As the currently reigning best sommelier in Texas, FT33 general manager/sommelier Ryan Tedder knows a thing or two about Champagne. Eater asked Tedder about his favorite bottles of bubbly, and this is what he had to say:
I would like to declare 2013 the official year of the FT33 Champagne Campaign to lift the nation's spirits and economy. We should all drink more Champagne on a daily basis to more enjoy the day-to-day experiences that constitute a well-lived life.
I love really great blanc de blancs Champagne for their steely minerality, laser beam acidity, and intoxicatingly playful aromatics. They are 100% Chardonnay and are literally a white of whites. My personal favorite is Salon from the Les Mesnil Grand Cru Village in the Cote des Blancs. They only make it in exceptional years and the 1995 & 1996 vintages blew my freaking mind and were both wildly different flavor experiences. The have made about 37 vintages in the last 100 years I believe. I have served them to clients over the years to much enjoyment. The wine costs about $300-$500 depending on vintage.
I have been blessed to taste one of the two single vineyard micro-parcel Champagnes of Krug that fetch the highest prices at auction and are legendarily difficult to procure. The 1996 Krug Clos du Mesnil is another blanc de blancs from the famous tiny walled vineyard of Mesnil. This is full bodied rich Chardonnay at a whole different level. The wine will doubtlessly age for several years and I would love to drink it in 20 years out of Burgundy stemware. The cost is about $800 or more retail. The 1996 Clos d'Ambonnay is Krug's one acre Grand Cru walled vineyard of 100% Pinot Noir that is the epitome of cool climate Pinot Noir expression in the world. This wine costs upwards of $2,500 and I have not yet tried it but my mouth salivates thinking about it.
[Photo credit: FT33]