Hi all, Josh here, and you KNOW how much I love Champagne. I mean, if I could have Champagne for every meal, I would. It is the best companion for savory dishes, creamy dishes, opulent dishes, and even snacks. If you have shopped here enough, you know that my favorite food pairing in the world is Champagne and Potato Chips. It is the oil of the chip versus the acid of the wine. It is saltiness versus cream and fruit. I digress…
The following list is of the Champagnes and Sparkling Wines that we are offering here in Vienna and why I love them. I will start with the lowest price sparkler and work my way up to some mouthwatering vintage Champagne. Here we go!
NV (non-vintage) Cricova Vin Spumant Alb Brut, Cricova, Moldova
Moldova? Yes, Moldova. This may be an under the radar area to us, but Moldova was the source of affordable sparkling wines to the Soviet Union for years. Now that they are reaching out to the west, their “Prosecco-style” sparkler is really nothing short of pretty. Made from 2 grapes: (90% Feteasca Alba, 10% Muscat), this has a ton of peach and pear on the nose and palate with a taste of fresh fruit that lingers on the palate. A touch of sweetness on the palate, I love, love, LOVE this wine as either a Mimosa or a Bellini. Just to confirm, I sacrificed and tried it on Christmas, and it was perfect for Christmas morning viewings of Die Hard, Elf, and Trading Places.
Cricova Winery is the biggest producer of sparkling wines in Moldova and in all South-Eastern Europe. The second largest wine cellars in the world, Cricova Cellars stretch for 37 miles, 260ft below ground, with labyrinthine roadways named symbolically: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Dionis, Feteasca, etc. The tunnels of Cricova have existed since the 15th century, when the limestone was dug out for building the Capital city. Only in 1950s, tunnels were converted into wine cellars, named later the Underground Wine City. Today the limestone cellars house 8 million gallons of wine at a constant temperature of 54-57˚ F and humidity of 97-98%.
85 Points, Joshua Mason
Our Price: 9.99
NV Domaine Chandon Etoile Brut North Coast, Yountville, California
French word for “star,” the Etoile is one of my favorite sparkling wines in the world. When Chateau Cheval and Terrazas de los Andes first showed their collaboration of “Cheval des Andes” in the United States, it happened to be in my store (not mine, but happened to work there). To kick off their new wine, they brought in this fresh wine from California that was an odd little bubbly in that it was crowned and not corked. This new “star” was bright and full of fresh fruit and acid. This is the house style that they established and I really do thoroughly enjoy this wine. I recently had a shrimp and curry dish and I couldn’t think of a better wine pairing. This wine is made “methode champenoise” using Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier.
92 Points, Joshua Mason
Our Price: 27.99
NV Domaine Chandon Etoile Brut Rose North Coast, Yountville, California
Before I get into tasting notes, this wine is absolutely perfect for either mousse troufee or Peking duck. Oh my goodness, this is such a delicious food wine!
Just like the regular etoile, the rose is comprised of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay. What makes it rose is that the juice has fermented Pinot Noir added to it to make a salmon rose color, then yeast and sugar is added to the wine to induce a secondary fermentation. The result is a crisp wine with creamy raspberry flavors, and once again, just tons of fresh fruit. With a meal or just to open, this wine is a hit!
91 Points, Joshua Mason
Our Price: 34.99
NV Aubert et Fils Brut, Epernay, Champagne, France
Created out of equal parts Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, this wine is everything that you want from a basic Champagne. This is a toasty, apple-y wine that can really take on the popular, big house brands at a fraction of the price.
89 Points, Joshua Mason
Our Price: 24.99
NV Lallier Grande Reserve Brut Grand Cru, Ay, Champagne, France
This wine is incredible. From a house that focuses solely on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (65/35, respectively in this wine), the Lallier Grand Cru is an engine that fires on all cylinders. Now that that cliche is out of the way, this wine is our work-horse of the lineup. If you are going for a volume of wine for New Years or any year, this is your wine. Elegant with lemon, hazelnut, and apple, this is a great wine with which to celebrate the new year!
93 Points, Joshua Mason
Our Price: 31.99
NV Lallier Grand Rose Grand Cru, Ay, Champagne, France
(80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay). When I taste this wine, I think of peeled oranges with some other citrus fruit that morphs into a toasty, nutty composition. This wine is seriously complex! There may be some subtle acidity, but it will stick with you for a while to really make a positive impression. What a great little rose!
90 Points, Joshua Mason
Our Price: 38.99
NV Lallier Brut Nature Zero Dosage, Ay, Champagne, France
What does this “Zero Dosage” mean? It means that there is no sugar or, “liqueur,” added to the wine. This creates an acid driven wine that really shows off fruit and acid, making it a beautiful food pairing wine with big dishes that have heavy creams and or cheeses. I would personally pair this with fried foods and pastas with a cream sauce. Try this minerally wine with some great dishes to make it even better!
90 Points, Joshua Mason
Our Price: 41.99
NV Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Brut, Reims, France
What can you say about Ruinart Blanc de Blancs that hasn’t been said by all the other wine experts? This wine is a force of nature, whether it is the mousse on it, the flavor, the acid, the lingering finish, this 100% Chardonnay is a dream in a glass! Just like the Ruinarts of the past, there is a smokey note and just incredible power behind it. So good.
92 Points, Joshua Mason
Our Price: 69.99
2008 Veuve Clicquot Rose, Reims, Champagne, France
Earlier this year, we were visited by one of the winemakers for Veuve Clicquot. He spoke of their re-dedication to quality in all of there wines. I had been a skeptic of Clicquot for a while now, but he really showed me how far they’d come. They poured the 2008 Vintage Brut and the 2008 Vintage Rose, and they really, REALLY impressed me!
61% Pinot Noir, 34% Chardonnay, 5% Pinot Meunier. This is one of the best Clicquots that I have tasted in years! I tasted this, along with their super premium “La Grande Dame,” and I thought that this wine simply stood out more. Now, we are offering both the 2008 Brut as well as the 2008 Brut Rose, but I would really encourage you to try the rose!
94 Points, Joshua Mason
Our Price: 89.99
2005 Dom Perignon Rose, Epernay, Champagne, France
What do you say about the best of the best from the “big” Champagne houses? This is more rare than the regular Dom Perignon, hence the price. To describe this wine would simply be summarized as eating melted butter off a toasted brioche bun with cherry jam on it. There is a fine balance of both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. This wine has intense focus with a cavalcade of fruit coming to the palate. Drink this now. I think that it will age well, but why wait?
96 Points, Joshua Mason
Our Price: 269.99
2004 Ruinart Rose, Reims, Champagne, France
You know what? It is tough to write a description better than Antonio Galloni, so I will quote from his publication, Vinous Media:
“A wine of exquisite beauty, the 2004 Dom Ruinart Brut Rosé has the pedigree to drink well for several decades. The 2004 is an especially vinous, textured Rosé. The berry, floral, spice and mineral-drenched flavors are finely sketched in this dramatic, strikingly beautiful Rosé from Ruinart.”
95 Points, Antonio Galloni
Our Price: 299.99