Vino: Piper Heidsieck Brut NV

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Name: Piper Heidsieck Brut NV
Grape:Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier & Chardonnay Region: Champagne, France
Price: $25.99 to $29.99

The pop of a champagne cork screams celebration! I cannot think of a more universal or better-loved ritual.

There has been much debate about the name Champagne, for decades sparkling wines around the world have used the name Champagne, considering it to be a generic term like Cabernet or Chardonnay. The region of Champagne prides itself in being different from other sparkling wine growing regions, believing their chalky soils; unique climate and long history of winemaking separate them from the rest. Banning together the vintners of Champagne fortuitously fought to protect their name. Today only a wine grown in the region of Champagne is allowed to call itself such (aside from one California winery who has been doing it for so long they were Grandfathered in when the law passed).

Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier & Chardonnay are the grapes that form Champagne. Bottlings can be one of the three or all three combined. A Blanc de Blanc, "white from white", is made entirely from the white grape of Chardonnay. A Blanc de Noir, "white from black", is made entirely from the black grapes of Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier.

Piper Heidsieck began making wine in 1785, surviving a handful of wars and many bad vintages! This traditional house is known for producing a well-balanced wine that is consistent year to year. The Brut NV (NV=non-vintage) is a blend of all three grapes, this wine is pale yellow in color with bright lemon acidity, nice and bubbly with small, delicate bubbles. An excellent value for the price. A toast to those with things to celebrate!

Stores: 67 Wine $25.99 (179 Colombus btwn 67th & 68th St.), Sherry-Lehmann $26.95 (679 Madison btwn 60th & 61st St.), Grapes The Wine Co. $26.99 (11 Purdy Ave., Rye), Shawn Wines & Spirits $27.99 (141 7th Ave. @ Garfield), Martin Brothers $27.99 (2781 Broadway btwn 106th & 107th St.), Astor Wines & Spirits $28.99 (399 Lafayette @ 4th St.), K&D Wine & Spirits $28.99 (1366 Madison Ave. btwn 95th & 96th St.), Soho Wines & Spirits 29.99 (461 W. Broadway btwn Prince & Houston), Union Square Wines & Spirits $29.99 (33 Union Square West).

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