Chances are, you want your holiday meals to be a little more sophisticated than your average Thursday night dinner. From your tablescape and choice of dishes to the foods you serve and the conversation taking place, everything just feels special. Another way to elevate your dining experience is to pop open a bottle (or two!) of champagne.
The Best Champagne for Indulging
Below, three Central Floridians — all lucky enough to have jobs that revolve around wine — share what indulgence means to them. Plus, they tell us the bottles of bubbly on their go-to lists. Get ready to take notes!
Heather LaVine, Owner, Golden Hour Wine
We love Heather’s definition of indulgence: “A crowded table of too many people, too much conversation, too much food, and too many open bottles of wine.”
When it comes to the wine, she loves to grab a bottle of rosé champagne. “If I want to indulge myself on a day off,” she shares. “I open a bottle on the morning and drink it slowly throughout the course of the day.” Specifically, she recommends Benoit Lahaya Rosé de Macération Champagne.
Brian Koziol, Master Sommelier & Vice President of Sales, Progress Wine Group
For Brian, who spent 15 years in various food and beverage roles at Walt Disney World before transitioning to his current position, indulgence is all about the sparkle. “With its lavish and luxurious mystique, champagne will capture your attention when searching for an indulgence,” he explains. From the popping of the bottle to the frothy mousse and racing bubbles, he likes to focus on the experience.
“The classic aroma and flavor descriptions associated with champagne — toasty brioche, baked apples, citrus, strawberry, and a hint of honey — promote a sense of richness,” he adds. Even better? Many indulgent foods, like expensive cheese, caviar, and truffles, pair perfectly with a glass of sparkling wine.
He prefers Champagne Philipponnat Royale Réserve Brut or Krug Brut Champagne Rosé.
The Connection Between Indulgence and Memories
Mary Elizabeth Howe, Sales Manager, Aspect Fine Wine
Mary Elizabeth believes that indulgence links to a meaningful memory — “like the bottle of Champagne Billecart-Salmon Extra Brut 2008 I shared with one of my best friends at the end of an intense move into my new house last year.”
That bubbly is now inextricably tied to an important moment of transition. “We still talk about that bottle,” she shares, “and how perfect it was to sit in the bare living room with takeout, honoring the previous chapter of my life associated with my old house, while simultaneously celebrating the beginning of a new one.”
At other times, an indulgent bottle becomes a memory of its own. “A friend and I scored several bottles of Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2001 several years ago and have enjoyed a majority of them together to mark special occasions in our respective lives,” she says. “Anytime either one of us sees that particular vintage on a wine list or in a shop, we will always recall wonderful memories associated with it.” In other words, it’s about so much more than the bottle of bubbly.
We hope you feel inspired to add some fizz to your holiday spread. These experts agree: It is the perfect way to indulge during this celebratory season. Cheers!
A version of this article, written by Judith Smelser, originally appeared in the Fall 2021 issue of Edible Orlando.