Buzz is all about public service journalism, and a harrowing ordeal has spurred us into action.
A friend announced she was serving this $6-a-bottle hootch on New Year’s Eve and asked if we thought that was a good idea. It is not. Do not buy cheap bubbly unless you are christening a ship or plan to win the World Series or a NASCAR race.
If you intend to consume sparkling wine rather than wear it, back away from the bottom shelf in the Kroger wine aisle and pay attention. We’re here to help.
The New York Times ran a nifty under-$40 champagne round-up the other day, recommending labels including Nicolas Feuillatte and Louis Roederer but snubbing Veuve Clicquot. We stopped by Hop City’s champagne tasting at Bocado the other night. It featured Veuve Du Vernay, a decent and inexpensive choice which is the house bubbly at restaurants like FAB (and the Neiman Marcus cafe, I think); Perrier-Jouët, which a nice choice for gift-giving and Argyle, a sparkling out of Oregon. Who knew?
Wine guy Hardy Wallace was good enough to share some of his considerable wisdom, too. The author of the Dirty South Wine Blog is currently the blogger in residence at the Murphy-Goode Winery in California, the sweetest gig in the world (with the possible exception of Peter Liam, putting in long hours in Champagne, drinking champagne and blogging about it.)
“People should drink sparkling all the time,” Wallace said, clearly clairvoyant, since he was quoting what our tombstone will say. “Enjoy it. Go to it without fear.”
His picks include Riondo Prosecco for those looking for a $10 bottle to toast with, and Gruet for those spending a few bucks more. Wallace likes Scharffenberger’s brut at around $16, and Weingut Michlits is an Austrian sparkling pinot noir that’s caught his eye. ”It’s really pink.”
“It’s almost purple,” Wallace said. “It’s a super awesome little crowd pleaser. It’s unique enough that no one’s going to say, oh no, not another Bugey-Cerdon!”
At $40 and up Wallace likes Francoise Bedel’s Entre Ciel et Terre brut, declaring it to be “friggin’ phenomenal,” and the champagne you need to stock when he’s coming to visit is Jacquesson Champagne Cuvee No. 733. It’s about $65, so hide it from everyone else.