Champagnes to Celebrate
More bottles of Champagne will be uncorked on December 31—specifically during the final minutes before midnight—than at any other time of the year. That being said, not all Champagnes are created equal. The right bottle can make all the difference, but with so many options to choose from, it’s not uncommon to face analysis paralysis. Fortunately, we can help.
So cue up “Auld Lang Syne,” break out your finest stemware, and uncork one of the following five vintages. It’s a surefire way to celebrate New Year’s in style.
Dom Pérignon 1990 Œnothèque Rosé ($800)is the first rosé to be offered through Dom Pérignon’s Œnothèque program, which reintroduces to the market small quantities of classic vintages from the house’s library. Salmon-pink and silky, the wine clings to the glass like a Sauternes. The texture is light as seafoam, and the astounding procession of flavors—orange, cherry lozenge, cardamom, butterscotch, and brioche—culminates in a breathtaking, briny finish.”
The Henriot 1996 Brut Champagne Cuvée des Enchanteleurs ($210) honors the brand’s long heritage. This Chardonnay-dominated wine is named for the cellar workers responsible for hoisting the barrels onto gantries for aging. As a reward for their work, they were allowed to create their own cuvée, though it is difficult to imagine that they achieved anything to compare with this wine’s lilac aromas, dense minerality, savory pastry notes, and flavors of candied citrus.
Champagne Charles Heidsieck was founded in 1851 by its eponymous proprietor, who earned the nickname “Champagne Charlie” while introducing his wines to the elite of Boston and New York. His legacy endures in the Charles Heidsieck 1995 Blanc des Millénaires ($185), which illuminates the glass with its radiant glow and awakens the senses with aromas of candied cherry, orange zest, and toasted almonds.
In 1816, Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin and her chef de cave, Antoine de Müller, devised a technique for clarifying Champagne known as riddling—a development that greatly enhanced the public’s appreciation for this sparkling wine. Veuve Clicquot 1989 Cave Privée Brut Rosé ($245), a special release of an older vintage from the house’s private cellar, demonstrates the label’s continued mastery of the art, its delicate bubbles releasing soft scents of cocoa, coffee, grilled bread, blood orange, and vanilla.
Joseph Krug founded Champagne Krug in Reims, France, in 1843 to create a perfect Champagne—one that he achieved by meticulously blending a range of outstanding wines from outstanding vintages. More than 150 years later, Krug released its first single-vintage expression, Krug 1998 Brut Champagne ($259), which pays tribute to Chardonnay. The wine is subtle, focused, and fine; its gossamer texture gradually coats the palate with soft flavors of dried apricot, dried pineapple, almond paste, and sea brine.