Sometimes I feel like someone out there doesn’t want Champagne to be an everyday drink. Working at a Champagne bar, I get every excuse in the book; it’s too expensive, it gives me a headache, the bubbles hurt, and my favorite… rosés are too sweet.
Why don’t people drink more Champagne? I think there is hope; all we have to do is gain some momentum and people will get ‘into it’ like some people are into fashion, cars, food, exercise, etc… unfortunately this is missing. Go to your local wine shop and see how much space is dedicated to Champagne (or even sparkling wines) compared to red or white wines. Listen at a wine bar and count how many times you hear ‘Champagne’, ‘bubbles’, and ‘Le Mesnil’ compared to how many times you hear ‘cab’, ‘full bodied’ and ‘Napa’. Apparently Champagne is not enough of a wine to be talked about.
Since its early days, Champagne has been recognized as the “wine of kings, and the king of wines.” Legendary and contemporary sommeliers have gone on record saying that Champagne may be the best wine to pair with a meal, from beginning to end. We reserve it for our most precious moments; weddings, birthdays, new years and anniversaries. Why then is it forgotten about for the other 364 days out of the year? Weird if you ask me, but then again… I may be a poster boy for hedonism, nothing like Champagne and Foie Grois for breakfast. I digress…
Drinking Champagne doesn’t have to be expensive. There is absolutely nothing wrong with some Crémant de Bourgogne, Crémant de Alsace or even some domestic bubblies, and they are all under $20. Try the Parigot & Richard bubblies from Burgundy, Lucien Albrecht from Alsace or a recent favorite at POP Champagne Bar, the Domaine Rolet Crémant de Jura. These are all great stand alone wines that I myself enjoy often. Here are a few more suggestions, all rosés…
Raventos i Blanc 2007 Cava Rosé – What a great bottle of Cava rosé. Super fine and creamy and showing a pale pink color. Delicate notes of raspberry and other red fruits and a dry finish. I had two bottles of this on my birthday. Oh you fancy, huh! Follow Raventos i Blanc on Twitter: @RaventosiBlanc
Gruet Rosé – New Mexico in the house. What a great buy, made by a french family that also makes Champagne in France. This struts a juicy fruit profile and a stunning pink color. Can be found for like $13 at some stores, which makes this an ‘everyday’ Champagne. Follow Gruet Winery on Twitter: @GruetWinery
Luis Pato Baga – When was the last time you had a Portuguese sparking rosé? It seems as though this was made for pork dishes. Pork belly, carnitas, sausages, all of it. A lighter style, but packed with minerals and acidity. The freshness makes this one fun.
Camille Saves Grand Cru Rosé – This is a real Champagne, from france. A little bit more money for this (around $80) but this will change your life. One of my all time favorite rosés, and one of my favorite Champagnes in general. This is all about power without weight, a sensual experience… but it’s kinda rough too. Think “chains and whips excite me…” Had one of these on my birthday. Highly recommended when you are ready for it.
Schramsberg Rosé – Always a vintage, and always good. This is a good rosé to give to a wine drinker. On the fuller side, with a touch of tannin, but a whole lot of creamy fruit; think strawberries and cream. This never disappoints, and you can find this for about $25. Also had one of these on my birthday.
That should be enough to get you started. I hope that you go out and buy some bubbly and see if you prefer it to a normal bottle of still wine. Please your thoughts and reactions below.
Rafael Sanchez, Sommelier
POP Champagne and Dessert Bar
Follow on Twitter: @POPChampagneBar