Front Runners January 2016: Tour de Blancs

Whether to simply toast the new year or to wish embarking loved ones un bon voyage, a ready supply of fine Champagne is particularly de rigueur during this busy season; and no bottle of bubbly travels more tastefully than Charles Heidsieck 1995 Blanc des Millénaires Brut (charlesheidsieck.com, $250). This rare sparkling wine is vinified from 100 percent Chardonnay by the storied house whose eponymous—and peripatetic—founder has been recently honored with a limited-edition set of luggage (see “Good-Bye Charlie”). Culled from five specially selected crus from the Côte des Blancs, Blanc des Millénaires has been produced only three times: in 1983, 1985, and 1995, all exceptional vintages for Champagne’s only sanctioned white varietal. This extraordinary example sparkles in the glass like a pale-yellow diamond and takes one on a sensory journey that encompasses notes of vanilla cream, marzipan, candied cherry, orange zest, ginger, and caramel.