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Heidsieck & Co. Monopole Blue Top Champagne, Brut Non-Vintage 

Epernay, France / $30-$35 Retail>

Originating from the two-century-old Heidsieck Champagne house, Monopole Blue Top was a favorite of kings, emperors and heads of state and was even the official Champagne for the Titanic's maiden voyage. The wine remains one of the world's premium Champagnes, offering phenomenal quality at a very reasonable price. A blend of 70 percent Pinot Noir, 20 percent Chardonnay and 10 percent Petit Meunier, the wine's floral, pear, biscuit dough and light spice aromatics carry over on the palate. In the mouth, the wine's elegance, creamy texture and doughy apple and citrus flavors lead to a lingering finish. It's a delightful apéritif and a terrific all-course accompaniment for hors d'oeuvres like shellfish, smoked salmon and paté, light courses such as fowl, fish and vegetables, and dessert. Where to buy it: Dorignac's, Rouses in Uptown, Swirl Wines, Laborie's in Marrero and Gretna, and Hugh's Wine Cellar in Mandeville. Where to drink it: Bayona, Commander's Palace, Emeril's Delmonico and Emeril's. (Listings current at press time.) — Brenda Maitland

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