We all know that Champagne is the drink of choice for toasts at holiday parties or for ringing in the new year. But wine writer and expert Peter Liem says Champagne is a drink that should be enjoyed 12 months of the year - not just during the holidays. He’s so obsessed with Champagne that he moved there to study it, and last year he released the beautiful boxed book and map set entitled Champagne: The Essential Guide to the Wines, Producer, and Terroirs of the Iconic Region, which won awards from both the James Beard Foundation and IACP. He talks with contributor Melissa Clark about how versatile sparkling wine can be, and why you don’t need special glasses for it. He also shared the below list of recommendations to help you track down a great bottle.

Recommended by Peter Liem:

Pierre Gimonnet Brut 1er Cru Blanc de Blancs NV

Made of pure chardonnay, this is lively and refreshing, marked by a saline tension typical of its chalky soils. Serve it as an aperitif or alongside fish and shellfish dishes.

Bérêche & Fils Brut Réserve NV

This is a classic blend of Champagne's three major grape varieties, showing a silky texture and an uncommon harmony and poise. Pair it with anything from vegetables to white meats and poultry.

Louis Roederer 2009 Brut Nature

A collaboration with French designer Philippe Starck, this outstanding champagne balances richness and finesse in a sophisticated frame, unfolding with subtle nuance and complexity on the palate.


Peter Liem is the author of the authoritative boxed book and map set Champagne: The Essential Guide to the Wines, Producer, and Terroirs of the Iconic Region.
Melissa Clark
Melissa Clark is a food writer, author, and host of our new podcast Weeknight Kitchen with Melissa Clark. She is a food columnist for The New York Times, and has written more than 30 cookbooks including Dinner in an Instant, Cook This Now, and In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite.