A tour d’horizon of the grower Champagne movement kicks off the list at Santa Fe’s La Casa Sena. And it’s quite a view: Aubry, Gimonnet, Gaston Chiquet, Jean Lallement … the list goes on. The sparkling focus continues with small but considered selections from Champagne’s bigger houses (Billecart-Salmon, Roederer, Pol Roger, among others), and then moves on through some of the best names in sparkling wine from elsewhere in France, Italy, the USA, Austria, and Germany. It’s well priced, too: As senior judge Francis Percival remarked, “the pricing is exceptional. $359 for 1999 Cristal in a restaurant is something that we can all support.”
It’s a selection that earned La Casa Sena a deserved place on the shortlist for the Best Champagne & Sparkling Wine List in North America. But the rest of the list is certainly worthy of its three-star award, a global selection that is equally at home in California as Alsace, as strong in Burgundy and Bordeaux as it is in the Southern Hemisphere, and, the judges thought, well judged as a match for chef Patrick Gharrity’s modern treatment of New Mexico’s culinary traditions.