Bring The Bubbles

There will be many small, subdued, at-home celebrations of the holidays this year. So, offset the socially-restricted reality by treating yourself to a special bottle of bubbles. You’ve earned it. Following are a few suggestions from area experts O&A values:

 

Champagne J. Lassalle

Angeline Templier is a woman to be admired. Even in 2020, female winemakers are still alarmingly uncommon. Not only is Angeline Templier among the top in her field, she also hails from a family who boasts her as their third-generation female winemaker. Although founded by her grandfather in 1942, she follows in the footsteps of her grandmother Olga and her mother Chantal who took over after her grandfather’s death in 1982. J. Lassalle Champagne is also a member of the esteemed “Club Tresors de Champagnes.” They are one of 28 growers, of the nearly 5,000 in Champagne, who are lucky enough to be a part of this historically acclaimed jury of experts. The members of the Club only release their specially bottled wines in tandem for vintages they unanimously declare “excellent.’” Here at the Wine & Spirit Company and Tim’s Liquors, we are huge fans of the elegant style of Angeline’s wines. We are currently carrying two of her house blends and two of her club bottlings. To us, these are some of our favorites to toast 2021:

J. Lassalle ‘Preference’ Brut NV, $49.00

Pale yellow and with a finely knit mousse, the bouquet is full of fresh peaches, pears, white flowers, and subtle buttery notes. Finishes with lovely citrusy acidity.

J. Lassalle Special Club Brut 2012, $141.99

Dominated by minerality and freshness and underlined with a hint of herbal notes, apricot, and peach flavors. The pedigree is evident and it is truly a joy to sip.

— Riley Quinn, Wine & Spirits Co. (Greenville)


Soter Mineral Springs Brut Rose, $64.99

Tony Soter consulted and made wines for years in Napa before moving back to Oregon. His Mineral Springs Ranch in Willamette Valley is certified organic and biodynamically farmed. Hints of fresh baked bread, roses and strawberries leads to flavors of rich summer berries. The finish is bright, fresh and clean for a lasting flavorful mouth feel. This is the best sparkling wine made in North America.

— John Murray, Proprietor, State Line Liquors (Elkton, Md.)


Soter Mineral Springs Brut Rose, $64.99

Tony Soter consulted and made wines for years in Napa before moving back to Oregon. His Mineral Springs Ranch in Willamette Valley is certified organic and biodynamically farmed. Hints of fresh baked bread, roses and strawberries leads to flavors of rich summer berries. The finish is bright, fresh and clean for a lasting flavorful mouth feel. This is the best sparkling wine made in North America.

— John Murray, Proprietor, State Line Liquors (Elkton, Md.)


Domaine Bérêche et Fils Brut Reserve NV, $60

To steal a line from Tony the Tiger, in the pantheon of grower champagnes Domaine Bereche is “more than good—they’re grrreat!” A perennial favorite among New York City sommeliers, the Domaine’s Brut Reserve is comprised of equal parts Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Great Champagne is redolent of great architecture, a sublime vinous structure, forged and constructed by the amalgamation of vigneron, vine and environment. Bereche’s wines have always reminded me of Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright championed the idea of organic architecture, and all the human toil, ingenuity and engineering of the winery percolates in perfect harmony with nature in the glass. On the palate, the wine is sheer precision, as if fruit, mineral and light were held together by Fallingwater.

— Dave Govatos, Owner, SWIGG Real Wine (Wilm.)


Schramsberg Blanc de Noir, $44.99

If I had to pick one bubbly here on North Union Street, my absolute favorite go-to is Schramsberg Blanc de Noir from Napa Valley. It’s a blend of 81% Pinot Noir and 9% Chardonnay and provides a perfect bead of bubbles from start to finish. It starts with baked apples and bread dough with a hint of ginger on the explosive bouquet. It follows with full-bodied, creamy texture on the palate and provides generous flavors of peach, strawberry and almonds. This pretty much blows away all the mass-produced Champagne from the big four (Moët, Clicquot, Mumm and Perrier Jouet) at $20 less per bottle.

— Frank Pagliaro, Owner/Wine Buyer, Franks Wine Beer & Spirits (Wilm.)


Beaumont Crayeres Brut Limited Edition Champagne, $39.99

It’s 60% Pinot meunière, 25% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Noir and 100% perfect with flavors of brioche, dried fruit and pear. A lovely New Year’s celebration of duck with a cherry glaze would bring out the Pinot meunière in the wine and certainly brighten up you table as you welcome in the New Year.

— Linda Collier, Proprietor, Collier’s of Centreville

Diebolt-Vallois Blanc des Blancs NV, $44

Our best-selling Champagne by far is Diebolt-Vallois Blanc des Blancs NV. This was the house pour at Le Bec-Fin in Philadelphia and it has been on our shelves since Day One. (Moore Brothers Tasting Notes: “The color is a lovely pale gold, with a streaming bead of tiny precise bubbles. At first, the elegant nose suggests green apples and white flowers. On the palate, the wine is both creamy and firm, with a fine mineral structure, and a feathery, delicate mousse. The flavors evolve with more white floowers, green apples, caraway seeds, minerals, and lemon zest, and the long finish is carried by lively acidity and the velvety, persistent mousse.”)

— Eric Tuverson, Sales Manager, Moore Brothers Wine Company (Wilm.)

Dibon Cava, $12.99

Like many other Cavas, Dibon is a champagne-style sparkler without the champagne price tag. Crisp, light, and bubbly with notes of apple, pear and white flower pedal. Balanced with mild acidity and  minerality. Dibon is perfect to toast with friends, make mimosas, or bid 2020 a fond farewell.

— Ed Mulvihill, Owner, Peco’s Liquors (Wilm.)


Beaumont Crayeres Brut Limited Edition Champagne, $39.99

It’s 60% Pinot meunière, 25% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Noir and 100% perfect with flavors of brioche, dried fruit and pear. A lovely New Year’s celebration of duck with a cherry glaze would bring out the Pinot meunière in the wine and certainly brighten up you table as you welcome in the New Year.

— Linda Collier, Proprietor, Collier’s of Centreville

So, what do you think? Please comment below.