Wine of the Week

A little bubbly for poolside?

Wine of the Week

Summer is slowly rolling to its conclusion, and what better way to celebrate than with a little bubbly wine to quench your thirst while hanging out around the water? People who save champagnes and other sparklers for celebrations are missing all the fun. These wines are ideal for summer. The bubbles refresh you, tickling your nose and cleaning away the dust of the day. And thanks to the creative savants at Champagne Pommery, maker of the first minibottles of champagne, a good number of top-notch wines is becoming available in single servings.

Seven years ago, Pommery started this whole concept with a cute little blue .187-liter bottle (that's 1Ú4 the size of a regular bottle). Just to make sure folks know this was to be a fun wine, they even included a straw. It's a tasty wine, made mostly from chardonnay, and sports a real cork. Look for the word "POP" emblazoned across the label. Expect to pay around $10 a bottle, not bad for real champagne.

Three other French makers offer small bottles locally, Moet & Chandon Champagne White Star, Laurent-Perrier Champagne Brut, and Heidsieck & Co. Monopole "Blue Top" Champagne Brut. All run in the $10-12 range, and acquiring one of each plus a POP allows you an inexpensive way to taste through the flavor-profiles of four of Champagne's top houses.

Two American entries are also worth trying. Sofia Coppola's sparkling wine is simply called Sofia ($5). It comes in a cute, pink can guaranteed to elicit cooing sounds: "It's so cute!" A little more money brings you to my favorite of the single sparklers, Chandon California Brut Classic ($7), a toasty, bracing bottle of wine.

Available at Cost Plus/World Market, Central Markets, Whole Foods, and Grape Vine Market.

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Pommery Champagne, POP

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