10 best champagne and sparkling wine brands 2022
We should drink sparkling wine at all times. At least that’s what Amy Racine thinks, named Esquire Beverage Director of the Year for her extensive wine list at Iris in New York (a best new Esquire restaurant of 2021). Sparkling wine is “the Red Bull of wine,” she says, because even if it doesn’t give you wings, it uplifts you and fills you with a good mood. I can’t think of a hotter product than The Good Spirit these days.
Champagne, by definition, is a sparkling wine made in a certain way only by certain people in a certain region of France: Champagne. You probably know it. You can get old and fancy bottles of champagne that are quite expensive, and these vintages certainly have their merit. You can also get labels from top brands you recognize, and while a person like Racine may notice inconsistencies from bottle to bottle, they will taste very good to you. (A dry brut can work wonders as a champagne cocktail, regardless of its mass production.) At Iris, an Aegean restaurant, she serves a Greek sparkling wine called Amalia Brut. Spain bottles cavas that it considers comparable to champagne. And she has an eye on British sparklers – who knew? – which tend to be more tart and more mineral.
Moral of the story: Look for small champagne producers when you can: “A first and last producer name that is French is probably a good place to start, rather than a house name,” Racine advises. Champagne origins. Any sparkling wine is better than no sparkling wine. Before heading to your specialty wine store, here are the brands of champagne and sparkling wines that Racine finds most intriguing right now.
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Champagne Vueve Clicquot
“Veuve Clicquot is one of the most recognized brands in the world. It’s up there with Puma and Nike, ”says Racine. And labels can say a lot. Veuve Clicquot sells bottles after bottles of its brut Label Jaune, but also extra brut, up to its special cuvées and La Grande Dame, a bottle inspired by the woman who made the champagne house grow in the early 1800s, Madame Clicquot. .
Shop From $ 58, drizly.com
Champagne Dom Pérignon Vintage
You are probably also familiar with this label. “The Dom Pérignon wines of the world, the vintages, are classic and iconic, and I think they are very good,” says Racine. Vintage champagnes as a category are rare, expensive, and remarkably interesting in themselves, regardless of brand. “If you get, for example, a very aged vintage champagne and it has a few years on it, it can be almost still and have really deep and flavorful characters.”
Shop From $ 239, reservebar.com
This is one of Racine’s favorites: a blanc de blancs champagne (that is to say made only from white grapes) which is also a Grand Cru (that is to say grown on leading French real estate). Producer Aurélien Suenen played professional basketball before taking over the family business in Champagne.
Shop $ 80, thewhiskyexchange.com
Champagne André Heucq
Racine calls the sustainably produced Assemblage champagne that André Heucq bottles “a great non-vintage which is probably a very good starting point”. Simply put, it’s complex, but not that insanely expensive, and it will inspire you to delve deeper into sparkling wines.
Shop $ 44, living.eco
Philippe Foreau Vouvray Brut
Racine describes Philippe Foreau’s brut Vouvray as “sparkling wine for the price” which is not made in Champagne – Vouvray is another region of France – but which remains dry and delicious. In general, she describes the sparkling wines of Vouvray as “still very dry, but with honey-chamomile flavors”.
Champagne Geoffroy Rosé de Saignée
“In Champagne, it’s like the only place in the world where it’s acceptable to make a rosé by literally mixing red wine with white wine, rather than the rest of the world, [where] if you want to make a socially acceptable rosé, you do something called bleeding, which means “to bleed” “, explains Racine. This” bleeding “consists of soaking the skins of red grapes in the juice to give it a rosy tint, and the Champagne winegrowers are not uncompromising with this method because it is so difficult. to grow But Geoffroy Champagne takes the hard route, using the bleeding method rather than the blending method, “and I think that’s really cool,” says Racine.
Shop $ 72, totalwine.com
Pierre Sparr Crémant D’Alsace Brut Reserve
East of Champagne, Alsace produces dry sparkling wines to watch out for. Pierre Sparr is one of them and his bottles of brut are not expensive at all.
Shop $ 19, totalwine.com
Juvé y Camps Cava
Cava makers follow the same steps as champagne makers, except they do it in Spain and use Spanish grapes. “Juvé y Camps cava is also a good sparkling wine that could be found in a good wine merchant,” explains Racine. Its cavas range from blends to single-varietals, with Reserva de la Familia being the most widely available.
Shop Starting at $ 19, drizly.com
Caraccioli Caves Brut Cuvée
Look to California if you want to stay in the United States with your sparkling wine. Racine considers the sparkling vintages of Caraccioli from the highlands of Saint Lucia among the “great” ones.
Shop $ 52 caracciolicellars.com
Champagne Louis De Sacy
Racine will drink a glass of champagne from Louis De Sacy to celebrate the New Year at Iris. The producer’s selection includes his classic Original Cuvée and a few vintages.
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