropriate appellation of origin disclosing the true place of origin of the wine
(e.g., ``California Burgundy'')
, and if the wine so designated conforms
to the standard of identity for the product or, if there is no such
standard, to the trade understanding of such class or type.



Most of the push against the semi-generic terms comes from the EU (and not just for wines.) From an old NY Times:

The main targets of the European Union's efforts to restrict use of the names are countries like the United States, Canada, Australia and Argentina — "countries that have been peopled by Europeans," Ms. Gonzalez said — where it is commonplace for products made in the styles of the old-country regions to bear their names.

The use of Chablis, Burgundy, and Champagne in America came as a hold over from EU terms, by immigrants that settled here. They had no desire to deceive, it was just what they called those styles of wines.

Perhaps I misunderstood Anne's warning, it may hold true for some sparkling wines calling themselves champagne from other countries, but not for those produced in the US. =)
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  #23  
Old 12-30-2004, 09:09 AM
Athena Athena is offline
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er, psycat90, aren't we saying the same thing?

And, for the record, I *have* seen bottles that do stuff like:

CaliforniaChampagne

In my mind, they're trying to decieve, as opposed to making a simply mistake.
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  #24  
Old 12-30-2004, 09:10 AM
Athena Athena is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InternetLegend
I like the Gruet Winery sparkling wines, especially the Blanc de Noirs. I may be a little partial because the winery is local, but I think the wine compares favorably with the Friexenet or anything in that range.
Doh! I keep trying to remember Gruet in every post I've made on this thread. I second InternetLegend's opinion. Actually, I'll up it - it's MUCH better than Friexenet. It compares favorably with most of the sparklies in my first post.
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  #25  
Old 12-30-2004, 09:25 AM
ShibbOleth ShibbOleth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Athena

Hell, there's very few French Champagnes in that range that are outright bad; most of the crappy sparklies are at the low end, and unfortunately I think most people don't bother to try anything other than the Freixinet or the cheapo Korbels.

Now you all have gotten me WAY excited for New Year's Eve!
Have you tried Ruinart? I don't see it in the States much, but when I lived in Europe I had it occasionally. The Sister-in-Law of one of my colleagues worked there, so my colleague was always popping out with it. When we attended their wedding in Nice the stuff was flowing like water, but Brut and Rosé, from nightfall until 4 am. It's a second tier house, I believe.
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  #26  
Old 12-30-2004, 09:29 AM
ShibbOleth ShibbOleth is offline
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While I'm at it, the Wine Warehouse, my "local" wine shop, had a tasting on these yesterday:

* Perrier Jouet Brut with 2 Champagne flutes - $27.99
* Mumm Cordon Rouge with Champagne stopper, gift boxed - $24.99
* Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label - $31.99

Sadly, I missed the tasting. They also recommened, at obviously steeper prices:

* Louis Roederer Cristal 1997
* Dom Perignon 1996 or 1995
* Pommery Cuvee Louise 1989
* Perrier Jouet Fleur gift sets - choose from Brut 1996 or Rose 1997.

They're big sparkly geeks there, they offer one at their tastings every weeks, often stuff I've never heard of. I'll probably stop by to stock up this evening so I'll seek out some suggestions that range more towards the OP's price range.
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  #27  
Old 12-30-2004, 09:35 AM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is offline
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And, in contrast, the fratboy set delights in Grain Alcohol mixed with 7Up.
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  #28  
Old 12-30-2004, 09:41 AM
scout1222 scout1222 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by booka
If you can get Piper Sonoma for $10 a bottle, I'd suggest that you buy a case.
Really? Beverages & More has it on sale for $9.99 a bottle on their website, marked down from $14.99. (FTR it's their brut and their blanc de noir)
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  #29  
Old 12-30-2004, 09:42 AM
scout1222 scout1222 is offline
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...Aaaaaand, now I see that someone already beat me to that.
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  #30  
Old 12-30-2004, 09:45 AM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scout1222
...Aaaaaand, now I see that someone already beat me to that.
Cheer up! Have some Grain Alcohol mixed with 7Up!
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  #31  
Old 12-30-2004, 09:51 AM
Athena Athena is offline
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Would someone please boot these Californians and their cheapo wine prices out of this thread?

Piper Sonoma rarely gets below about $18/bottle here, and I think we typically pay more like $22.

I hate you all.
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  #32  
Old 12-30-2004, 09:54 AM
Athena Athena is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShibbOleth
* Pommery Cuvee Louise 1989.
If that's in your price range, I highly highly recommend it. And post how much they're asking for it, so I can cry in my coffee.

As I mentioned before, we were lucky to get a case of the 1990 Louise at the ridiculous price of $30/bottle. That was several years ago; I think we drank the last one in February or March.

'twas probably one of the best champagnes I've ever had the pleasure of tasting.

*looks off into the distance with one small tear forming in her lower left eye*
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  #33  
Old 12-30-2004, 11:24 AM
psycat90 psycat90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Athena
er, psycat90, aren't we saying the same thing?

