Watch the new Baz Luhrmann film “The Great Gatsby,” based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel, and you’ll come out of the theater thirsting for Champagne. Almost every scene featuring the high-living Jay Gatsby is the excuse to pop the cork on a bottle of bubbly. Not just any Champagne, but always and forever, Moët & Chandon from the house founded in 1743.
If you’re the type like me, who doesn’t want to drink the same Champagne every day (just joking), why not mix it up with some other worthy Champagnes? And by that, I don’t mean sparkling wines or méthode Champenoise (wines made with the same methods used in Champagne), but luxury cuvées from the appellation Champagne east of Paris, where cellar masters oversee thousands of bottles resting on their lees in the dark until the moment comes for the vintage or non-vintage Champagne to be brought up into the light, disgorged, labeled and sent out into the world for its grand parties.
If Jay Gatsby were holding court in Hollywood today, he wouldn’t be pouring obscure grower Champagnes, however thrilling, but bottles everyone would recognize as top of the class. He’d probably be wearing Armani or Tom Ford too. Top labels all the way.
Here are a few other high-status Champagnes for reference and/or drinking:
2002 Dom Pérignon Rosé: A gorgeous coppery rose, the 2002 is a voluptuous, multi-layered rosé. A wonderful expression of Pinot Noir. Don’t cramp its style in a narrow Champagne flute: Serve it in a proper wine glass. ($300 to $400)
2002 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs: Made from Chardonnay from the Côtes des Blancs and aged in 13th century cellars, with its notes of citrus and lime blossom, this is the Champagne to pour with an extravagant tiered seafood platter. ($165 to $209)
Krug Brut Champagne Grande Cuvée NV: Krug sets the bar high with its rich, creamy Grande Cuvée, which is very consistent from year to year. The one non-vintage Champagne that spells luxury. ($160 to $190)
2005 Roederer Cristal Brut: The Champagne of rock 'n’ roll royalty in the '70s and '80s, Cristal still tastes fresh and modern, crisp and minerally. ($170 to $190)
1996 Billecart-Salmon Grande Cuvée: For special occasions, pick the Grande Cuvée over the lovely (and more affordable) rosé. Finesse and the enticing toasty aroma make this Champagne truly celebratory. ($200)