The problem with champagne is that you just can’t get value without paying for it. Sure, you can settle for a different sparkling wine — we’ve written before about cava, and prosecco is also a popular option. “Different” shouldn’t read as “lesser” in this context, either. For $10-$15 a bottle, you can have quite good sparkling wine, for your dinner table, your brunch, your nightcap, or your run-of-the-mill champagne toast.
But for a special occasion — and what’s a more special occasion than New Year’s Eve? — you need the genuine article. Which means you’ll need to spend some money on a decent bottle of honest-to-goodness champagne, bubbles and all. Today’s bottle retails for $25-$30, depending on where you find it. That’s not the cheapest bottle you can find out there, but it’s certainly not as expensive as Veuve Clicquot ($40 or so), Moet (which goes at $45-$50), or some of the more ridiculous bottles you can find.
At that price, Perrier Jouet might not be the nicest bottle of champagne you’ll drink in your life, but it’s good enough to make a special occasion just a bit better.
How’s it look? Peach-colored, with much finer carbonation than a lesser bottle of sparkling wine — kind of like a bottle of sparkling mineral water like Pellegrino or Perrier has finer carbonation than a simple glass of soda water.
How’s it smell? Mild, with subtle citrus and floral notes.
But how does it taste? Just as mild and delicate as it looks. The flavor is smooth and mild, with some pear and strawberry notes. More important, though, is what’s missing — there are no boozy or tannic notes at all. This is a very smooth champagne, one that could be enjoyed even by party guests who aren’t regular drinkers.
What should I eat it with? Strawberries, angel food cake, or any other light, effervescent fare you’ll be serving at your New Year’s Eve party. Just don’t serve it with mistletoe — that stuff’s poisonous.