There’s no better all-purpose mood enhancer than Champagne—and this is the season it’s on sale. Don’t stress about which brand or bottle to buy as long as it’s authentic, as no region in the world makes wines at a higher-quality level across the board. There are, however, subtle differences, and you may find one option below that best suits your palate for inaugurating 2018.
Taittinger La Francaise
Taittinger’s house style epitomizes finesse and elegance. The majority of its vineyard holdings are in one of the region’s highest rent districts, Côte de Blancs, where Chardonnay thrives on its mostly chalky soils. Lemony and crisp with vanilla and lightly toasty notes, this wine is delicate and long in the finish, and its crystalline purity harmonizes with shellfish, smoked fish or lobster.
$55, Cambridge Wine & Spirits
Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé
Rosé Champagne is all over the map stylistically. Laurent-Perrier’s is among the richest and boldest, with deep colors, toasty smoky flavors and a fuller body than most. One-hundred-percent pinot noir, it originates from vineyards in the clay-rich Montagne de Reims subregion. As with these other two recommendations, it’s superb with fish. Buy a case and store it properly and it will continue to improve for a few years.
$85, Brix Boston
Brut Reserve, NV
Opposite in style to the Taittinger, this family-owned producer—the only major Champagne house whose winemaker is a woman—uses 90-percent red grapes, so its brut features more cherry scents and a smoother, rounder texture. This absolutely delicious Champagne is not that well-known: The flavors are a touch spicier, more nut-like and mouth-filling, and are best to pair with crab, scallops and milder Asian curries.
$48, Urban Grape
Sandy Block is a master of wine and the vice president of beverage operations for Legal Sea Foods.