By Wini Moranville
“Un coup de Champagne, Monsieur-Dame?” our server asked as we settled into dinner on our first night in the Champagne region of France.
Throughout our too-short stay in the region, that question–a drink of Champagne, sir/madam?–was asked at every dinner we sat down to, whether we were eating in the simple dining room at our logis de France inn or splurging at a Relais et Chateaux.
The answer, of course, was always “oui.” And it got me thinking: Sparkling wine is such an uplifting way to kick off the evening, why don’t we drink it as an aperitif more often? And why don’t more restaurants offer it as an option?
Now, some local restaurants are doing just that. These venues have an especially admirable selection of sparkling wines by the glass:
* Louie’s Wine Dive: Find five sparklers by the glass, from an easygoing Spanish cava to the glamorous Veuve Clicquot Champagne (4040 University Ave., 777-3416; and 1378 E. Hickman Road., Waukee, 518-2075).
* Splash Seafood Bar & Grill: The certified sommeliers here serve J. Cuvée 20 Brut from Sonoma, as well as easy-on-the-wallet options from Spain and Italy (303 Locust St.; 244-5686).
* RoCA: Find Zonin Prosecco, Sofia Blanc de Blanc (served trendily in a can with a straw), a rosé sparkler from Italy, and another one of my favorites, Chandon Blanc de Noirs from Napa (208 Court Ave.; 282-3663).
PS: Check out my story on modern Champagne glassware in the current issue of dsm, and see why sparkling-wine lovers might do well to toss the flutes.