Champagne is fine any time. It goes great with meals and helps make any occasion a celebration. The only downside is the price. You can find cheaper sparkling wine alternatives, but it's the holidays, so we decided to keep it special with the real deal. Splurge a little with any of the following:

Bonnaire Brut, Grand Cru, Blanc de Blancs, $47

This grower Champagne--meaning the winery only uses grapes grown in their own vineyard--is 100 percent chardonnay. It's light and elegant on the nose with lime and rose petal, while sweet citrus and blood orange color the palate, balanced by bright acidity. This one is great on its own but would make a terrific food-friendly choice.

Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve, $49

This is a classic example of a house Champagne from one of the region's top marques, where they source grapes from different growers each year to produce a consistent style. This Champagne is filled with aromas of sweet, fruity brioche and flavors of baked apple and mango with a touch of ginger on the honeyed finish. It's a real crowd-pleaser.

Delamotte Brut Rose, $100

A fruit-driven blend of 80 percent pinot noir and 20 percent chardonnay, this pink-hued bubbly offers aromas of Meyer lemon and rose petal. Creamy red fruits dominate the palate along with touches of pineapple and cranberry. There's a nice hint of clover on the silky finish in this richly textured, totally alluring stand-out.

Jean Laurent Brut, Blanc de Noir, $48

Another grower Champagne, this one is 100 percent pinot noir. The lemon-drop aromas are marked by intriguing mineral notes, and the Champagne is round and rich in the mouth with a nice mix of ripe citrus, pineapple and peach fruit flavors. A little bit of that mineral, along with herb, spice and lemon zest, comes through on the lingering finish, making this a uniquely appealing effort.

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