There is something special about champagne. I heartily agree with the sentiment, though I will be using a much cheaper sparkling wine when I make the dish. I enjoy, and enjoy much more frequently, nearly all types of well-made sparkling wine from many of the current hipster-favorite pet nats or Pétillant Naturels, cremants from Burgundy and elsewhere in France, Spanish cavas, the similarly méthode champenoise versions from Franciacorta and Trento in Italy – including a fantastic meal with even more impressive wines at Tony’s hosted by Ferrari, the big sparkling house in Trento – and those in California like my longtime house sparkler from Roederer that remains a terrific value, Washington and even New Mexico, Prosecco, especially the impressively delicate and flavorful ones from the tiny center of Cartizze, and slightly different and less effusive if still dry Lambruscos that are becoming more commonly found around here. But, there is something special about champagne. Something better. As much as I take pleasure in these other versions, the wines from Champagne are nearly always more flavorful, more pleasurable, more complex, the bubbles are usually smaller and more refined, the mouthfeel is seemingly more exquisite. Champagne is just better, and that extends through the broad swath of house styles and styles, overall, from light and crisp to fuller, yeastier and flavors of brioche, the different types of fruit flavors that might be encountered from citrus to pear to raspberry and blackberry, and the broad number of producers. Champagne is nearly always very good no matter the producer or the style, more so than other appellations, no matter if it is on the lower range of prices, just under $30. I’ve never been disappointed with the quality over the years.
And, champagne makes the holidays more special, emphasizing and enhancing the celebrations. All sparkling wine does that, but when the champagne is opened it seems more special – likely because everyone knows it’s more expensive than the other kinds of sparkling wine. But, everyone will enjoy it even more. I’ve bought both champagne and sparkling wine from elsewhere for the Christmas festivities, and I plan to enjoy them both.