Champagne has been the drink of celebrations ever since French monk Dom Pérignon discovered the libation in 1693 and exclaimed,“Come quickly, I am drinking the stars.”
Because “Champagne” is a proprietary word for bubbly wines produced in the Champagne region of France; here in the U.S., we label these “sparkling.” A handful of U.S. wineries continue to legally use “Champagne”—grandfathered to them under a 2006 trade agreement.
From dry to slightly sweet, there are a number of excellent local sparkling wines.
Brut style wines are crisp and clean on the finish and pair well with oysters on the half-shell, sushi, smoked salmon, macaroni and cheese and potato chips.
· Sarah’s Vineyard, Brut Sparkling Wine $28
· Guglielmo Winery, Emile’s Grand Cuvee $14.99
· Kirigin Cellars, Grand Cuveé Champagne $21.90
· De Rose Vineyards imported sparklers from France, Argentina and Italy ($17-$27)
Extra dry refers to bubbly that is slightly sweet on the finish and a perfect complement to the fiery flavors of spicy Mexican or Thai food.
· Creekview Vineyards, Raspberry Private Cuvee, $24
· Fortino Winery, Almond Champagne, $24 or Extra Dry Champagne, $19
· Guglielmo Winery, Emile’s California Extra Dry Champagne, $12.99
· Kirigin Cellars, Champagne $19.90