Wine Notes

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For many people, champagne (or rather sparkling wine, since “champagne” refers to one particular French sparkling wine) is only appropriate for special occasions. This is in large part because actual champagne seems expensive and intimidating.

But the array of available sparkling wines permits bubbly newcomers to ease their way into it with little fuss.

We asked Steve Kennett, manager of Tulsa’s Old Village Wine & Spirits to guide us on an introduction.

The recommendation: Kennett says that Roederer Anderson Valley Brut is a terrific, well-balanced sparkling wine from the same company that creates Cristal. “Brut” signifies a dry wine, generally favored by many aficionados. An “extra dry” sparkling wine is actually less dry than Brut, Kennett explains. Coming in at around $20, this California wine is a terrific bubbly primer.

If you like this, try: The fruit-forward, tart sparkler Domaine Saint Vincent Brut is solid and introduced New Mexico wines to many. At $10-$12, it’s as amenable to drinking as it is to mixing in a cocktail. Domaine Carneros Brut, at around $20-$25 is a winner in the mid-range. Rare premium wines can’t be found just anywhere, but one can just as easily impress with the reigning king of deluxe champagnes, Cristal, at about $275. Now that’s a special event wine.

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