The Ultimate Guide To CHAMPAGNE

Sparkling wines and Champagnes are typically enjoyed throughout the year so we decided to do an informal investigation into what’s popular in the world of sparkling wines and Champagnes.
A Bartender pouring champagne in glasses

Sparkling wines and Champagnes are typically enjoyed throughout the year so we decided to do an informal investigation into what’s popular in the world of sparkling wines and Champagnes. We interviewed professionals at three popular wine and spirit shops here in New York City; Bottlerocket, Union Square Wines, and Astor Wines and Spirits. Here is what they had to share:

Since 2006, Bottlerocket has been making shopping for wine fun. Their website and their store organize their selection of wines by theme. Looking for something to pair with the rack of lamb you’re preparing, head over to the display labeled “Meat.” Ordering take-out, look for the Chinese food container.

I had the pleasure of talking with Tom Geniesse, owner of Bottlerocket, to get his thoughts on sparkling wines and Champagnes. He shared that Prosecco (Italian sparkling wine) is always popular for more than just special occasions. More and more people are enjoying Prosecco on a regular basis.

He also shared that there are several quality French non-Champagne sparkling wines out there that are of good quality. If you’re looking for something of quality for the value, he recommends a Touraine (Caves de la Tourangelle) or a Cremant de Bourgongne (Bailly-Lapierre).

Tom also says that people are becoming more comfortable with sparkling wines and wines in general, so are willing to explore non-Champagne options. If you’re looking to try something a little different, try a sparkling wine from Germany such as a Riesling Sekt Brut from Jagdschloss or a Txakolina from Spain (Ameztoi).

More traditional in their layout, Union Square Wines also offers a wide selection of wines. It also has a unique Enomatic tasting machine where 48 different red, white, and rosé wines from around the globe are available each month. All you need to taste is a tasting card, free with any purchase.

David shared with me that Gruet based out of New Mexico has been quite popular. It comes in a white and rosé version. Price ranges from $13.99 to $17.99.

What has also become popular is buying a “grower Champagne.” Rather than buying a Champagne from a larger Champagne house which may source its grapes from several vineyards, many people are looking to buy Champagnes produced by the same estate that owns the vineyards from which the grapes are sourced. One such estate is R.H. Coutier.

Since 1946 Astor Wines & Spirits has been a staple in Greenwich Village. With their amply sized selling floor and knowledgeable staff, you’re sure to find something special.

Very popular and good for their value are Cava (Spanish sparkling wine) which tends to be a bit dryer and Prosecco (Italian sparkling wine) which tends to be sweeter in flavor. If money is no object, then Champagnes are still the way to go.

Max also shared that many buyers are interested in smaller producers and grower Champagnes. He also shared that no company can really beat the advertising and marketing share that LVMH has within the industry. There is high traffic for Veuve Clicquot and significant interest in Jay Z’s Armand de Brignac, maker of Ace of Spades Champagne brand.

For those of you interested in experimenting with something a little more unusual, try a Lambrusco from Italy, or a Sekt from Germany or Austria.

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John is a thinker and a doer. He's a whiz at working through policies and procedures but loves taking time to explore the urban environment in which he lives and calls home. He also appreciates getting his fancy tickled.
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