The Pop Heard 'Round the World
How to celebrate champagne day: The best spots in Houston to get bubbly
Let’s be honest: Do you never really need a reason to pop the cork on a bottle of champagne? I think Hester Browne said it best: “Always keep a bottle of champagne in the fridge for special occasions. Sometimes the special occasion is that you’ve got a bottle of champagne in the fridge.” I like the way she thinks.
In case you just HAVE to have one though, Friday is Global Champagne Day.
Started just two short years ago, Global Champagne Day hit the ground running right out of the gate and has continued to gain momentum ever since thanks to social media. Organized and celebrated through Twitter, MeetUp, Facebook, forkly, and Instagram, bubbly revelers can participate in this world wide social media tasting either online at home, or in person at a favorite bar or restaurant.
All that’s needed to join in on the fun is to raise a glass (or several) of the quintessential effervescent elixir and share your tasting with friends.
All that’s needed to join in on the fun is to raise a glass (or several) of the quintessential effervescent elixir and share your tasting experience virtually and/or in person with friends. Bars and restaurants all across the country from wine merchants in San Francisco to Aquavit in New York City, are getting in on this year’s fun and festivities.
Now before we go any further, I just have to make this statement. If you’re going to celebrate Global Champagne Day, do it right by sipping authentic champagne. What make a champagne “authentic?” I’m glad you asked.
Essentially the authenticity lies with where the bubbly comes from. Real champagne is made in France in the Champagne region by wine makers who employ the time consuming and labor (of love) intensive méthode champenoise to produce their champagne. This method is what produces those coveted, wonderful, tiny bubbles that float up to the surface in a lovely and continuous stream.
It's the bubbles, baby
Why do bubbles matter? Because smaller bubbles mean that there are more bubbles overall, and since bubbles help release the flavor of the champagne in the sippers mouth, more bubbles means more enjoyment.
In addition, true champagnes are usually aged longer than sparkling wines, making them generally “more complex” when it comes to flavors and aromas. That $5 sparkler you bought at the big box store is made with less skill via a cheaper method, won’t have the flavor complexities of champagne, and will have big bubbles that dissipate quickly. Quelle horreur!
Now that we’ve straightened that out, in case the jet is in the shop and you can’t make it to Charles de Gaulle to sip your bubbles in Reims, don’t worry: You have plenty of fantastic options for indulging right here in our fair city. So round up your friends (or go it solo if you wish) and head out to one of these fantastic spots:
Champs and the City
Cha Champagne and Wine Bar bills itself as “Houston’s only champagne-centric wine bar,” and with a name that encompasses the first three letters of the word champagne it’s no surprise that they take their champagne selections seriously. Enjoy Cha’s abundance of champagne bubble flights and selections by the glass and bottle on the inviting second level terrace that overlooks downtown Houston for a lovely Global Champagne Day sipping experience.
Champagne with a Cowboy
Dubbed “the French Cowboy,” the eponymous French chef behind Philippe Restaurant + Lounge decided to serve bubbly in champagne coupes, adding a touch of fun flair to the sipping experience. With an entire first level outfitted as a beautiful lounge, it’s easy to kick up your feet and relax with a glass of perfectly chilled champagne.
If you’re not quite sure what champagne to order, just ask for a suggestion from the restaurant’s sommelier, Vanessa Treviño Boyd.
If you’re not quite sure what champagne to order, just ask for a suggestion from the restaurant’s sommelier, Vanessa Treviño Boyd, who was recently named one of the 2012 Sommeliers of the Year in the US by Food & Wine. So pull up one a seat, order a glass of Louis Roederer Premier Brut, and celebrate Global Champagne Day cowboy style.
Champagne. It’s What’s for Brunch
With a slogan like “Fried Chicken and Champagne…Why the Hell Not?!” Max’s Wine Dive makes it clear that champagne is not an afterthought on the menu. They have a healthy list of bubbles include Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut as well as a Renardat-Fâche Cerdon du Bugey (bet you can’t say that 10 times) that will appeal to a sweeter palate.
Plus, they are one of a few (if not the only) places that you can get weekend brunch on a Friday. Kick off Champagne Day with brunch? Why the hell not?!
Champagne with a View
The Blue Bar at Brenner’s on the Bayou has wonderful views right in the heart of the city. One usually wouldn’t put the words “bayou” and “lovely” in the same sentence, but with its lushly manicured grounds Brenner’s transforms their patios into a virtual oasis. The bar serves both the quintessential Yellow Label Veuve Clicquot as well as the Delemotte Brut by the glass.
A few sparkling stars that deserve particular highlighting include the Krug Grande Cuvée, Perrier-Jouët Rose Fleur de Champagne and one of my personal favorites, the Ruinart Blanc de Blancs.
If you’re feeling particularly festive and want to indulge in a bottle, the bar has a fantastic curated champagne selection. A few sparkling stars that deserve particular highlighting include the Krug Grande Cuvée, Perrier-Jouët Rose Fleur de Champagne and one of my personal favorites, the Ruinart Blanc de Blancs. Bubbly on the bayou at the Blue Bar!
Champagne en Paris
OK, so it’s not exactly in France, but the wonderfully quaint Flora & Muse Bistro and Bar might fool you for a second. Divided into 2 distinct sections, the restaurant has as an onsite patisserie (a type of French bakery that specializes in pastries and sweets) that is very French in nature and feel. The other section is comprised of a bar, restaurant and lovely covered outdoor patio.
Whatever side of Flora & Muse you decide to enjoy your bubbly on you’ll have your choice of two kinds of Veuve, Perrier Jouet and a delicious Tattinger. Up the francophile level and snag a couple of Flora and Muse’s decadent macarons while you’re at it.
Champagne with the Francophones
Brasserie 19 describes itself as “French classicism meets modern luxury…where friends gather to dine, drink and converse.” Those words perfectly encapsulate the friendly and laid-back yet sophisticated feel, with its lengthy white marble bar, white and wood woven barstools, and mirrored antique wall.
One of the coolest features of the restaurant is the interactive iPad wine list where you can select your bubbly quaff of choice by the glass, bottle, type (i.e. “sparkling”), region (i.e. “Champagne”), price (under $10, $20, etc.), or even by alphabetical order.
You will be awed by the over 20 choices of champagne. Feeling a bit peckish? Go for the classic and simple pairing of champagne and frites. Brasserie has some of the best fries in town.
Crushing on Champagne in the Woodlands
If you’re looking for an “official” celebratory affair for Global Champagne Day right here in the Houston-area, look no further than Crush Wine Lounge in the Woodlands. Sandra Crittenden, WLS & FWS will host an exclusive Champagne Day event at Crush which includes a tasting, hors d’oeuvres, and a bit of bubbly education. Featured champagnes included Heriot Blanc, Louis Roederer, Bollinger and Perrier-Jouët Fleur. Tickets are $75 and can be reserved by calling (281) 36-CRUSH.
Vive la France, vive la Global Champagne Day! Á votre santé!