And, for the record, I *have* seen bottles that do stuff like:

CaliforniaChampagne

In my mind, they're trying to decieve, as opposed to making a simply mistake.

Heh. Yea, I think we were saying nearly the same thing. ;-) And, yes, I am sure some US producers do exactly that (though there is a limit to how small the font size for place of origin can be.)

I don't know, I guess I see it a little differently. I don't see it as incorrect or a mistake for a winery to label their sparkling wine 'CA, NY, etc.' Champagne. They are well within their rights to do so. Most don't because of the EU move to reclaim a somewhat generic term (that did not originate with ill intentions), and they don't want to restrict their sales to outside of the EU.
With California on the front label, and where the wine was produced and bottled on the back, someone that's truly confused by the origin of a wine like that has bigger problems than picking the right bubbly.

I don't think I can wait for NYE either, I might just have to open a bottle tonight.
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  #34  
Old 12-30-2004, 12:20 PM
ShibbOleth ShibbOleth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Athena
If that's in your price range, I highly highly recommend it. And post how much they're asking for it, so I can cry in my coffee.

As I mentioned before, we were lucky to get a case of the 1990 Louise at the ridiculous price of $30/bottle. That was several years ago; I think we drank the last one in February or March.

'twas probably one of the best champagnes I've ever had the pleasure of tasting.

*looks off into the distance with one small tear forming in her lower left eye*
I just called and checked, here's what they have from Pommery right now:

Brut Apenage - $29.99
Brut Royale - $31.99
Rosé - $49.99
Cuvée Louise - $79.99
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  #35  
Old 12-30-2004, 12:20 PM
Necros Necros is offline
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Hey, Athena, didn't you used to live in Boulder? Some of these California prices don't seem that off to me, but then I live five minutes from Applejack, so...

Good recommendations in this thread so far, at least in the latter part of it. Can't get on board with most of the cava reccommendations, or the *gak* Ballatore. Anyway, for $10-$20/bottle <here> I recommend Roederer Estates sparkling wine. I also picked up a bottle of Mumm Cuvee Napa's new Cuvee M, which I thought was wonderful, for a hanging out and drinking champagne. It's a bit sweeter than many normal bruts. It's about $13.99/bottle on sale at Applejack, which for all I know could be $100 up in the UP. Also decent for a mass of people is Gloria Ferrer's Blanc de Noir.

For more expensive wine, I agree with what has been said. Hard to go wrong. But if you look on the lower end of that spectrum, I have really enjoyed Pol Roger's NV. It's about $25 a bottle here, and pretty dang good. Supposedly was Churchill's favorite Champagne.

I have a bottle of 1990 Charles Heidsieck chilling in the fridge right now, which I considered pulling out for New Year's, but I haven't decided yet..
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  #36  
Old 12-30-2004, 12:32 PM
Starving Artist Starving Artist is offline
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I recently had the delightful experience of drinking a champagne from Francis Ford Coppola's winery. It was named Sophia, after his daughter. Smooth, very slight sweetness (probably due to a little Muscat), and delightful. About $20. I'm looking forward to my next bottle.
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  #37  
Old 12-30-2004, 12:54 PM
psycat90 psycat90 is offline
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The best part about Sofia Blanc de Blancs is sipping it out of a little pink can with a straw.

My husband and I had some awhile back, and while it was drinkable, it didn't knock my socks off.


As a side note - We spent our anniversary this past summer in Napa for a long weekend, touring different wineries up and down the valley. The Niebaum-Coppola estate was impressive and gorgeous, but there were just so many people there, it had almost a 'Disneyland of Wineries' feel. We didn't stick around very long, and headed instead to some more intimate wineries.
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  #38  
Old 12-30-2004, 01:08 PM
sj2 sj2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeVena
Not Korbel. <shudder>

For that price, try a cava - I like Freixenet Cordon Negro Extra Dry which is about $7.50. It's not as "sharp" as a brut. More fruity.
YES! THIS IS THE ONE. IT IS GREAT! AS THE FIRST COUPLE OF POSTERS HAVE SAID.
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  #39  
Old 12-30-2004, 01:08 PM
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Well, I ended up with the Gruet Blanc de Noirs at $13 a bottle. For what it's worth, my choices had pretty much narrowed to:

Tattinger Domaine Carneros $22
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  #40  
Old 12-30-2004, 01:10 PM
bump bump is offline
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Well, I ended up with the Gruet Blanc de Noirs at $13 a bottle. For what it's worth, my choices had pretty much narrowed to:

Tattinger Domaine Carneros Brut $22
Gruet Brut or Blanc de Noirs $13
Piper Sonoma Brut or Blanc de Noirs $13
Chandon Brut or Blanc de Noirs $19

