A couple of days ago we featured some of the Prestige Cuvées that we have on our shelves, but if you’re like me and can’t swing for the super-pricey stuff, here’s the good news: we’ve got the best selection of delicious Champagne (the real stuff, from Champagne, France) in town, ranging from $30-70 or so. We’ve also got a few unique American bottlings that fall into that price-point as well, so we’ve included them here. I’m all about bargain bubblies (we’ll feature those later!) but this is typically the one time a year I am 100% about splurging on a special bottle! Check ’em out!!
2009 Jacques Lorent Vintage Brut-We scored big time when we snagged two cases of this vintage bubbly which sells for substantially less than what it should. From the fantastic (if not quite as good as the stunning 2008) 2009 vintage, this wine is produced by a small cooperative of 250 Champagne growers (many of whose holdings amount to fewer than 5 acres each). It’s a blend of 50% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir, and 15% Pinot Meunier, and is aged for a minimum of 8 years prior to release. If you’ve ever wanted to taste beautifully-aged, vintage Champagne but don’t have the money to plunk down on a Prestigue Cuvee, this is absolutely, positively the wine for you. Seriously, don’t miss this! $48.99 on sale
“Vineyards around Epernay produced this now-mature Champagne. With a honeyed touch and attractive perfume, it is rich, full of secondary flavors. Drink the wine now.” 90pts Wine Enthusiast.
NV Jacques Lorent Grande Reserve Brut-One of the absolute best deals we’ve come across in entry-level, authentic Champagne. This cuvée is interesting in that it has a large proportion of Pinot Meunier in the blend. It’s sourced from 80 hectares of vineyards, farmed by a cooperative of 250 winegrowers, many of whom only own a small handful of acres. Dosage is 8 g/L. This is a fantastic introduction to true Champagne, at a price that simply cannot be beat! We received a small two-case allocation!! $29.99 on sale
“Lively, crunchy, and refreshing NV, with an interplay of citrus, raspberries and cream. The mousse has a saline effect and the finish is very long. Great value.” 91pts Decanter
NV Henriot Blanc de Blancs-This 100% Chardonnay is sourced from 12 different estate crus, with 50-70% of the wines coming from a single year (the base year) and 30-50% coming from reserve wines. It spends at least three years on the lees and is bottled with a dosage of less than 7 g/L. This is a delicious, relatively affordable Blanc de Blancs that deserves a lot more local support than it gets. $59.99 on sale
“Subtle notions of toast have a lovely tinge of lemon and roasted hazelnut on the nose. Lively mousse on a tender palate bubbles with toasty, nutty autolysis. As it warms up, the mousse softens and shows a sunny roundness of yellow stone fruit that sits well with the toasty yeast notes. Drinking window 2020-2025.” 93pts Decanter
NV Henriot Brut Rosé-This gorgeous blend is comprised of around 60% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Noir, and a dash (usually around 10%) Pinot Meunier. Around 60-80% of the blend comes from a single year, with 20-40% sourced from reserve wines and the remaining 8-10% from Pinot Noir wine (still). It spends at least three years on the lees, and is bottled with a dosage of less than 7 g/L. A fantastic, full-bodied, full-flavored brut rosé that will stand up to food. $69.99 on sale
“Spicy baked red and blackberry nose with a whiff of struck-match. The palate offers almond cake and red berry notes and glimpses of butter, nuts and lemon macaroon. A very goo rose to match salads and barbecued fish.” 95pts Decanter
NV Louis Roederer Brut “Collection 242”-The inaugural release of Roederer’s new Brut (this replaces the Brut Premier), this falls somewhere between a standard NV “house” blend and a vintage Champagne. The base of this wine is the 2017 vintage, and is Chardonnay-driven. This release is particularly special. It’s not only the inaugural vintage of this wine, there was also no Cristal or Cristal Rosé produced in 2017…this wine contains Roederer’s best lots! Brut Premier was delicious; this is a substantial step up! $59.99 on sale
“This debut release is very impressive indeed, wafting from the glass with notes of pear, peach, ripe citrus fruit, toasted almonds, fresh pastry and white flowers. Medium to full-bodied, pillowy and textural, it’s concentrated and layered, with lively acids, an enlivening pinpoint mousse and a long, sapid finish. Brut Premier was already a very persuasive wine, but the new Brut Collection nevertheless represents a step up.” 93+pts Robert Parker
NV Goldeneye Brut Rosé (North Coast)-From the Anderson Valley-based “Goldeneye” branch of the Duckhorn family of wines comes this brand-new North Coast designate Brut Rosé. It’s a substantially more affordable (and not winery-only!) take on their vintage-dated Anderson Valley Brut Rosé. And it’s delicious. A blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier, a traditional-method sparkler that sees 26 months on the lees. It’s classy, a bit sassy, and seductive, and is perfect for brunch or aperitif hour!! $39.99 on sale (and only at Rockbridge Hy-Vee!!)
