Thursday, February 4, 2010
Choosing a Value Champagne for Valentine's Day
Although I spend my day in the world of healthcare IT, the areas I'm truly expert are mushroom toxicology, wine making, and outdoor activities in New England.
Whenever I'm asked to pick a wine at a restaurant, I search for the value wine - the best quality wine for the price, since there is seldom a relationship between price and quality. One hint on the menu - the second most expensive wine has the most markup. Since most people are afraid to buy the cheapest wine on the menu, it often has the least markup.
Valentine's Day is 10 days away and you may be buying Champagne (defined as a sparkling wine produced in the Champagne region of France)
Here's my guide to value Champagnes. My favorite houses are Roederer, Moet et Chandon, and Taittinger. Each has a famous Tete de Cuvee - the top of the line from any Champagne house. Each also makes a great French value Champagne and a great Domestic sparkling wine. Here are my recommendations
The house - Roederer
The tete de cuvée - Cristal $179.00
The value Champagne - Roederer Brut Premier $36.99
The sparkling wine - Roederer Estate Anderson Valley $18.99
The house - Moet et Chandon
The tete de cuvée - Dom Perignon $120.00
The value Champagne - Moet Chandon, Imperial $34.99
The sparkling wine - Domain Chandon $14.99
The house - Taittinger
The tete de cuvée - Taittinger "Comtes de Champagne" $104.99
The value Champagne - Taittinger La Francaise Brut Champagne $34.99
The sparkling wine - Domaine Carneros $19.99
What will I serve on Valentine's Day? Roederer Brut Premier. To me, it's the best value in Champagne - approaching Cristal perfection but at a fraction of the price.
Three hints -
1. Never suggest mixing good Champagne with orange juice. Mimosa's made with Dom Perginon taste about the same as those made with Andre Cold Duck.
2. Serve your champagne in a traditional Champagne flute to maintain a constant temperature and the right degree of carbonation release.
3. Keep a Champagne stopper handy to recork the bottle and retain the carbonation. You can keep a great Champagne in the refrigerator for days this way.
Posted by John Halamka at 3:00 AM