Although one-third of Champagne sales occur in December, any time is right for the time-honored French sparkler. As the days grow longer, there are many reasons to celebrate: Easter, Passover, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, weddings, graduations—but any meal is a celebration when you open a bottle of Champagne. Remember, Champagne, made mainly from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, started its life as a still wine, and it can be enjoyed the same way.
Seafood appetizers—think oysters, smoked salmon, or scallops—are a perfect match with a crisp, clean Champagne like Henriot’s NV Souverain Brut (94 points, $45).
Celebrating an anniversary? Go for a vintage from your special year. If you met or married 10 years ago, Moët & Chandon’s 2002 Grand Vintage (94 points, $73) or Perrier Jouët’s 2002 Fleur de Champagne Brut (93 points, $139) are excellent options. If your best friends have been together for 12 years, commemorate the occasion with Gosset’s 2000 Grand Millésime Brut (93 points, $90).
Should brunch be in your plans, Champagne and eggs are a magical combination. The crisp apple and toasted brioche notes of Lanson’s NV Black Label Brut (89 points, $39–$49) complement spicy omelets. Nicolas Feuillatte’s NV Brut (89 points, $36), with its bright acidity and pleasant finish, is ideal alongside classic quiche.
Champagne is the natural choice for white meats like chicken, pork or veal. Taittinger’s NV La Française Brut (90 points, $35), with its peach and pear notes, works well with sautéed dishes or cream sauces.
Think pink for Easter! Rosé is all the rage among the holiday pastels. Seek out first-class examples like Louis Roederer’s 2006 Vintage Rosé (94 points, $70), whose fruit and spice notes are a natural with brunch or dinner, or Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin’s NV Brut Rosé (91 points, $65), whose fresh fruit flavors and touch of pepper are terrific with turkey or roast ham.
If you’re keeping kosher for Passover, let Laurent-Perrier’s Kosher Brut (90 points, $30) round out your Seder.