Toast to Better Times Ahead With These Bottles

Writer: Steve Dinnen

What with all of the tough health, economic and social issues this year, maybe a nice bottle of Champagne shared with close friends and family will set a tone for better times ahead.

You might start with Veuve Clicquot Brut ($70) – commonly called “yellow label” to denote the color of the label. It’s the best-selling French Champagne in America and a favorite among Gateway Market customers, who also go for other French sparkling wines.

One of the more popular ones there is Vollereaux ($36). 
“That’s one I really enjoy,” said Nick Carstens, in the wine department. Other favorites include Moet & Chandon 2009 Extra Brut ($90.99), and Riunart Blanc de Blancs ($99.99), which is made 100% from chardonnay grapes. He added that Gateway’s best seller is Gruet ($16.99), which hails from New Mexico.

Gruet also is a hit at Ingersoll Wine & Spirits, said store executive Ben Jung. It’s $15.99 there. Jung showcases some smaller, quality producers, such as Napa Valley’s Schramsberg, whose blanc de blanc President Nixon shared in his 1972 “Toast to Peace” with Chinese premier Zhou Enlai. Schramsberg’s brut rose is $41.99.

Jung has on hand many large-format bottles, such as 1.5-liter magnums. He has these in vintages as well (not especially common) from high-end producers such as Bollinger ($199.99 for a 2011 brut) and Dom Perignon ($659 for a 2009).

“It kind of magnifies the occasion with something that’s a little more special,” he said of these big bottles. Plus, there’s plenty to share.

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