Brut Zero Ayala Brut “Zero Dosage” NV, $52, Federal Wine & Spirits
This category is for lovers of extremely dry Champagnes. As the name indicates, there’s almost no sugar to balance the tart acidity. (Some houses that make a non-dosed Champagne will list it as “nature.”) The Ayala is well balanced, with a bit of a lemony sting, but is also very creamy on the palate. Its minerality and chalkiness make it a great choice for lovers of Sancerre or Chablis. A plate of poached
new scallops would be a heavenly accompaniment, as would sushi (hold the wasabi).
Rosé Veuve Clicquot Rosé, Brut NV, $65, Bauer Wine & Spirits
If Champagne is festive, rosé Champagne takes the party to another level. Veuve produces an appealingly bright, strawberry-scented rosé: very dry, with undertones of darker red berries. It tastes slightly fuller than most brut NVs and works wonders with meatier fish preparations, such as roasted monkfish
or grilled swordfish. It also pairs with charcuterie and milder cheeses.
Demi-Sec Veuve Clicquot Demi-Sec NV, $60, the Wine Press
This is for those who like a taste of balanced sweetness. Made with considerably more sugar than other Champagnes, the demi-sec (meaning “half dry”) from Veuve Clicquot has a ripe fruit aroma—peaches and apricots—to balance the usual pastry scents. It’s got a supple, lush texture that makes it a great partner to flans, custards and fruit-based desserts, as well as mildly spicy Asian dishes.