Two things will be sure bets come December 31: More sparkling wine will be consumed through the evening than on any other night of the year, and “Auld Lang Syne” will break out at the stroke of midnight. In fact, stare at the two traditions long enough, and they begin to merge. The tune (based on words from the Scottish poet Robert Burns) manages to capture both the bitter and the sweet about the time that’s slipping away. And in the same way, the beverage is the right foil for both sides of the equation too, on the night we celebrate what’s worked out well over the last year, and mourn the bits that didn’t. Napoleon understood the paradox when he reportedly said of Champagne, “In victory, you deserve it; in defeat, you need it!” (Or was it Winston Churchill who said that?) Regardless, when the evening’s reflection covers an entire decade, it should be fueled by some very good bottles of bubbly indeed, and we’ve got your back there. Whether you love a delicate Chardonnay sparkler, pink fizz, or a profound vintage Champagne, you’ll find great choices here for a peaceful New Year’s Eve or a blowout celebration. And all of us at Robb Report will be raising our glasses to all of you. Here’s to a very happy new decade!
PHOTO: JANICE O’LEARY
Dom Perignon 2002 Plenitude 2
This current release from Dom Perignon is nothing short of remarkable. It’s the kind of wine that shows a new layer with every sip. Dom Perignon is synonymous with Champagne for a reason. The bubbles are fine, but still fierce, even after 17 years after harvest. And new flavours have emerged with all the extra time on the lees: more candied fruit and yeasty notes, and with the mid-palate lift that is a signature of the estate.
PHOTO: STUDIO 106
Krug 1988 Collection
This wine is what Krug calls it’s “second revelation” of the 1988 vintage of its Champagne. A limited number of each vintage is kept back in the house’s cellars, waiting for just the right moment to emerge in its second life, giving new flavours and surprising aromas to an already beloved wine. The harvest of 1988 was an extraordinary one in the Champagne region, with a perfect balance of sun and rain, warmth and cooler temperatures. In this second appearance, it reveals white fruits, some spice, even truffle. Honey and a slight nuttiness round out the richness. This is one for collectors to toast.
PHOTO: COURTESY MOET CHANDON
Moët Chandon Grand Vintage 2012
2012 was a challenging year in the vineyard in Champagne, but it yielded some extraordinary results. Like this special bottle. Fragrant citrus on the nose and on the palate with a cherry finish. It’s airy and scrumptious. A fine bottle to pop on New Year’s.
PHOTO: COURTESY OF CHARLES HEIDSIECK
Champagne Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve
This bubbly from Charles Heidsieck might be one of Champagne’s best-value nonvintage wines. Incorporating a substantial percentage of reserve wines in the blend, with an average age of 10 years, it delivers rich brioche notes with juicy pear, crisp apple, and lemon brûlée. It’s lush and complex but finishes refreshingly dry.
PHOTO: COURTESY OF CHAMPAGNE LAURENT PERRIER
Champagne Laurent Perrier Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature
This first new Champ from Laurent-Perrier in over 30 years loops back to an older style—with no sugar added, or “Brut Nature.” Refreshing and minerally, this all-Chardonnay bubbly brims with green apple, exotic citrus (think Buddha’s Hand), and white grapefruit. Its tartness becomes its texture, in the best way.
PHOTO: COURTESY OF CHAMPAGNE PERRIER-JOUET
Champagne Perrier-Jouët 2010 “Belle Epoque” Rosé
Perfect if your New Year’s Eve toast will include just the two of you, Perrier-Jouët’s 2010 Belle Epoque Rosé is available this season in a gift set with two flutes crafted with the iconic emblem of the house by fashion designer Prabal Gurung. The wine is fresh and vibrant, echoing the floral design. Rose petal aromas are balanced on the nose with refreshing savoury herbal notes, and wild strawberries share space with juicy peach on the palate. drinksandco.us
PHOTO: COURTESY OF DOMAINE CHANDON
Domaine Chandon Etoile Rosé Carneros
Delicate aromas of rose petals, fresh berries, and toasted spice are harbingers of a complex palate on this top pink from Chandon, with mouth-filling red fruit, excellent weight, and compelling textural tension.
PHOTO: COURTESY OF IRON HORSE
Iron Horse 2014 Classic Vintage Brut Green Valley of Russian River Valley
On the nose, this Iron Horse brut combines the earthiness of a briny ocean breeze with cranberry and floral aromas. Orchard fruit and a basket of red berry flavours follow on a deep palate marked by vibrant textures.