The Chef

A New Year’s Toast

With all of the options for bubbly to ring in the New Year, budget conscious shoppers are hard pressed to find good value. No need to splurge for vintage or single grower champagne. Save that for a birthday, anniversary or promotion.  Rather than settle for a cava or summery prosecco, a good non vintage from a reputable house will do.

Wine shops are not the best bet. You’ll notice some shops have raised their prices a buck or two. They also don’t move that much champagne on a normal basis, raising the question of freshness. Big liquor warehouses can offer a solution. So much of their sales are booze, and some carry a wide array of NV champagnes from all the classic houses. You won’t find an interesting selection, but you will find the lowest prices. Often you’ll find a diamond in the rough.

I headed over to Warehouse Wines & Spirits on Broadway and Astor place where there was a huge selection of NV bubbly from $25-$35. I snapped up a bottle of Deutz instantly, and took a chance on the lesser known De Venoge 2000 blanc de blanc. A vintage champagne for $30? It drank beautifully, crisp and floral, emitting a golden hue from inside the chardonnay glass. I often enjoy champagne in regular wine glasses, especially aromatic floral ones. What a bargain.

There are other shops which will offer similar deals, even on vintage champagne. PJ Wines and Liquors sells a 1989 Lafitte for $70. Having recently tasted this wine at a lunch at Keene’s Chophouse, the value is nearly as incredible as the scarcity of the wine. For all other vintage champagne, one must pay through the nose, that’s if you can even find it.

May 2009 bring you prosperity, health and love.

Happy New Year.

By Chef Mateo

Just a man in pursuit of all things delicious. Eat and Drink life!