Champagne houses come in all sizes, from those with well-known brands whose bubbly splashes out of millions of bottles each year to small producers whose quality far outpaces their quantity. A special group of these small producers is known as Independents, and this is why: Unlike large houses that buy all or most of their grapes, Independents must own or lease at least 90 percent of their vineyards; they make wines that reflect the individual character of those vineyards; they count their production in thousands, not millions, of bottles; and they often do much of their winery work by hand.
One of the finest Independents is José Dhondt. His Blanc de Blancs Brut Non-Vintage ($56) is a wine of tiny, intense bubbles, minerally, crisp and nicely nuanced. His vintaged Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru, Mes Vielles Vignes ($82), the product of 65-year-old vines, is a magnificent Champagne, a mélange of melon and apples in aroma, a blend of satin and lace in texture.
Bernard Girardin made Champagne for about 50 years before asking his daughter Sandrine to take over. Today, she and her husband are Girardin’s only full-time employees, doing every winery task through to the final steps, three years after a harvest when the Champagne is released. Among their Champagnes are Bernard Girardin Brut Cuvée 2002 ($75), smooth yet feisty, delicate yet round and full; and Brut BG Cru Non-Vintage ($53), a particularly lively wine with miniscule bubbles that seem to go on forever.
Laherte Frères, founded in 1889, offers its Brut Tradition Non-Vintage ($44), piquant, delicate and lemony with a hint of green apple. Its Blanc de Blancs Champagne ($53) from a single vineyard, La Pierre de la Justice, is rich, aromatic, elegant and complex.
And there are the Laherte Frères’ two Rosés. Rosé Non-Vintage ($50) is a bright, fruity wine with an aroma that reminds me of fresh, ripe raspberries and with mouth-filling texture. Its Rosé de Saignée-Les Beaudiers Non-Vintage ($88) is a rarity, a Rosé Champagne made entirely from the Pinot Meunier grape. It is a refreshing, golden pale pink, full, luscious and firm-bodied Champagne.
Other Independent producers of fine Champagne include Vazart-Coquart, Marcel Moineaux, Bernard Brémont and Jacques Picard — all of them well worth the search.
Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts invites travelers to celebrate the holidays at any of its properties in Riviera Maya, Mexico. There is no time like the present for you to experience a stay at one of these luxury resorts.
There’s no better time to plan the vacation you’ve been missing. Step aboard with your better half, your friends or the whole family and reconnect, reunite and rejoice with 25 percent off cruise fares for all guests. We’ll also help everyone get there with 25 percent off airfare from 20 major gateways across the country or $100 savings per person on flights from all other gateways when you book your air travel using Flights by Celebrity.*
After a two-year hiatus from in-person sporting and outdoor recreation events, the seaside, car-free town of Las Catalinas in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, recently announced the return of the annual Tri Las Catalinas, an off-road, multisport triathlon, Feb. 15–18.
Nashville’s once-modest skyline continues to evolve as its luxury market grows. Lavish hotel properties are added to the landscape while acclaimed chefs stake claim in the robust culinary scene and premier cultural offerings round out the city’s repertoire.
Plan a célébration spéciale this holiday season with a stay at a historic French chateau in the Loire Valley. If pipers piping and dancers dancing are part of your dream holiday experience, set your compass for Château de Chambord, where 100 twinkling Christmas trees set a festive tone for Renaissance music and dancing, storytelling, performances, workshops, themed activities and more. Guests can sip mulled wine and nibble on sweet indulgences, or peruse the shops for authentic, artisanal Chambord products crafted from the estate’s own natural resources.
For the 12th consecutive year, Global Traveler recognizes the best of the best in the industry, naming 2022’s Airline of the Year and Hotel of the Year.
Experience the beauty of Alaska and save 60 percent off cruise fares on your second and fourth guests. Plus, drinks, WiFi and tips are all included.
What a year 2022 has been for travel! It’s not an understatement to say travel rebounded and surged following the pandemic, and airlines, hotels, travel providers and more are ready and waiting to serve the masses returning to the beautiful art of traveling. As such, we celebrate and award those who do it best as we announce the 2022 winners of the GT Tested Reader Survey awards, our 19th year honoring the best of the best in the world of travel. Our countdown to year No. 20 begins now.