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Sampling the Rays' victory champagne

As relief pitcher Chad Qualls can attest, the Rays’ house champagne — Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut — is full of bubbles. That makes it perfect for celebrations.

AP

As relief pitcher Chad Qualls can attest, the Rays’ house champagne — Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut — is full of bubbles. That makes it perfect for celebrations.

We can't tell you its velocity or trajectory as it exits a bottle shaken by Matt Garza, or anything about its viscosity when deployed in an impromptu locker room game of slip-n-slide.

We can tell you that Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut, the Tampa Bay Rays' celebratory bubbly of choice, drinks easily and is a stalwart in our lineup of value priced sparkling wines. The Rays, we hear, ice down 30 cases or so for locker-room festivities — although there hasn't been any occasion to pop a cork this week. You can pick it up just about anywhere for $10 to $12 per bottle. (You can also get it at Tropicana Field, which is how the Rays get theirs.)

The many and persistent bubbles in this méthode champenoise sparkler from Washington state probably figured in its choice for a high-spirited celebration where more wine is sprayed on teammates and fans than is drunk. Those bubbles are tight and bright, spiraling up from the bottom of a flute in a festive unending helix.

They tickle the nose, too, which is a good thing because this wine's aroma is so subtle as to be undetectable. Where it asserts itself is at first sip, its bubbles riding a current of lemon and toast that opens into big fruit — pretty dry but definitely grapey. It finishes cleanly.

This wine is blended for Goldilocks — not too dry and not too sweet but just right — a strategy that has served the winemaker well for three decades. We can testify that Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut goes really well with pizza or birthday cake, but its primary purpose for civilians like us, as well as for champion baseball teams, is to lubricate the mechanics of joy.

When the Rays do win and the players shake and spray, Joe Maddon and the coaches toast with a dozen bottles of Dom Perignon, a classic true Champagne and an entirely different level of tasting experience. If you'd like to celebrate a championship, or anything else, with a bottle of Dom, expect to spend about $150. (For our money, at the same price point, Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame kicks Dom's butt.)

Sampling the Rays' victory champagne 10/07/10 [Last modified: Thursday, October 7, 2010 7:59pm]

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