December 27, 2006

Gaston Chiquet Champagne Brut Tradition, about $42

As with most things, price isn't necessarily an indication of quality. Especially in Champagne. Sure, you can pay $225 for a fabulous bottle of bubbly — but $42 can get you a wine to knock your socks off.

For the best buys, look for the small, family-owned houses that grow their own grapes for their wines (the big ones buy most of their grapes). One of my favorites is Gaston Chiquet, a brand that dates to the 1700s. The Brut Tradition in Champagne is as gutsy as it is elegant, its fine bubbles carrying flavor that's as bold, minerally and smooth as an oyster. Now that's a way to ring in the New Year.

Imported by Terry Theise Selections/Michael Skurnik Wines, Syosset, N.Y.

Thie review first appeared in the Denver Post.

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