True Champagne comes only from that region in France. While other sparkling wines are worthy, there is something uniquely wonderful about the real thing. This week we splurged on five outstanding examples because, hey, it's the holidays.
Taittinger Brut La Francaise, $50
The nose is a mix of fresh, yeasty bread dough backed by green apple, olive, truffle and herb. On the palate, it's crisp citrus, ripe peach and pear, finishing with bracing, food friendly acidity. In the wallet, it's an outstanding value.
Piper-Heidsieck Rose Sauvage Brut, $64
Light ruby in color with heady candied cherry aromas and touches of blood orange and herb, Piper-Heidsieck is the official Champagne of the Oscars. It's a beautifully balanced sparkler with dark fruit flavors and tastes something like a bubbly red Burgundy.
Ruinart Blanc de Blancs, $90
White from white, this 100 percent Chardonnay is elegant in style. The aromatics are a mix of quince and peach with nuances of blood orange, chalk and mineral. It offers creamy tangerine fruit flavors with a beautiful, soft finish.
Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose, $99
The delicate aromas are a floral combination of strawberry, caramel apple and mushroom. The lively palate combines lemon curd, kumquat and flaky pie crust, while mineral notes and soft raspberry color the long finish. This is consistently one of my favorite rose Champagnes.
Krug Grand Cuvee, $199
Recognized by most as the top Champagne house, this is Krug's entry level wine, and it is amazing. The aromas are a combination of rose petal, cherry liqueur, citrus and ginger. It's a rich wine with a depth of flavor like a white Burgundy, offering honeyed citrus, ginger bread, almond and hazelnut on the finish. The Grand Cuvee is a revelation.