Champagne. Cava. Prosecco – we like all bubbly beverages around these parts. We’re also lucky enough to have Andrew Algren at the helm of our wine program in Cherry Circle Room. In the spirit of holiday giving, Andrew has shared his favorite baller and budget bottle picks for all your celebration needs.
Weingut Burg Ravensburg “Rabanus” Riesling Sekt Brut 2008
It wouldn’t be right for me to not kick this list off with a Riesling given my own propensities for the grape. This property can trace its history back to 930 AD, with this bottling being named in honor of its founder. The 2008 is a current release, seeing disgorgement in 2014 having spent approximatley six years en tirage (contact with the lees, or yeast sediment in the bottle after secondary fermentation). Bright, crisp, and clean with a low dosage, absolutely perfect to kick the New Year of auf Deutsch.
Jo Landron “Atmospheres” Brut MV
Loire Valley, France
A personal favorite from one of my favorite producers of Muscadet, on the far western edge of the Loire River. The blend here is non-traditional (80% Pinot Noir and 20% Folle Blanche) so it cannot bear the Muscadet moniker, but that driving minerality carries through with a heaping helping of fresh apple and pear. While supply in Chicago right now is dwindling, I have it on good authority that a fresh disgorgement should be arriving just in time for New Years Eve!
Domaine des Terres Dorées “FRV100″ NV
For those looking to keep a slightly more level head but still enjoy some bubbles, this bottle clocks in at just 7.5% abv. A deep rosé made from all Gamay, look for plenty of ripe, sweet berries and playful effervesce. Made in the Methode Ancestrale (spontaneous fermentation begins in tank and then the partially fermented wine is moved to bottle and sealed to trap the ongoing production of C02) which in this case leaves a good degree of residual sugar for those with a sweet tooth.
Scar of the Sea California Hard Cider 2014
Santa Maria, California
Approx $13 for a 375mL bottle
To switch things up but still get that carbonation fix, try try this stunning cider coming from the Scar of the Sea winery located in the Central Coast of California. A blend of Arkansas Black, Idared, Red Ashtrachan, Williams Pride and Mutsu apples from Paso Robles It is barrel fermented with native yeast in French oak barrels and barrel aged sur lie for 3 months. A second fermentation in bottle provides the sparkle and fully dries this cider out. This offering is infinitely quaffable with a tart, clean finish. Track this one down as soon as possible as total production was only 336 cases.
Raventós i Blanc “L’Hereu” Reserva Brut Conca del Riu Anoia 2013
This producer began to revolutionize Cava production in the 1980s through their efforts to focus on native varietals, estate grown fruit, and a top-tier approach in the winery. This dedication to quality led the family to leave the Cava appellation in 2012, which they felt had become flooded with low quality offerings. The new designation of Conca del Riu Anoia now adorns this bottle which is a blend of Macabeu, Xarel-lo, and Parellada. A very light hand with dosage leaves a bone dry wine with intense chalky mineral tones. Just the thing to wake up your palate and keep the party going well into the wee hours.
For the Ballers:
Pierre Moncuit “Cuvée Pierre Moncuit-Delos” Brut Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs NV
Les Mesnil-Sur-Oger, Champagne
Approx $45 (750mL) $200 (3000mL)
An exceptional 100% Chardonnay bottling from the Grand Cru vineyard of Les Mesnil-Sur-Oger in the Côte des Blancs of Champagne. All vinification and ageing takes place in stainless steel, allowing the chalky, mineral character of the soil to shine through. This wine is an absolute treat, and better yet is available in jeroboams (3000mL) bottles so you can make lots of friends during this year’s celebrations!
Larmandier-Bernier “Rosé de Saignée” Extra Brut Premier Cru NV
Bone dry pink bubbles coming from the biodynamic duo of Pierre and Sophie Larmandier. This bottling is pure Pinot Noir from the family vineyards in Vertus. As opposed the usual style of rosé Champagne in which red wine is blended into existing white wine, a saignée is made in the more traditional method. There is a brief period of skin contact before the juice is bled away, retaining a pale pink hue.
Bouchard Roses de Jeanne “La Bolorée” Brut Nature Blanc de Blancs 2011
Cedric Bouchard is a madman of individual parcels coming from his holdings in the Aube district in southern Champagne. La Bolorée is a 0.2107 hectares parcel planted to Pinot Blanc in 1960. An amazing menthol character and intruiging texture make this a bottle to grab whenever you see it as production is almost non-existent.
Saint-Chamant “Cuvée de Chardonnay” Brut Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs 2005
This release comes from the cellar of Christian Coquillette who holds hundreds of thousands of bottles in his mile long cellar below an unassuming house in Epernay. The fruit is source from the Grand Cru of Chouilly in the Vallée de la Marne in western Champagne. Truly decadent with deep flavors of toast and vanilla. An excellent match for a truffle and caviar topped omelette to cure your first hangover of 2016!
Egly-Ouriet “V.P.” Extra Brut Grand Cru NV
Ambonnay, Verzenay, and Bouzy, Champagne
The signature of Egly-Ouriet, this wine spends six years sur lees drawing out a rich, almost caramelized character. Fermented completely in barrel, this bottling shows hazelnut and red fruit with white pepper on the finish. The body and profile are enough to stand up on the dinner table to the likes of duck, lamb, and even a côte de bœuf!