New Year’s Eve was delightfully mellow. Another couple came over to share plenty of finger foods and toasts. But picking a bubbly was a tough decision, as I know my guests like their sparkling wines much sweeter than I do.
I decided on one of my standbys, the Domaine Chandon Blanc de Noirs NV ($22). It’s fresh, crisp, aromatic and goes great with food. And for my sweet-toothed guests, I used it as a base for a Champagne cocktail called the “blushing bride”—apropos for the newly married couple. Just a bit of passion fruit nectar and a splash of grenadine gave it a beautiful hue and sweetened up the flavors for them.
Days later, I was heating up some leftover fried rice for dinner and reached for a beer in the back of the refrigerator when I found a forgotten, half-full bottle of the Chandon bubbly. The sparkling-wine stopper had kept some—but not all—of the wine’s fizz, and the flavors were still fresh—lots of cherry and spice notes. I love how sparkling wine pairs with salty foods and, even though it was a tad bit flat, the Chandon was great with my soy sauce-enriched rice. I was impressed with how this wine showed three ways: on its own, in a cocktail and days later. 88 points, non-blind.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Domaine Chandon Blanc de Noirs California NV (86, $22).
• Plus, get our quick list of Top Values among sparkling wines.