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We get a steady clip of questions this time of year about which wines to bring to gatherings.

It’s remarkably common that our customers can’t quite remember their mother-in-law’s favorite brand, or which Spanish region their fancy friends are always going on about, but there is one almost universal consensus — they want a bottle that will blow everyone away. So what’s the best move for your crew? Bring the party to life with finessed French bubbles, or achieve dinner pairing VIP status with a red that over-delivers, every time.

Calvet

Brut Crémant de Bordeaux

While you might not want to splurge on true Champagne for all your gathering plans this season, a well-made Crémant can bring the same spirit of revelry for a much more reasonable price. Made in the same method as Champagne, Crémants from Bordeaux have a similar lively bubble with more Champagne-like dryness than many other Crémant producing regions. As one of the oldest French wine brands in the world, the Calvet family has been central to Crémant production in Bordeaux for over 170 years — and it shows! With a lovely golden color and persistent pinpoint bubbles, Calvet’s notes of lemon custard, crisp yellow apple, and toasty brioche make for a pleasantly refined toast.

Domaine de Chevalier

2018 La Petite Lune Rouge

Got good French pronunciation skills? Tell your cohorts this wine is the personal project of famed Olivier Bernard of Domaine de Chevalier and Stéphane Derenoncourt, one of the most sought-after winemaking consultants in all of France. If they’re not fully wowed by your insider scoop, the wine will seal the deal. Grapes from the 2018 vintage were hand-selected from Close de Lune plots by Stéphane to express a modern take on Bordeaux style — rich, luscious blackberry and plum, red licorice, and dark earth with a full body and a very nicely structured finish. Great with everything from earthy roasted vegetables to smoky Indian dal to meaty stews and roasts.

-Aimee Hutchinson | Wine Manager Top Ten Liquors

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