Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
Among the great divides in the world - red states vs. blue states, vegetarians vs. carnivores, the Yankees vs., well, pretty much the world - there is also the great split amongst wine with bubbles. Essentially: There is Champagne, and then there is everything else.
For a bit more complexity, track down the NV Adami Garbèl ($15) or, if rosé is your preference, the graceful, gently effervescent 2011 Nino Franco Faìve ($22).
At the inexpensive level, it’s hard to do better than the NV Segura Viudas Aria Brut ($11) or the refreshing NV Covides Casteller Brut ($13). For a Cava that rivals the quality of many Champagnes at about half the price, look for the terrific 2009 Gramona Gran Cuvée ($25).
Oregon’s Argyle, in addition to making top-notch Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, makes some of the country’s best bubbly; the creamy 2010 Argyle Vintage Brut ($27) is a case in point.
Regardless, the delicate NV Laurent-Perrier Brut ($35) is a steal for the price. For anyone wanting to check out the grower world, the thrillingly precise NV Champagne Pierre Peters Cuvée de Reservé ($50) is a fine place to start. And if you want to make an impression, Ruinart’s NV Blanc de Blancs ($65), in addition to being a beautifully balanced, multi-layered wine, comes in a distinctive bottle based on a design from the 1700s. It’d be an excellent way to ring in the New Year.
© 2011 American Express Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.
« Previous entryThink outside the bottle for wine gifts