Champagne is too special to be enjoyed only on special occasions. Here are 5 bottles to pop anytime this winter


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Along with almost every major celebration comes a call to pop open the bubbly. Champagne has a long-standing reputation for being the go-to drink to celebrate or toast to any special occasion and is even a defining drink for New Year’s Eve. But there’s more to Champagne than the big countdown or that rare milestone. After this year, a lesson worth taking away is that you shouldn’t wait for the special occasion. Instead, make the occasion special on your own. Champagne is a sublime way to do that.

First, let’s get a few requirements out of the way. Remember: For Champagne to be true Champagne, it has to be produced in the eponymous northeast region of France. Everything else is simply sparkling wine—although there are many, many equally satisfying and sophisticated sparkling wines out there that go by other names, such as Crémant (made in the same style as traditional Champagne but produced in other regions within France), Cava (Spain), and Franciacorta (Italy). And word to the wise: Officially, there is no such thing as “American Champagne” or “California Champagne.” It’s simply sparkling wine here, too. Anything else is just marketing.

And then there are three primary grapes used to produce Champagne: white Chardonnay grapes and red Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes; a blend of the three is what makes up most classic nonvintage bottles.

But there are many more styles of Champagne that deserve to be enjoyed just as often as any other wine. For those who are interested in the terroir (soil), a Blanc de Blancs is made using only Chardonnay grapes, a grape considered to be one of the most expressive of its terroir. While rosé has risen astronomically in popularity in the past decade, rosé Champagne has been produced since the 18th century. For the collectors, the Champagne houses also offer prestige cuvées, the finest Champagne the house produces and perfect for aging.

Here is a selection of certified Champagne wines in a variety of styles to consider popping open anytime this winter.

Beau Joie: Beau Joie specializes in zero dosage (no added sugar) Champagnes, aiming to appeal to a more health-conscious consumer. (That said, remember this is still an alcoholic beverage, and there is no such thing as a “clean wine” or a purely “healthy wine.”) Zero dosage allows the purity of the fruit to shine through without being masked by the addition of sugar. While it’s not easy to create such a delicately balanced bottle without adding sugar, as is common in the industry, consumer demand for this low-sugar approach has been on the rise for the past few years. Beau Joie’s bottles are extra special on the outside, too, as they are encased in an intricate suit of armor made from second-generation scrap copper, a functional design element that helps cool the Champagne quicker (ideal for impromptu celebrations) and keeps it colder for longer without the need for an ice bucket, which, shockingly, not everyone has at home. SRP: $69.

Champagne Henriot

Many wine lovers keep old bottles around for home decor, but Champagne Henriot takes it to the next level with its limited-edition Garden Box Rosé Kit: It not only includes a bottle of brut rosé but also can be used as a flowerpot. This copper pink–hued rosé blend showcases Pinot Noir grapes from the Montagne de Reims while retaining the fresh minerality of Chardonnay, with a palate of red berry fruits. SRP: $75.

Valentin Leflaive

Valentin Leflaive is the culmination of prolific Burgundy producer Olivier Leflaive and Erick de Sousa of Champagne de Sousa, from Avize in la Côte des Blancs. The result is a Champagne with unique minerality and complexity thanks to the Burgundy barrels. This Champagne rosé is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes from the Montagne de Reims. The base wine (70% of the blend) is aged for seven months in stainless-steel vats. The 30% of reserve wine added was aged in Burgundy barrels, those used to make grands crus wines from Olivier Leflaive. Following the secondary fermentation, the wine was aged for 20 months in a cellar. Elegant and bright with red fruit flavors, the Champagne offers a fine mousse that supports the fresh and complex citrus notes with distinct hints of lemon, cherry, and strawberry. SRP: $75.

Ayala

The boutique maison, led by chef de cave Caroline Latrive (one of the only female cellar masters in the region), produces Chardonnay-focused wines that deliver immediate pleasure, freshness, and elegance. Ayala is, for the most part, an under-the-radar Champagne brand. But the 2013 Blanc de Blancs could change minds on that one. Produced only in exceptional years, this 100% Chardonnay wine is the ultimate expression of Latrive’s winemaking style. It offers remarkable minerality and roundness. And the flavors build as it sits in the glass—becoming almost velvety—with notes including passion fruit, citrus, white peaches, and honey. SRP: $110.

Pol Roger:

Pol Roger is one of the few Grande Marque (most prestigious) Champagne houses that remains family-owned and operated. It is known for its tradition of aging and hand-riddling every bottle in the 4.66-mile-long cellars under the estate’s château, situated on the Avenue de Champagne in Epernay, France. The house’s rosé exhibits a deep salmon-pink color with a fine stream of small bubbles. The nose has aromas of ripe fruit with elements of citrus (blood orange), pomegranate, and small wild red berries. On the palate, a deep mineral character; a fine, creamy ripeness; and a hint of vanilla. The wine is tender and smooth, with a balance of delicate freshness and refined elegance. SRP: $123.

