As we count down the minutes to the new decade, it’s an ideal opportunity to up your Champagne game. New Year’s Eve celebrations are synonymous with the singular beverage, and if Chicago Champagne Week taught us anything, it’s that there are a lot of good bubbles out there. So don’t let your selection be absentminded, or worse, an afterthought.
To help, we reached out to some local experts to get the skinny on what they’ll be sipping this New Year’s Eve. Follow suit, pop their bottles and steal some of their professional grape-isms to dazzle guests at your NYE gathering.
Champagne Geoffroy, Volupté 2010
“It seems right to ring in 2020 with an amazing bottle from 10 years prior. Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy crafts this 100% chardonnay from three different parcels in the 1er cru village of Cumières. This champagne is bright, fresh and pure and will pair well with counting in the new year.” – Garth Hodgdon, Co-Founder of Champagne Happy Hour and Director of National Sales Accendo Cellars.
Benoit Marguet Ambonnay 2009
“Just visited Benoit in Champagne and these are the most exciting new Champagnes I have tasted in a long time. Sharing great experiences from 2019 and looking forward to 2020 is the best way to toast the new year.” – Steven Morgan, Co-Founder of Champagne Happy Hour and Midwest regional manager at The Sorting Table
“I plan on going out for an early dinner on 12/31 and will be drinking Dom Pérignon. The restaurant where I’m dining offers it by the glass — and I’m good for a couple of those glasses! Champagne is good all times of the year, but at the end of a month/year/decade, it’s vintage champagne/prestige cuvees all the way for me. It’s a great way to time travel and think back to where I was when those grapes were picked and think about everything that has happened in the interim. Plus, it’s freaking delicious.” – Jill Zimorski, Master Sommelier and Champagne Specialist representing the Champagnes of the Moet Hennessy portfolio
Laherte Freres Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature
“Aurelien Laherte is the seventh generation to lead his family’s domaine and has embraced biodynamic viticulture since taking over in 2005. Like all of his wines, Aurelien’s Blanc de Blancs is fresh and pure, with enough richness and weight to feel like a celebration even with zero dosage. It’s a champagne that keeps you wanting more, making it a perfect choice for NYE.” – Matthew Sussman, Proprietor at Logan Square’s Table, Donkey And Stick
Andre Jacquart 1er Cru Blanc de Blancs
“This is a smaller producer that is still fairly available and affordable. It is 100% chardonnay and we will most likely start off with seafood for dinner that night and it will complement the seafood and refresh the palate. Champagne is an important partner on my dinner table on a regular basis. It is unfortunate that it becomes such a major focal point on special occasions and holidays and is not enjoyed as frequently year around.” – Steve Tindle, Beverage Director at Roka Akor
2007 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs
“This wine is in a brilliant spot right now. It’s from a killer year in Champagne for Chardonnay and it over delivers. It has a classic chalky minerality with notes of bright citrus and orchard fruit quality to it that is intoxicating. There is a hint of toastiness to round it out.” – Aaron McManus, Wine Director at Oriole
Jean Vesselle ‘Oeil de Perdrix,’ Brut Rosé, Bouzy, Montagne de Reims, Champagne NV
“This wine is made from Pinot Noir grapes which are lightly macerated on the skins to produce the elegant salmon hue. Produced from a small historic family winery, this ‘grower’ champagne represents a boutique category of winemakers in the Champagne region. Aromas of red cherry, wild strawberry, and a hint of hibiscus finish on the palate with fine bubbles and bright acidity. Perfect by itself or paired with various appetizers and first courses.” – Rachael Lowe, Beverage Director, Spiaggia
Ruinart Blanc de Blancs
“I’m definitely not one to turn down Champagne in general, but when I’m choosing the bottle, it’s usually Ruinart Blanc de Blancs. It’s pretty easy to find at the store, which is nice, but what I love is how the rich and bready characteristics balance with the brightness and acidity. It’s definitely a crowd pleaser so I can share it will those around me while we ring in 2020!” – Miranda Breedlove, National Director of Bars – Hyatt Lifestyle
Michel Arnould et Fils , “Tradition,” Brut Blanc de Noirs, Grand Cru, Verzenay NV
“This grower Champagne made from 100% pinot noir is balanced and powerful while still feeling lifted and celebratory. The Arnould family is moving into their sixth generation of winemaking with a focus on the environment and sustainability, which is another reason to celebrate these killer bubbles.” – Jennifer Wagoner, Wine Director at Sepia and PROXI Chicago
Fleury Fleur de l’Europe Brut NV
“When it comes to Champagne, I’m all about big-shouldered, toasty, earthy wines. The leaner laser-cut styles can be a little overbearing in their acidity for me — especially for toasting! That type of wine is great with food, but if I’m drinking and dancing on NYE I want something rounder with a balance all its own. This wine from Fleury Pere et Fils checks all the boxes with brioche, baked apple and even mushroom aromas.” – Alex Schmaling, Head Bartender and Bar Manager Beacon Tavern
Taittinger Brut La Francaise NV
“A nice, well-balanced champagne, the Taittinger Brut La Francaise is my go-to champagne for New Year’s Eve. Its blending of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier create a light and lively champagne that’s slightly floral with some stone fruit notes. The Taittinger Brut is elegant yet fun to drink, and the bottle is great to saber, which always makes for a more festive party.” – Berry Faust, Beverage Director Hubbard Inn
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