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A trio of Champagne picks for New Year's Eve

December 27, 2009 |  1:30 pm

Champagneglass For years, Champagne houses have done a brilliant job convincing us that Champagne is synonymous with celebration. Either I'm entirely brainwashed or it's really true: Bubbles are festive. The sound of that cork popping or, if the bottle is opened properly, quietly sighing, is the signal for the festivities to begin. The toasts, the prickle of the bubbles, the flutes -- it's all part of the allure. And whether you spend a small fortune on a bottle or find a great buy in bubbly from somewhere other than Champagne, France, you need to lay in some bottles. Now.

I don't think any of us would pass up a bottle of Krug or Dom Pérignon or any of the top Champagnes from the big houses, but maybe this year it will be harder to justify the price. Look to smaller, independent houses for delicious Champagne at prices that are more affordable. Here are a few that are great buys in terms of quality and price:

-- S. Irene Virbila


Let L.A. Times restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila select a wine for you

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Photo: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times