As the New Year rolls around again, it’s time to decide upon the special beverage you will use to celebrate this particular evening with friends, family, or just a quiet night at home. Though there are many wonderful sparkling wine options available, some occasions just call for a distinctive bottle of bubbly made in the Champagne region of France. This could be why Champagne sales are predicted to surpass 2021 figures of $6.6 billion (€5.7 billion), even with the current inflationary environment.
But why settle for just a bottle of Champagne, when you can celebrate with a special gift set that includes an option that will last long after the bubbles have faded. Following are five festive alternatives to consider for New Year’s and other special celebrations. Most of these can be found in fine wine shops and online. Suggested retail prices are included here.
NV Billecart Salmon Blanc De Blanc With Eco-Friendly Champagne Ice Bucket ($165)– Add an attractive new sustainable sparkling wine bucket to your kitchen with this eco-friendly option from the Champagne House of Billecart-Salmon. The non-vintage 100% Chardonnay cuvée is very delicate with tart apple, lemon zest, and hint of the classic chalky minerality. Aged on the lees in bottle 4 – 5 years before release, this bubbly comes with its own eco-designed ice bucket made in Europe from 100% organic materials with low impact CO2 emissions. Use the bucket for years as a means to chill any wine. It also comes with a very attractive gift box that is also eco-designed and fully recyclable.
Veuve Cliquot Yellow Label Champagne With Sustainable (NEW) Ice Jacket ($72): Many will recognize the distinctive yellow ice jacket that comes with a classic bottle of Veuve Cliquot, but the newly designed version is actually made of recycled knitted fibers, so it is also sustainable. It still has the easy to carry and pour handle, but has a draw string opening on the bottom, so it can be reused on other bottles. Keeps your bubbly chilled for up to 2 hours after taking out of the refrigerator. Classic apple and peach notes with hints of brioche and vanilla. Aged 3 years on the lees in bottle. 50-55% Pinot Noir, 28-33% Chardonnay, and 15-20% Meunier. NOTE: Be careful not to confuse the new version with the older one – the new sustainable version is made of knitted fabric and doesn’t come with a zipper.
Perrier-Jouet Fleur de Champagne Brut Vintage Gift Set With 2 Flutes ($190) – The classic Champagne with the Belle Époque white flowers entwined on the bottle is lovely on its own, but this set comes with two beautiful flute glasses with the distinctive white flower design. (I received this as a gift once and used it for years, until guests eventually broke the glasses). Usually sold as vintage Champagne, the most recent one on the market is usually the 2013, which has notes of citrus and honeysuckle on the nose, with complex toasty, pear, and a hint of chalky minerality on the palate. The flowers on the bottle were created by artist Emile Galle in 1912, as part of the Art Nouveau movement. The actual gift box itself is made of 100% sustainable materials.
Louis Roederer Collection 242 With Neuhaus Pairing Chocolate Champagne Collection ($110) – If you love the combination of chocolate and Champagne, this may be the best option for you. Here, the House of Louis Roederer is paired up with Belgian chocolate producer, Neuhaus, to create this delectable gift set. The bubbly is primarily Chardonnay with minor additions of Pinot Noir and Meunier. It tastes of ripe apple, pear, toasty oak, and has a rich mouthfeel with a long finish. The Neuhaus Champagne Pairing Edition has 24 various chocolates designed to bring out the different aromas and flavors of sparkling wine. (Note: Of course you can create this combination on your own, but this one takes less effort…)
Laurent-Perrier Limited La Box en Pink Gift Set ($299) – Another specialty curated gift box combination, this one features a sparkling rose from Laurent-Perrier with a selection of pink gifts from French brands. The gifts include a pink scarf, pink lip rouge, pink stone necklace, pink candle, and a skin care sampler, all packaged in a pink container that can be reused as a jewelry box. The Champagne itself is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes, and tastes of red cherries, and complex toasty notes, a hint of cranberry, and lemon zest.