Bubbly buyers snatch up Cristal | AspenTimes.com

Bubbly buyers snatch up Cristal

Scott MacCracken, manager of Local Spirits, pours a glass of Roederer Estates sparkling wine for Rebecca Everett. (Mark Fox/The Aspen Times)

If you haven’t picked up your case of Cristal yet, a plan B for bubbly is in order.Local purveyors of wine and spirits are all out of trendy Cristal champagne, though New Year’s Eve revelers may successfully secure a bottle for the midnight toast at local restaurants and hotels.A small release of the popular champagne this year, apparently in combination with its growing popularity among rap stars, is to blame for the Cristal shortage. Rumor has it that vast quantities of Cristal were consumed last spring at a party rapper Sean “Puffy” Combs (aka P. Diddy or Puff Daddy) held in Denver in conjunction with the NBA All-Star Game, leaving the vintage in short supply now. In any case, Cristal gets frequent mention in rap songs by various artists, which may be increasing the demand for that particular vintage.”We’d love to have some more to sell. It’s the darling champagne,” said Gary Plumley, who owns Of Grape and Grain.

At $208 a bottle, the Cristal was gone a couple of weeks ago, though most of Plumley’s customers buy it by the case.”It’s always a limited supply, but certain vintages are even smaller and demand being what it is, everybody bought it,” added Roger Carlsen, manager at the Grog Shop.A representative at Willow Creek, the restaurant within the Ritz-Carlton Club at Aspen Highlands, said the restaurant had one bottle of Cristal left Thursday and would offer a special on a ’98 Dom Perignon by the glass for patrons toasting the New Year.Dom Perignon is among the pricier options for champagne, but there are bottles of bubbly for every budget, according to local retailers.At $399.99 a bottle, Dom Perignon Rosé is the most expensive champagne at Local Spirits, but those on a considerably tighter budget might want to try a $22.99 bottle of Roederer Estates sparkling wine, manager Scott MacCracken advised.

“There are actually a lot of reasonably priced sparking wines – you do not have to spend 50 bucks to get a nice bottle of champagne,” he said.At Of Grape and Grain, clerk Johnny Ivansco offered his picks – Krug Grand Cuvée if money is no object, and Tattinger’s Domaine Carneros for the price-conscious.Carlsen at the Grog Shop also gave a nod to the Krug ($190.99 a bottle) and, on the other end of the spectrum, a $19.99 Argyle sparkling wine out of Oregon.”I’m a Krug fan. If you have unlimited resources, I would go with Krug,” agreed Fritz Mawicke, manager at The Wine Cellar at Carl’s Pharmacy.

For a non-vintage champagne, Mawicke recommends the Louis Roederer Brut Premier for $34.95 a bottle. The Scharffenberger Brut, a California sparking wine, is a good buy for the price – $15 – he added.Bill Reilly, manager at Aspen Wine and Spirits, pegs a Laurent Perrier Alexandra Rosé ($150 a bottle) as his first choice for a fine champagne.For the budget buyer, he, too, suggests the Tattinger Domaine Carneros. If you’re really short on funds, he proffered the Marquis de las Tour Brut, imported from France – just not the Champagne region.”It’s 9.99, and it’s not bad,” he said.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com

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