NECTAR OF THE GODS
A Champagne for Every Price Point
By Sam Byrd
A champagne toast is a dignified way to celebrate life’s finest moments. Be it New Year’s Eve, a wedding reception or graduation celebration, champagne makes any occasion special. It’s often viewed as belonging to the upper echelon of spirits, and its price tag is presumably expected to match, but that’s not always the case. The bubbly is available in all price points, and anyone can enjoy a sip without dipping into the emergency savings.
YOU HAVE CAVIAR TASTES ON A BEER BOTTLE BUDGET
Charlie Skeens from Richard’s Liquors and Fine Wines tells us that most bottles under $20 aren’t champagnes at all. They’re considered sparkling wines because they don’t originate from the Champagne region of France. The closest true bottle Richard’s offers in this price range is Abel Charlot Brut, which retails around $21.
YOU FOUND SOME CASH IN THOSE JEANS YOU HAVEN’T WORN SINCE LAST YEAR
If you’ve recently found a couple of twenties left in your pant pockets, consider it a blessing from above. Go ahead, splurge a little and try a bottle between the $25 to $50 range. Skeens recommends the André Clouet. He sums it up succinctly saying, “For $41, it’s very good.”
YOU NEED TO IMPRESS THE FUTURE IN-LAWS
That dreaded first dinner with the future in-laws can strike fear in the hearts of many. Yet, armed with a bottle of bubbles, it will hopefully break the tension and leave a good impression. Plus, you can keep it between $50 and $100 so that you don’t break the bank trying to get on their good side. Skeens recommends the Louis Roederer, which lands at the $68 price point. Why this one? Skeens says, “They also make Cristal, which can be up to $500 per bottle, so I think they know what they’re doing.”
YOU FOUND SPARE CHANGE WHILE SITTING ON OPRAH’S COUCH
Go ahead, take a trip to the Big O’s house and feel around for some spare C-notes she might have dropped between her couch cushions. Then, you’ll be able to afford all the fancy names associated with luxury goods. Skeens says to go with Cristal, which will cost $263 per bottle. He prefers this bottle because the grapes used come from Grand Cru Vineyards, an area known for producing the best fruits.
“All the more expensive ones come from those vineyards,” he tells us. Or you could spring for the $173 bottle of Dom Perignon. “There’s a difference in the taste. Cristal is part Grand Cru but it’s chardonnay and pinot nior. Dom Perignon is chardonnay and a little bit of pinot noir."
At the end of the day, it’s not necessarily the price that means the bottle will be any better. The brands that are the most recognizable and the highest in demand come with the steepest prices. Alex Lobodin, personal wine specialist for Richard’s Liquors, says, “The most important thing to remember is it’s a luxury good industry. It is location and reputation that brings them to the top to be the kings.”
Spec’s Wines, Spirits and Finer Foods
More than 100 stores across Texas
Richard’s Liquors and Fine Wines
713-523-7405, 2545 Kirby
713-529-4849, 1900 South Shepherd
713-781-0022, 1665 South Voss