Price Range: $27–32
- Ready to Drink: Immediately upon release
Region: Napa Valley, California
A great Napa Valley, California, bubbly for the money that doesn’t try to be Champagne. Unapologetically and comparatively bold, dense, ripe, flavorful and creamy. An oh-so-refined Francophile may scoff at this choice, but oh well, que pouvez-vous fair? DOMAINE CHANDON is a sister outfit to the Champagne house that everyone knows, Moët and Chandon, so give them credit for letting California be California.
The non-vintage ÉTOILE has good reason to be one of the sunshine state’s flagship sparkling wines. Effusive notes of golden apple, citrus, baked bread, brown spices and almonds represent a cross-section of California agriculture—these are some of the perishable products we’re best known for, so why shouldn’t our “champagne” boldly reflect our DNA? Toss in a note of sweet caramel, and our palates are hooked.
A quintessential California sparkling wine. Let our flagships fly high. –J.M.
Our Review from 11/29/2014:
Drink now and get an early start on the New Year’s celebration. Why wait? Watch the news much lately and it seems like the world’s going to hell in a handbasket, but Champagne solves everything. Okay, so true Champagne’s expensive, the employee bonus isn’t quite what you were hoping, but you want to feel like an Uber billionaire without withdrawing the daily limit at the Chase ATM on the corner. The answer: DOMAINE CHANDON’s Étoile Brut, a sparkling wine made in sunny Yountville, California. Now, Moët & Chandon, the parent company of this winery, is known for an obscure French sparkling wine called Dom Pérignon, but for around $30 in most places where the Étoile is sold—and it’s easily found—you’ll feel like a phenomenon who’s about to develop the next killer app from the second you hear the popping of the cork. Confident, optimistic and bursting with citrus, raw honey, and green apples, the crisp bubbles light you up and make you glow. Another year has passed, and it’s time to be your destiny. –J.M. 92 pts
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