The Winemakers and Champagne Houses Making Their Mark With U.S. Consumers Ahead of New Year’s Eve
Amid all the consumerism is (sometimes) some yuletide fun, often shepherded by warm spirits, mulled wines, and—of course—bubbly bottles of Champagne.
Always an easy gift for a host or hostess at a holiday party, there are many new options for U.S. consumers to consider as a number of smaller (as well as familiar) French houses have started to bring their trademark sparkling wines across the Atlantic.
Champagne Pommery: Newly released, the Pommery Blanc de Blancs is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes, sourced from the northern terrain of the Montagne de Reims and the hills of Nogent l’Abbesse. According to the winemakers, this particular terroir combination lends a special springlike freshness to the cuvée. The bubbly offers subtle floral notes of jasmine as well as acacia, linden, and citrus fruit, notably fresh apple and yellow grapefruit. SRP: $67.
Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte: Perhaps the most ready for your holiday fêtes that surely will end up on Instagram, Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte has a number of options to wow guests, starting with pint-sized Champagne bottles. (Maybe a bit gauche, but then again, no glassware that needs to be cleaned. Just toss in the recycle bin after). The single-serve bottles, in either the traditional Brut Réserve or Brut Rosé, also come with—wait for it—a wrist strap for making it easy to carry around the party. (Certainly solves the problem of where to put your drink while trying to eat at a cocktail party.)
For something a little more serious, but no less fun, are the 2018 Limited-Edition Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte “Enchanted Meadow” bottle with an elaborate holiday wonderland-inspired exterior as well as the very high-end Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte’s Palmes d’Or, one of the house’s finest crus aged for at least six years to advance the delicate flavor. SRP: $13 for the Signature One Fo(u)r 87-milliliter bottles; $36 for the Enchanted Meadow; $136-$200 for the Palmes d’Or.
Moët & Chandon: As one of the world’s largest wine producers, Moët & Chandon isn’t taking the holiday season off. The 149-year-old house is releasing a limited edition series of”Art-de-Vivre” bottles, featuring iconic Parisian elements such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre as well as images synonymous with the brand, like a champagne tower and the logo neck ties. SRP: $39.99 for the Moët Impérial Brut; $49.99 for the Moët Impérial Rosé; and $59.99 for the Moët Nectar Impérial Blanc, touted by the house to be “tropical, exciting, and daring” with flavors of pineapple and mango.
Luc Belaire: Crafted by a 5th- and 6th-generation father-and-son team at a 118-year-old house in Burgundy, Luc Belaire might not be able to implement the official “Champagne” label given its geographical location, but it does reside in the heart of one of the world’s most well-known and respected wine regions. Produced from a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, Belaire Brut Gold is a versatile option as its winemakers tout it as ideal for pairing with nearly any menu. To get a better idea of what you’re working with, the Brut Gold, the latest addition to the Luc Belaire portfolio, sports a hint of stone fruits (pear and peach) and brioche with a dry finish. For the dosage, Luc Belaire uses organic sugar cane, which the company says offers more structure to the wine while leaning on a style popularized during the 1920s. SRP: $30-$35.
Frank Family Vineyards: For something also outside of the traditional Champagne region but inspired by the style all the same is Frank Family Vineyards in California’s Napa Valley. The 2014 Sparkling Brut Rosé, a blend of 88% Pinot Noir grapes and 12% Chardonnay, is made in the traditional French method in which the secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle. The wine is then rested on the spent yeast cells for two and a half years before disgorgement. Almost millennial pink to its core, the Brut Rosé will likely impress oenophiles of any age or experience with wine thanks to its balanced palate of summery, fruit flavors (namely strawberry sherbert, orange peel, and red cherry) with a number of toasty and creamy nuances. SRP: $55.
Prosecco Pie: Not everyone is a sparkling wine lover. But what if I told you that you could consume sparkling wine—namely a very familiar Italian varietal—in…pie form? For over 33 years, Manhattan’s The Little Pie has gained a cult following—including with some familiar names like Oprah and Sarah Jessica Parker. This holiday season, The Little Pie Company collaborated with Tuscan wine producer Ruffino to produce a seasonal pie inspired by the apple and citrus flavors in the Italian winemaker’s signature Prosecco. The real star here is the topping to the pie rather than the filling itself, with strands of salted caramel criss-crossing a bed of brown sugar and warm apples. The pies are available in 5-inch and 10-inch sizes—the former of which comes with, naturally, a mini bottle of Ruffino Prosecco. SRP: $9.50 for the 5-inch version and $35 for the full-sized pie, plus shipping for delivery nationwide.