I have two rules for hosting a dinner party:   (1) invite someone who can serve as your sous chef (thank you Sara) and (2) have some good sparkling wine and cheese on hand to get things started.  Sparkling wine (a wine style that includes Champagne among others) is often times overlooked by most Americans as a regular wine choice.  For some reason, too many people think of it as primarily a special occasion wine or perhaps as a conduit for better enjoying orange juice at breakfast.

But, a good sparkling wine is just festive enough to get everyone in the right frame of mind upon arriving and happens to be quite versatile with hors d’oeuvres.  However, because my dinner party window is a bit narrow with a small business and two small kids,  I will oftentimes opt for a good, soft, aromatic Old World cheese to enjoy with the wine rather than trying to create the perfect canapé.

When picking out a sparkler remember that all Champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is Champagne.  Champagne is a region in Northern France where the best and most expensive sparkling wine in the world is produced by a specific method.  The French call it methode champenois.  All over the world you will find various other methods and styles of production, some of which mimic the Champagne style only at a lower price.

We’ve got around 75 different sparkling wines in the shop everyday from all over the world, in all types of different styles and prices.  Check out a few of these below and when you stop by the shop, ask us to pair up a cheese from Kroger next door.  They have a really great cheese section!

Montsarra Cava, Brut, Penedes     $15.49

Le Colture Prosecco, Brut, Valdobiadenne     $17.99

Gloria Ferrer Royal Cuvee, Brut, Carneros     $26.79

Chevalier Fabre, Brut, Champagne     $36.79

Duval Leroy Rosé, Brut, Champagne     $55.79

Barnaut Grand Reserve, Brut, Champagne     $60.99

Salon “Le Mesnil” Blanc de Blanc, Brut, Champagne, 1997     $364.99