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BEST CHAMPAGNE PICKS FOR HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS

HighLifeChannel December 21, 2018
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Festive, fancy, and perfectly effervescent, Champagne has become the universal beverage of choice for celebrations. Whether you’re celebrating a loved one’s success, toasting with your besties at a holiday gathering, or dammit, you’re just really feeling yourself and looking for a little something special to sip as you dine, Champagne always brings the cheer. It’s a classic, crowd-pleasing, and food-friendly beverage choice perfect for virtually any special occasion.

In order to find the very best bubbly, the bestproducts.com  team tasted our way through 10 top-selling Champagnes and sparkling wines under $100. We gathered over 15 editors’ honest feedback on five main criteria areas: First impressions, tasting notes, recommended pairings, overall versatility, and value.

The kicker: We also conducted this tasting with the price tag hidden until the completion of testing, so that cost wouldn’t affect our honest critique. After tasting everything from wallet-friendly sparkling wines from California, to some of France’s most popular and beloved Champagnes, we’ve compiled our findings and are here to guide you in the right direction for the holiday season. Hey, it was a tough job, but someone had to do it!

1.Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Champagne

Bright, crisp, and creamy, with notes of honey and just a little bit of salt on the finish, this Champagne from Ruinart is truly delicious. Across the board, our taste testers identified prominent notes of tart Granny Smith apples, citrus, and oak in this Champagne. Our team member Melanie Yates thought this bubbly would pair especially well with rich baked brie and fatty or oily fish dishes.

More affordable than other Champagne options of similar quality and depth, Ruinart’s Blanc de Blancs is a bottle to savor for special occasions this holiday season.

2. Veuve Clicquot Rosé Champagne

One of the most recognizable names in the world of premium Champagne, you’ll always impress with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot, but especially if it’s a rosé Champagne.

Our testers found this Champagne to strike the perfect balance between sweet and dry, with juicy notes of strawberries, citrus, and cotton candy. Our editor Jill Fergus recommends sipping this Champagne alongside desserts like cake or light pastries. If you’re looking for a slightly sweeter bubbly to pair with sweet holiday treats or a boozy weekend brunch, go for the Veuve.

Fruity, full-bodied, and stunning with its coppery orange hue, this sparkling rosé will bring brightness and fun to any cozy holiday get-together.

Veuve Clicquot Rose

3. Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve Champagne

Ranked among Vinepair’s top wines of 2018, this Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve stands up to some of its more well-known (and significantly more expensive) competitors from France. Our testers found this sparkling wine to be the driest out of the six bottles tasted. Our editors Erica Murphy and Ashley Phillips both identified a slightly tart, tangy taste and a sharp floral aroma.

Refreshing, crisp, and dry on the finish, this super food-friendly bubbly pairs well with arugula salads, creamy cheese, and dried fruit. Much more affordable than some other well-known Champagne brands, yet equally elegant and delicious, this bubbly is a great value for holiday celebrations.

4. Perrier-Jouët ​Grand Brut NV Champagne​

We know we shouldn’t judge a Champagne by its label, but this Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut is almost too pretty to be true. Made primarily from a blend of chardonnay and pinot noir grapes, this delicate Champagne gets a slightly fruity, well-rounded flavor thanks to the addition of lesser-known Pinot Meunier grapes.

Our testers found this bubbly to taste light, flowery, and dry, and our editor Asya Akchurin noted an “acidic and mineral aftertaste.” We think this Champagne tastes best with bittersweet chocolate desserts or slightly sour aged cheeses thanks to its dry finish.

Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut NV Champagne

5. Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne Brut

Frances’s number one selling Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte is a delicate and sensual bubbly bursting with fresh floral notes — perfect for toasting an intimate occasion like an engagement party, a special anniversary, or a housewarming. Across the board, our testers thought this bubbly tasted light, fruity, and refreshing. Our team member Bridget Clegg identified strong plum notes and thought this bubbly would taste great paired with red grapes, rye crackers, and goat cheese.

At a super reasonable price point, this bubbly is perfect for virtually any celebration. If your goal is to set the mood, you’ll want to make sure you have a bottle of this on hand.

Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne Brut

6. Mumm Napa Cuvee M Sparkling Wine

This pinot noir and chardonnay blend from Napa Valley is bursting with bright notes of orange blossom, lemon, and pear, with a yummy creaminess that makes it perfect to pair with savory cheese boards, dessert, or weekend brunch. Although it’s not technically a Champagne by origin, this sparkling option is rated 91 by Wine Enthusiast and is a killer value for the price.

Our testers found this sparkling wine to be the sweetest bubbly out of all the bottles we tested. Our editor katie McBroom  called out a faint floral aroma and described the taste of the wine as “sweet and fruity.” A delicious match for equally sweet cheeses, melon, and rich desserts, this is a solid sparkling-wine option that won’t break the bank.

Mumm Napa Cuvee M Sparkling Wine

7. Bollinger Brut Special Cuvée Champagne

Wine guru Wilfred Wong of Wine.com awarded this Bollinger Brut Special Cuvée an impressive 94 for its consistently smooth, rich, and firmly structured character. Slightly spicier and more robust than other Champagne varieties, this bubbly has a rich golden hue, which is distinctive of black grape varieties.

We love to sip Bollinger on its own for toasting special occasions, though it’s certainly food-friendly enough to pair with spicy charcuterie, meatier appetizers, and sharp cheese.

Bollinger Brut Special Cuvee

8. Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial

This radiant pink rosé Champagne from Moët & Chandon is fruity, crisp, and effervescent — the perfect bubbly for special celebrations. We think this pretty bottle would also make a splash at bridal showers, engagement celebrations, or brunch parties this holiday season.

Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial Champagne

9. Bereche Brut Reserve Champagne NV

One of Master Sommelier Dustin Wilson’s top picks, this Bereche Brut Reserve Champagne is, as the sommelier writes, “Quite simply one of the best $40 wines, of any type, you’ll ever taste.” This Champagne pairs especially well with seafood and sushi and will make a big splash at any special occasion.

Bereche 'Brut Reserve' Champagne NV

10. Lucien Albrecht Rosé Crémant d’Alsace Sparkling Wine

A staff pick from popular alcohol delivery services Drizly, this Rosé Sparkling Wine from Alsace, France, has a fresh and earthy wild strawberry flavor and pretty salmon hue. While it’s technically a sparkling wine and not a Champagne, this bubbly still makes us feel like we’re celebrating.

At a super affordable price point, this is the bottle you’ll want to have on-hand to pair with fresh appetizers this holiday season.

Lucien Albrecht Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rose

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