Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Champagne Gift Guide 2014

In my opinion, the holidays demand champagne.  And while you're at it, you might as well make it a fabulous bottle of champagne! 

This year there were many wonderful releases - iconic mainstays, limited edition artist collaborations, and adorable little minis that come with a straw and a wristlet.  Seeing that it's 5pm on Christmas Eve, I'm already itching to start popping bottles, so let's get started!

1.  Moët & Chandon is the official champagne of New York's New Year's Eve celebration this year, and to commemorate the event they have released a Golden Sleeve Limited Edition Moët & Chandon Imperial Brut.  Moët Imperial is known for its bright citrus flavors with a hint of green apple, layers of minerality, and toasted brioche.  For those looking for a wonderful vintage to serve this year, Moët has also released a 2006 Grand Vintage with vibrant flavors of toasted hazelnut, summer stone fruits, ginger, and summer berries. $41

2.  For those of you wanting to go all out this holiday season, might I recommend the Jeroboam 2002 Louis Roederer Cristal.  This champagne comes from the extraordinary harvest in 2002, and is described as being silky yet powerful, taut yet delicate, crisp yet creamy, with flavors of cacao, hazelnuts, ripe summer fruits, white chocolate, summer berries, caramel, and pastry.  The medallion bottle, designed by Philippe Di Meo, is encased in a lattice of 24-carat gold that is reminiscent of the bubbles inside the bottle itself. $27,000

3.  This year Perrier-Jouët collaborated with Brazilian artist Vik Muniz to create a gorgeous bottle for their Belle Epoque Rosé 2005.  Muniz worked with the anemone flowers iconic to Perrier-Jouët and have graced the bottle for over 100 years.  A gold hummingbird is seen through the clear glass of the bottle, and at the right angle, flies to meet one of the pink and green flowers with its beak.  Cellar Master Hervé Deschamps hand selected this cuvee and describes it as 'the most extravagant and graceful wine of the Belle Epoque collection'.  The blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is aged for at least 6 years in the house cellars to give this vibrant salmon hued champagne its flavors of white peach, cacao, and candied oranges. $400

4.  For those interested in small estate grower champagnes - Jean Milan 'Grand Reserve 1864' Brut Blanc de Blancs, is a show stopper.  This champagne is vinified in oak on the lees to add complexity and flavor to the wine.  It is big, lush, and yet crisp and clean, so serve it in a Burgundy glass to let all the flavors and aromas open up (which is, in my opinion, always the best glass for tasting champagne). $100

While I'm on the subject, for those of you who love champagne - Henri's Reserve has a fantastic Champagne Club that will deliver Family Estate champagne to your door every month.  Which is pretty much genius, and a club that this girl wants to be a part of. 

5.  Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte has released a limited edition X'Ploration Brut Reserve Champagne that comes in a gilded sleeve embossed with icons of planes and the planisphere.  The champagne inside is fruity and delicate with flavors of pear, green apple, peach and a subtle spiciness of tumeric and curry.  As if you didn't have wanderlust already...  $36

6.  Krug Crand Cuvée is noted for being an exquisite cuvée (special blend) - a masterful blend of over 120 different wines from 10 or more different vintages, some of which are more than 15 years old.   Following the blending process, the bottles are then cellared for another six years.  The final champange has an extraordinary complexity in both aroma and flavor.  Curious about what is in the blend?  Scan the Krug ID code on the back of the bottle and the Krug app will tell you all the details: the disgorgement date, the year of the base harvest, the number of vintages blended, and the year of the oldest vintage.  $149

7.  With its iconic red ribbon, G.H.MUMM has come to symbolize excellence, expertise, and celebration.  The Cordon Rouge is a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier grapes and has bright aromas of fresh peaches, apricots, with a hint of tropical fruits such as pineapple.  $39

8.  One of the year's most extravagant releases was the Dom Pérignon 2004 Vintage  collaboration with Dutch fashion designer Iris Van Herpen, inspired by the metamorphosis embodied by Dom Pérignon champagne.  The "cocoonase" is a 3-D printed, hand painted fossil-like sculpture that cradles the bottle of champagne, and is available on the Dom Pérignon website for $14,500.  The 2004 Vintage is also available without the resin bed for $144

9.   This year Veuve Cliqout inspired imbibers to send bottles of champers to loved ones with a tin in the shape of a mailbox painted in the iconic Veuve Yellow, and thus inspiring me to want my entire life painted in the cheerful hue.  I might just have to acquire one of these mailboxes and save it for when I have a home that requires an actual mailbox!  Too much?  Nah....  $65

10.  Stocking Suffer Alert!  Mini Brut and Brut Rosé One Fo(u)r bottles from Nicolas Feuillatte are the ultimate holiday accessory this year!  I think I need a whole case of these little quarter bottle cuties to help ring in the New Year!  $11

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