Champagne and Sparkling Wines Make the Perfect Beverage for Brunch

In 1895, English writer Guy Beringer envisioned brunch as a breakfast-lunch hybrid meal served late morning to early afternoon on Sunday, a meal that “would make life brighter for Saturday-night carousers.”

“Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting,” he wrote. “It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”

Don’t you love that? Now add in a glass of Champagne or sparkling wine – today’s preferred brunch beverage of many – and you’ve got all the ingredients for a terrific meal.

I’m not sure how Champagne and sparkling wines came to be a staple at brunch, but I can tell you why they work so well.

The secret lies in their versatility. They generally have a high acid content that allows them to cut through the fat content of foods and sauces, typical of what you’ll find on a standard brunch time spread.

Champagne and sparkling wine with hash browns or fried potatoes? No problem. How about crispy bacon or sausage? Easy stuff. What about eggs benedict, any style, with a creamy hollandaise sauce? Now you’re talking a food and wine combination that wineophiles dream of.

One word of advice that may make me sound like a wine snob, but I’ll put it out there anyway: Please don’t turn your good Champagne into a mimosa by diluting it down with orange juice. Champagne is pricy and should best be enjoyed on its own, not in a cocktail.

nullBut don’t go too far in the opposite direction by serving a mimosa with a cheap, overly carbonated sparkling wine. There are plenty of good sparklers in the $9 to $15 a bottle price range that taste great and work perfectly well with fresh-squeezed orange juice.

Here are three sparkling wine recommendations to consider for your next brunch:

Vandori Non-Vintage Extra Dry Prosecco (about $10) – Light and slightly fruity, this Italian sparkler makes an excellent starter wine. Gentle pear and melon flavors lead off before transitioning into a whisper of honey with a trace of minerality.

Segura Viudas Non-Vintage Brut Cava (about $10) – This reliable Spanish sparkling wine is an outstanding value that never disappoints. It carries a nice heady quality with a base of lemon zest and green apple, underlying notes of toasted almond and a clean finish.

Veuve Clicquot Non-Vintage Yellow Label Brut (about $50 to $57) – Lovely clover and green melon aromatics are lifted on micro-fine bubbles, while layers of Golden Delicious apple and yeasty brioche in the glass melt into a slightly creamy finish. This is true, classic Champagne that consistently hits all the right notes and is one of my all-time favorites.

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