Give the Gift of Fizz

Grandin Brut Methode Champenoise will have you making that Christmas list early.

I don’t want to upset you, but we're about to head down the home stretch on the calendar. The little date boxes will soon be filled with memos about gifts and parties and things to remember.

You know how quickly the holiday season comes around once summer goes into the history books, so before the panic sets in and everyone makes a mad dash for the mall, frantically searching for that perfect pair of socks or a tie or anything else they can think of that falls into the nondescript, oh-so-impersonal, "Does it go with blue, pink, lavender, ultramarine or Scottish tartan?" category, wait up. I've got an idea for you.

Sparkling wine is a superb gift for any occasion – absolutely any occasion. If there isn't an occasion, make one up. Fizz is the jolliest, spunkiest, most spirited libation ever invented.

It's rumored that Marilyn Monroe once took a bath in 350 bottles of Champagne. Her biographer George Barris said that she drank and breathed Champagne "as if it were oxygen." Now if that doesn't send you scurrying to the wine store, you've got no sense of adventure.

Bubbly doesn't have to be French to be good and doesn't have to come from the French region of Champagne to be superlative. There are plenty of fizz houses around this planet of ours who make nifty, affordable bubbly that we can give confidently, drink smugly or launch our yacht proudly with.

In the eastern part of France, is the Loire and this is where Grandin produces its sparkling wine in the champagne method, meaning the wine has its second fermentation in the bottle, just like all those fancy expensive wines of champagne. The grapes that produce this wine include Chardonnay, which is responsible for most of the world's fizz, Chenin Blanc, which thrives in the Loire Valley, and Ugni Blanc, which is responsible for the wine's crispness and freshness. This is a straw colored wine with a Granny Smith flavor that dances on the tongue, frolics in the glass and doesn't dent the checkbook.

Grandin Brut Methode Champenoise (PLCB code 53519; $16) is a special liquor order (SLO) so you have to buy six bottles, but given the price and the advance notice I’ve given you, this should solve at least five gifts on your list. The sixth bottle is for you. You deserve it.



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