Between InternetLegend, Athena's and the guy at the wine store's recommendation, I chose the Gruet.
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  #41  
Old 12-30-2004, 01:30 PM
Necros Necros is offline
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Originally Posted by psycat90
As a side note - We spent our anniversary this past summer in Napa for a long weekend, touring different wineries up and down the valley. The Niebaum-Coppola estate was impressive and gorgeous, but there were just so many people there, it had almost a 'Disneyland of Wineries' feel. We didn't stick around very long, and headed instead to some more intimate wineries.
We were in Napa in late September, and got the same vibe from N-C. It was kinda unwelcoming, and the woman my wife spoke to came off very haughty. So we left, too.
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  #42  
Old 12-30-2004, 02:23 PM
Starving Artist Starving Artist is offline
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Originally Posted by psycat90
The best part about Sofia Blanc de Blancs is sipping it out of a little pink can with a straw.
Yes, I read this was happening. What I had was from a bottle. I wouldn't say it knocked my socks off either, but I thought it was quite delish, and besides, I don't really expect to have my socks knocked off by champagne in that price range anyway. (Not that there's anything wrong with $20 champagne, per se. Few of us can afford $150-a-bottle champagne all that often.)

And thanks for the info on the Coppola winery. I'd been entertaining fantasies of going there at some point, but it doesn't sound like what I pictured.
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  #43  
Old 12-30-2004, 02:32 PM
ShibbOleth ShibbOleth is offline
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Originally Posted by psycat90
The best part about Sofia Blanc de Blancs is sipping it out of a little pink can with a straw.
Is that known as felching Sofia?
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  #44  
Old 12-30-2004, 02:35 PM
Necros Necros is offline
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Originally Posted by Starving Artist
And thanks for the info on the Coppola winery. I'd been entertaining fantasies of going there at some point, but it doesn't sound like what I pictured.
Well, don't let it put you off visitng the Napa/Sonoma area. There are a large amount of winteries there, and almost all of them are very, very cool. Heck, even Gloria Ferrer, which seemed pretty dang huge to me, was welcoming and laid back. And the smaller wineries were even better. My wife is a big port fan, so we hung out in the kitchen of Prager (a port distillery) for a while, talking to the owner. The people who work in and run most wineries, it seems, have a passion for wine, and it's fun to share in their excitement. If you enjoy wine, it's definitely a trip you should make at some point.
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  #45  
Old 12-30-2004, 02:55 PM
Starving Artist Starving Artist is offline
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Thank you very much, Necros, but mno, I wouldn't be put off the region at all.

And I share your wife's affinity for port. Mmmm...port. (Just polished off a bottle of Sandeman's last night, as a matter of fact.)
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  #46  
Old 12-30-2004, 03:01 PM
Athena Athena is offline
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Yes, Necros, I did used to live in Boulder. And from what I can tell, Colorado prices are a little higher than California. Michigan prices are a lot higher, especially up here where they have to bring it in on dog sleds. On the other hand, we can buy liquor in the grocery stores and on Sunday.

In the great land of California, you can buy cheap wine in grocery stores AND on Sunday. If youse guys had pasties and a winter, I'd be living there.
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  #47  
Old 12-30-2004, 03:11 PM
ShibbOleth ShibbOleth is offline
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Originally Posted by Starving Artist
And I share your wife's affinity for port. Mmmm...port. (Just polished off a bottle of Sandeman's last night, as a matter of fact.)
We had a nice port (or is it "port style") from Rosemount Estates at a friend's Christmas party, it was called Old Benson and was a tawny port. I found it rather nice.
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  #48  
Old 12-30-2004, 05:01 PM
Dag Otto Dag Otto is online now
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Originally Posted by bump
Well, I ended up with the Gruet Blanc de Noirs at $13 a bottle.
I was going to recommend Gruet yesterday, but our network went down as I was ready to post. My wife likes Veuve Cliquot, but she doesn't find the Gruet that much different. Whoo Hoo, we can buy three bottles of Gruet for the price of one bottle of Veuve Cliquot. The Gruet family makes champagne in France also, but the New Mexico stuff is surprisingly good. I like the Blanc de Noirs just a little bit more than the Brut, but we're having the Brut this weekend. I think you are going to like it.
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  #49  
Old 12-30-2004, 06:13 PM
Starving Artist Starving Artist is offline
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Originally Posted by ShibbOleth
We had a nice port (or is it "port style") from Rosemount Estates at a friend's Christmas party, it was called Old Benson and was a tawny port. I found it rather nice.
Yes, to my taste both tawny and ruby port are quite nice (and they are both types of port) but they leave just a little to be desired (in my humble opinion, that is) when compared to straight port -- or porto, as it's also known. They are all pretty good, it's just that for me straight port just gives you a little more of what you already like about the other two.
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  #50  
Old 12-30-2004, 07:42 PM
Necros Necros is offline
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Originally Posted by Starving Artist
Yes, to my taste both tawny and ruby port are quite nice (and they are both types of port) but they leave just a little to be desired (in my humble opinion, that is) when compared to straight port -- or porto, as it's also known. They are all pretty good, it's just that for me straight port just gives you a little more of what you already like about the other two.
Uh, what? Both ruby and tawny ports are port. They are both wine fortified with brandy or cognac. As is every other type of port. There's no such thing as "straight port" unless you're talking about wine made from grapes from the Douro region, which is not port at all. The only difference in port are whether they are aged in wood or not. Color me
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