Sommelier: Veuve Clicquot

Concepts of luxury may differ, yet almost everyone agrees that Champagne is one of the finer things in life. Although sparkling wine can be fabulous, it’s not true Champagne unless properly produced in France, where Veuve Clicquot is a prolific progeny. Trademark tiny tight bubbles define Veuve’s non-vintage house style, delivering, beyond expectation, flavors of pâtisserie pear and candied lemon meringue with ripe fig lying just beneath white peach and toasted nuts.

A day trip from Paris to Reims reveals this estate’s rich history. Armed with a fabulous house style and attention to detail, Madame Clicquot’s infamous marketing skills placed her Champagne in European royal courts, broke blockades to serve Russian czars, and encouraged French soldiers to lop off Veuve’s bottle tops with sabres, making indelible the memories of 19th-century sabrage.

Veuve Clicquot’s distinctive yellow label is gloriously available almost everywhere for about $50 a bottle. So fall into the Champagne crowd and do a diet of bubbles from Merry Christmas to Happy New Year!