Boutique Champagnes

Pat Bradley |

Since 1. Falling in love with the "Conversation" champagne I'd tasted at Piora last week and 2. Going on a shopping spree in attempts to stock my newly-acquired wine cabinet (a wedding gift)... I've suddenly found myself an avid fan of "boutique" champagnes. (I'll still pick up a bottle of Moët when I've no time to think about it.)  

It began the other day when, with a pair of friends, I decided to pick up a 'few' bottles of sparkling wine to stock my recently acquired wine cabinet. I'd already stocked it with plenty of white and rosé (leftover from the wedding), and I recently procured a nice selection of 'spicy reds' (and some everyday valpolicella); all that was missing was bubbles. Starting at one point in the West Village and working northward, I stopped at approximately four different wine shops where I'd picked up about two bottles of sparkling wine at each. 

Sparkling wine (be it champagne or otherwise) is nearly always my wine of choice (save that it's dry, and not red). Being a regular buyer of bubbly, I've come to the conclusion that most shops will carry about two decent sparklers priced at about $12 or less--but no more than the two. During my sparkling wine spree, I picked up what seemed to be the "two good bottles" at every shop. What I came home with was a smorgasbord of (mostly) middle-of-the-line proseccos and two unknown French whites. (I think the best that I picked up was the Castellroig cava--but that one was $16.)

At the end of it all, I thought that it might behoove me to simply shell out the extra Andrew Jackson(s) required and spring for some of the lesser-known champagnes (still champagne, nonetheless). 

Which brings me to the second part of this story...

discovering boutique champagnes!

Today, after a long day, I stopped at April Bloomfield's The Spotted Pig for a glass of "Gosset" champagne which I'd enjoyed on a previous visit.

I'd recalled no 'ill memories' of the wine, and being that it was the only champagne available (by the glass), it seemed to be a very intentional decision on the sommelier's part. At second taste (the first being several months ago), I noticed light aromas of fruit on the nose and on the palate, crisp, young fruits and a nice balance between brut and extra dry. It wasn't a remarkable champagne, but it was good enough to enjoy a second... and a third glass! 

Nonetheless, I'd prefer having just one or two "good champagnes" in stock rather than several merely-passable sparklers. It's definitely a quality over quantity issue!

I've yet to try (most of) the wines I'd picked up during my haul... hopefully they're more than simply passable!