I can't recommend buying a Yellow Tail Bubbles to drink, unless you plan to mix this bargain fizz into a punch bowl. Sipped solo, that sweet peck of peach there tickling your nose quickly fades into a bitter and insipid pale soda. I do, however, recommend the newest version of Yellow Tail for its "Zork," a nifty screw-off plastic cap that can be reused to reseal and preserve a reasonable amount of carbonation in any bottle of open bubbly. The innovation (sadly, not yet available in Pennsylvania) makes buying higher-end Champagne a better value, because it won't all have to be drunk in one sitting.
This year, then, I'm going for a true French classic, Pol Roger's "white foil" Extra Cuvée de Reserve Brut. The cascading bubbles are tiny and elegant. The straw-yellow wine layers lightly buttered biscuit beneath the acidity of mandarin orange and pithy grapefruit, with the lingering exotic spice of ground coriander. It's so good, there'll likely be none left. But it's good to know a Zork is at the ready – just in case.
- Craig LaBan
Pol Roger Extra Cuvée de Reserve Brut, $34.99 on sale at Wine Legend (1811 Route 70 West, Cherry Hill), or $49.99 in Pennsylvania (code: 29537); Yellow Tail Bubbles, $8.99 at Canal's Pennsauken (5360 Rte. 38).