Here at The Queen and The Bohemian, we like what we like. We are not experts, just practiced enthusiasts of celebrating life everyday. However, we do drink champagne like professionals.
Among us that drink bubbly as our go-to drink, we agree on some things. Here’s our take on our favorite mid-range bottles of champagne. As you read below, we can be a little fussy on temperature.
To set the table, here are the current favorites:
-Charles de Marques from Trader Joe’s exclusively: $20/bottle. Great for your every day champagne to keep in the refrigerator. Drinks like a $40 bottle.
-Louis de Sacy: $35/bottle if you buy it by the case online. It is so hard to find that’s pretty much what you have to do anyway.
-Mailly all labels: $40-70/bottle. The black label was on sale for the past month at total wine for $35!
-De Margerie all labels: $40-$70/bottle. These are from the area of Bouzy, known as one of the finest in the Champagne region.
-Georges Vesselle $40-$90/bottle. Also from Bouzy.
-Ouidinot $35/bottle. Hard to find except online.
-Good ol’ Perrier Jouet at $40/bottle everyday at Total Wine or Wegman’s. Love this standby flowery/fruity bouquet.
Our experience with the sparkling wines made in America may taste OK going down, but with the exception of the Argyle bubbly from the Wllamette Valley, they come back to haunt you with a bad headache. This is exactly why everybody says “Champagne gives me a headache!–They haven’t had any good French–which in turns gives bubbly gets a bad rap.
We never drink champagne that is served “warm” by our standards. 37° is optimal. At a restaurant if it is kept in the same cooler with the white wines which are only 55°, we’ll send it back. Experts claims 47° is optimal and we beg to differ. We like it served cold. Using a an ice bucket and water, we let it cool for 45 minutes.
Wineries in the US can call any of their sparkling wine “Champagne” if they so choose. They did not sign that treaty back in the day. So the sparkling from California is often called Champagne (Andre or Totts).
In recent years many of the more respectable US wineries have switched their label to read “sparkling wine”(I.E. Chandon). No other country in the world can call their sparkling wine champagne. Not all French sparkling wine is champagne of course. Only those from the Champagne region in France.
There are some sparklings that come out of other areas in France that are good and others are bad. It’s hard to know.
Can’t find anything French on the menu? Stick with the Spanish cavas over the sweet Italian proseccos. In Cava, native Spanish grapes Macabeu, Parellada and Xarello are used, while Prosecco is made using just one grape – Glera. While some cavas may taste metallic, they are generally a better choice than prosecco. Cava is also an excellent, inexpensive choice for brunches requiring mimosas.
Drink out of white wine glass. Coupes are a favorite. Flutes are pretty but are limited in aromas, flavors, and quantity.