By ROB W. ANDERSON
For a time, it was a bubbly potion shared only by men lured in by the casual endorsement of royal and noble dignitaries.
Glasses of champagne, also known as the wine of commemoration, have been raised high in celebratory fashion in situations like weddings, christenings. The sparkling wine produced in the Champagne region of France has even been used to launch ships into the high seas.
The drink dates back to the 17th century, and has become synonymous with the New Year’s moment that marks time gone by while welcoming in an opportunity to start afresh and look ahead to a new beginning.
According to online descriptions about champagne, men of all social classes and societal positions of authority consumed the effervescent liquor on a routine basis. It wasn’t until the early 19th century that champagne producers believed it was time to begin appealing to and offering a taste of the bubbly to women. Attention-grabbing labels and bottles were designed that included aesthetically-pleasing scenes that are strongly associated with romantic dates and other special events where champagne could be shared to denote the moment.
Tomcat Liquors, 1547 Echota Ave., offers patrons a wide selection of champagne, said store manager Levi Rogers.
“We have a little bit of everything,” he said. “We have a lot of Spanish cava, which is their style of champagne. It has to be from France to be called champagne, otherwise it’s just sparkling wine.”
Rogers said Tomcat Liquors offers traditional style of champagne, like Veuve Clicquot, but patrons can choose from a variety of Spanish cava, as well, to celebrate any occasion. Spain produces several sparkling wines, which are referred to as cava after the cellars in which the wine is created. Cava is made using the same method that produces champagne, as its history is closely tied to the Catalan region.
As champagne drew attention in France, viticulturists and winemakers in the Catalan region noticed the growing trend and started making their version of the fizzy wine. Cava became a protected name during the 1980s, according to online history about the alcoholic beverage.
“We have four or five total that we offer. Freixent and Cororniu are the two main ones we feature,” he said. “I guess they’re the best. They’ve both been highly rated in Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate magazine.”
For those on a budget looking to enjoy a taste of champagne, Champagne Besserat de Bellefon is among the champagnes noted as a Top 10 value champagne, per Gayot.com. The $50 champagne has floral aromas of honeysuckle and acacia that give way to fruits like white peach and mirabelle plum.
Flavors of apricot and bush peach deliver a long and assertive finish.
Another top 10 choice is Champagne Duval-Leroy Brut, which has been listed at $45. This intricate non-vintage drink presents a honest amount of reserve wines in the blend that creates a rich chocolate, fig and cinnamon flavor.
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