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Joe Daniher is starting fresh at the Brisbane Lions but says he ‘thoroughly enjoyed’ his time at the Essendon Bombers


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“I’ve had a fantastic relationship with the Essendon Football Club. Not just in my playing days but as a supporter growing up. They’ve been incredibly supportive of me for a very long period of time,” Daniher said in Brisbane.

“I spoke with the coach and the CEO after it was all done and dusted and got their full support. They understood why I needed a fresh start, needed a change. I can’t thank them enough. There’s a lot of people there that I’ll continue to have relationships with. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Essendon Football Club.”

Daniher agreed that the Lions had a track record in getting injury-prone players on the park consistently – Lincoln McCarthy being case in point. Groin issues have restricted Daniher to just 15 senior games across the last three seasons.

“They’ve got a fantastic track record in that regard. It doesn’t mean it’s always going to continue in that regard,” he said.

Daniher added that just because the Lions had finished in the top four in both 2019 and 2020 didn’t mean they would again contend for the premiership.

“Anything that’s happened the year before doesn’t guarantee anything that goes on into the future. Brisbane have had a great win-loss record in recent times but that doesn’t guarantee you anything,” he said.

Daniher played four matches for the Bombers late in the season, suggesting that he would have liked to have played more. He said that limitations of training caused by the special circumstances of a coronavirus-shaped season hadn’t helped his cause.

“It has been challenging from an on-field perspective. As a footballer, all you want to do is go out and play and have a lot of fun and enjoyment playing. I’ve been starved of that in the last few years. From my point of view I’m really excited,” Daniher said.

“I’m in a really good space physically. I think this year I was able to get a lot of work in. There were certainly challenges given the restrictions in the AFL landscape.”

He refused to buy into talk that he was the “missing piece” of the Lions’ flag puzzle, deferring to the need to get his training right from which point results would take care of themselves.

“It all starts with having strong, consistent work,” he said.

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Enjoyed lifting 2007, 2011 WC trophies together and many on-field partnerships: Yuvraj to Dhoni | Cricket News


NEW DELHI: Former India all-rounder Yuvraj Singh on Sunday congratulated former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni for his retirement and said he enjoyed lifting 2007 and 2011 World Cups and many on-field partnerships with the wicketkeeper-batsman.
“Congratulations @msdhoni on a great career! Enjoyed lifting the 2007 and 2011 WC trophies together for our country and our many partnerships on the field. My best wishes to you for the future,” Yuvraj tweeted.

Yuvraj also shared a 58-second video paying tribute to Dhoni and sharing on-field moments with him.

The all-rounder was part of the 2007 T20 World Cup-winning team and as well as 2011 World Cup-winning side. India won both the trophies under the leadership of Dhoni.
On Saturday, Dhoni had announced his retirement on Instagram. The wicket-keeper-batsman Dhoni shared a video and captioned the post, “Thanks a lot for ur love and support throughout. from 1929 hrs consider me as Retired.”

The video had the iconic song ‘Mai Pal Do Pal Ka Shayar Hu’ from Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘Kabhie Kabhie’ playing in the background and in it, Dhoni shared his incredible journey in the Indian side including his run out in the last game against New Zealand in the World Cup 2019 semifinal.
He is among the most successful captains in world cricket. It was under his leadership that India lifted the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011 after having led India to triumph in the ICC World T20 in its maiden edition of the tournament held in 2007 in South Africa.
With India winning the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013 in England, Dhoni became the first and is still the only captain to date to have won all three ICC Trophies.
Unarguably the quickest man behind the wicket, Dhoni has 195 international stumpings, the most by any wicket-keeper. Dhoni played 350 ODIs with his highest score being 183 against Sri Lanka.
Also referred to as ‘Captain Cool’, Dhoni is known for his calmness and exquisite captaincy on the field. He was also known for his knack of opting for reviews and many have jokingly remarked to change the ‘Decision-Review System’s’ name to ‘Dhoni-Review System’.
In December 2014, he announced his retirement from Tests and gave a chance to the likes of Wriddhiman Saha. Dhoni called time on his Test career after playing 90 Tests, managing to score 4,876 runs at an average of 38.09.
Dhoni was slated to return to the cricket field on March 29 during the IPL’s opening match between CSK and Mumbai Indians. However, the tournament will now be played in the UAE from September 19 to November 10. He will continue to captain CSK in the IPL 2020.





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