NV Domaine Chandon “Étoile” Brut-Now here’s something beautiful and out of the ordinary. Everyone is familiar with Moët & Chandon’s French Champagnes, and many are also familiar with the house’s American arm, Domaine Chandon. The latter’s bubblies typically run in the $18-30 range, and are good value for the money. This though, is something else. A blend of 52% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir, an 3% Pinot Meunier, aged on the lees for a minimum of 5 years prior to release, this is just stunning stuff, but it’s rarely seen on store shelves. $54.99 on sale
“Flinty nose, butter, yellow stone fruit, toasted bread. Very refreshing on the palate with fine knit mousse. Very classy. One for the long haul.” 95pts Decanter
NV Delamotte Brut-This is one of those that is sadly overlooked in the market, but it represents a fantastic value! Blended from 60% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir, and 5% Pinot Meunier, it’s always elegant and effortlessly classy. This spends 36 months on the lees and is a fantastic bottling for those who like their Champagne with a bit of mineral zip. $55.99 on sale
“A minerally Champagne, with a streak of smoke, chalk and oyster shell notes supporting flavors of Asian pear, star fruit and candied lemon peel as they ride the creamy mousse. Racy, focused finish.” 91pts Wine Spectator
NV Le Mesnil Champagne Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru-This one has always been a stunner. It’s 100% Chardonnay, from 100% Grand Cru vines, in the environs of Le Mesnil Sur Oger, one of the most lauded and hallowed centers of Champagne production. This was always a best-seller at my own store, and since we’ve picked it up here, it’s already building a following. This spends three years on the lees, and is bottled with a dosage of 9.6 g/L. $42.99 on sale
NV Lanson “Black Label” Brut-This drastically underrated Brut is pulled from 100 crus, with 50% of the grapes sourced from grands and premier crus. The blend is 50% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay, and 15% Pinot Meunier, and 35% of the blend is made up of reserve wine. It ages on the lees for four full years and is bottled with a dosage of 8 g/L. $42.99 on sale
“…from 100 villages in all, and including 30% reserves from 10 vintages back to 1995; a small proportion now being produced with malolactic. Black Label remains the confident barometer of Lanson, and Hervé Dantan’s first blend is a class act, a resounding statement of his talent in preserving the style and integrity of the house while meticulously polishing the edges. It’s a very important cuvée in the grand scheme of Champagne: one of the best and most consistent of the bargain set.” 92pts Decanter
NV Nicolas Feuillatte Reserve Exclusive Brut-One of the best values of the “big name” cuvées, this blend of 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier, and 20% Chardonnay ages on the lees for between 3-4 years and is perfect as an aperitif Champagne, especially with seafood appetizers! We’ve only had this for a couple of months, but it’s already been a huge hit with our customers! $37.99 on sale
“A harmonious Champagne in an aperitif style that appeals for its fine balance, lightly mouthwatering acidity and pretty flavors of ripe apple and raspberry fruit, pickled ginger, toast and lemon zest. Drink now.” 91pts Wine Spectator
Well, there ya have it! If you’re looking for a special, but affordable (at least for a special occasion!) bottle of bubbly, this guide should help you pick out something you’re sure to love! We’ve got the best selection and prices in town, so come on down and see us this weekend!