Champagne evokes feelings of celebratory glee and luxury. A good Champagne is pale yellow, without a sign of murkiness, and (to me) gives off notes of freshly baked bread and subtle fruit. The mouthfeel should be mellow, yet crisp, with a tight netting of tiny bubbles. In other words, exquisite.
So, what makes French Champagne so special (besides the reputation and price tag)? There are a lot of rules when it comes to making Champagne. First, the wine MUST be produced in the Champagne region of France to be called Champagne. Other rules in place include: only certain types of grapes can be used; certain pruning methods must be followed; a maximum number of vines can be planted per acre; a minimum alcohol content must be present in newly harvested grapes; fermentation must occur in the bottle; and finally non-vintage Champagne must be aged a minimum of 15 months, while vintage Champagne must be aged a minimum of 3 years. With so many rules to follow, it’s no wonder winemakers are so particular about bottles being labeled “Champagne”.
Some people believe you need to spend hundreds of dollars on a bottle of Champagne to get a serviceable bottle. If you literally have money to burn or you are investing in a bottle to put away to pop open on your 50thanniversary, by all means, spend your money. But, if you are like me, and want to celebrate with a glass of bubbly because the laundry got done, then you need to spend wisely.
Splash Wines’ go to French Champagne is Roux de Beauces (pronounced Rue day Boo-say). It is everything you want in a French Champagne. It’s got that exquisite lightly toasted yeast on the nose and the tiny bubbles will dance in your glass and mouth. In blind taste tests (conducted moderately scientifically with our Champagne loving family and office staff), it has gone toe to toe with big producers, like Cristal (which retails at $300+) and won. We like to say that it pairs well with any celebration. It retails around $50 (a screaming deal for a high-quality Champagne), but Splash members get it for as low as $25 a bottle (DELIVERED).
Working and living with a family that LOVES all things wine, there are certain boundaries you don’t cross, like thinking there is a sparkling better than real Champagne. Well folks, real talk, given the choice between a Champagne and our Finca la Pintada Cava Brut, I choose the latter. Crazy, I know. How can a sparkling from Spain stand up to a REAL French Champagne?!?!? Here’s my argument:
- Taste: Finca la Pintada is made in the “methode champenoise”, the same technique used to make French Champagne. Unlike some sparkling wines, where carbon dioxide is injected into the bottle, Finca la Pintada ferments in bottle, just like Champagne. It is on the drier side, with the same toasty/yeasty notes that I look for in Champagne. And the itty-bitty bubbles seem to last forever. Legit, I am a value shopper and if the Costco brand tastes the same for less, you better believe I am buying it, which leads me to my next point.
- Value: Even less expensive Champagne comes with a price tag that I am not always willing to pay. Finca la Pintada is a ridiculous good deal. It retails at around $25 a bottle, but Splash members get it for as low as $7.41 a bottle (that is not a typo; you can get a spectacular tasting sparkling wine for under $8 DELIVERED).
- Uses: Because Finca la Pintada Cava Brut tastes great and doesn’t make my wallet cry, I use it whenever I am hosting a gathering. I have served it in flutes on New Years Eve and I have served it with an array of juices for Mimosas at baby showers and engagement party brunches. It’s so versatile.
So, bottom line, if you are searching for Sparkling, Splash Wines has you covered.