Tony Bubbles

High-end champers to pamper your holiday guests (or yourself)

Typically an afterthought—prompting many a last-minute run to the store for whatever’s fizzy—the holiday toast deserves your utmost attention as we put to bed the year that was. Whether intended for your respective holiday festivities or for the big countdown itself, sparkling wine is what’s in the glass.

Recently, Las Vegas welcomed Jean-Baptiste Cristini, export director for the sister houses of Champagne Salon and Champagne Delamotte ( Following a swoon-worthy tasting I was hooked by these luxurious, elegant and minerally Côte des Blancs Champagnes. Robert Parker of Wine Advocate has called Delamotte “an insider’s house, producing high quality at realistic prices.” Affordable luxury vintages for intimate celebrations and superb quality non-vintage Champagnes for a roomful of guests.

For guests: Champagne Delamotte Non-Vintage Brut, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. Ready to enjoy now, displaying delightful acidity and exemplifying the house’s austere, mineral character. Laguna Champagne Bar at the Palazzo, $16 glass; Sinatra at Encore, $140 bottle; Khoury’s Fine Wine & Spirits, $40 retail.

For gifts: Champagne Delamotte Non-Vintage Rosé, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. A savory and intellectual rosé from Grand Cru pinot noir and chardonnay grapes. Metallic, mineral notes lay beneath red fruit and currant both on the nose and the palate. Excellent as an aperitif or paired with poultry or red-fruit desserts. By request at Khoury’s Fine Wine & Spirits, $100 retail.

For keeps: Champagne Salon 1997 Blanc de Blancs Brut, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. The first house to make a 100 percent chardonnay sparkler in the region, Champagne Salon declares a vintage only in the best years, making it a rare treat. Complex and refined, with notes of acacia, hawthorn, brioche, green apple and hazelnut on the nose. The lively mousse and persistent, fine bead are calling cards of this benchmark house’s style. Alex and SW at Wynn/Encore, $898 bottle; Khoury’s Fine Wine & Spirits, $490 retail.

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Eric Klein

Eric Klein

By Marvin Lucas

Eric Klein has cooked Thanksgiving meals for thousands of people, but has never celebrated the holiday himself. “To be honest with you, during the 15 or 16 years I’ve been in America, I haven’t had the time off yet to do the Thanksgiving,” Spago’s executive chef says. “My wife gets the end of the stick. I told her already, this year on Thanksgiving, we won’t do Thanksgiving on Thursday—it’d not be fair. We’ll do Thanksgiving on Sunday.”