Even more than during the rest of the year, at the holiday season we crave bubbles. You can spend a small fortune on some Champagnes, of course, but one very fine sparkler at a thrifty price is Brut Dargent Blanc de Blancs.
Available for around $13 at wine-savvy markets, this nonvintage wine is a Cremant du Jura, made with chardonnay grapes by the Champagne method but in Jura, in eastern France.
The result is a pale, straw-colored wine with streams of tiny, persistent bubbles. Its aroma is a delicate whiff of lemon and toast with a mineral undertone. On the tongue the wonderful evanescence accompanies creamy white peach and almond, countered with crisp flint - an elegantly balanced flavor with a clean, dry finish.
Brut Dargent is good enough to pair with holiday luxuries like caviar, oysters and escargot. But it would also be a perfect partner for a hearty sandwich of leftover turkey with a slick of cranberry sauce - or for one more slice of pumpkin pie.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel. For an index and archive of reviews, go to pictograph.com.