November 19, 2018

Champagne: Perfect for your Oscar successes and failures

Soon, Academy Award winners will be popping open some bubbly and the runners-up will be drowning their sorrows. What Champagne or other sparkling wines should they have on ice while they wait on Oscar? Better yet, what about you? 

Looking for ideas, the Journal turned to Michael Bernstein, 35, proprietor of The Cask on Pico Boulevard, which has nearly 500 wine titles and is the largest all-kosher wine and spirits shop on the West Coast.

JEWISH JOURNAL: What’s the best kosher Champagne to celebrate an Oscar win?

MICHAEL BERNSTEIN: Hands down, the Oscar would go to the Laurent-Perrier Rosé ($150).

JJ: What makes it so special?

MB: When you taste it, you know it.

JJ: What’s the best to serve at an Oscar party?

MB: If you are looking for a cheaper Champagne, then I would go with a Drappier Carte d’Or for $55, but a sparkling wine like a Yarden Blanc de Blanc for $35 or a Bartenura Prosecco for $19 are also great options, depending on your budget. 

JJ: Is there any difference in the process for making kosher Champagne?

MB: No. The process only needs to be worked on by Shabbos-observant Jews.

JJ: What is the difference between Champagne and sparkling wine?

MB: Real Champagne comes from the Champagne region in France. Sparkling wines can come from anywhere else in the world. Prosecco, like Champagne, France, is a region in Italy.

JJ: What are the qualities of a good sparkling wine?

MB: I think it comes down to personal preference. Me, personally, I look for a more full-bodied, citrus style. I’m also a sucker for a good rosé, both sparkling and non.

JJ: What are your favorite Israeli sparkling wines?

MB: I mentioned the Yarden Blanc de Blancs. Their brut and rosé, I think, are fantastic.

JJ: Why is Champagne so expensive? Isn’t it the same grape juice as white wine?  

MB: I think originally Champagne became so expensive because it’s what was served to kings and queens during celebrations. That being said, sparkling wines have made tremendous growth in the past 100 years and don’t come with the hefty price tag that Champagnes have.

JJ: What about Bartenura? Does that count as sparkling wine?

MB: The Bartenura Moscato (in the blue bottle) is considered a frizzante wine, and is not considered a [full] sparkling wine. However, Bartenura does make a sparkling prosecco, a sparkling Moscato, a sparkling Moscato rosé and an Asti Spumante. 

JJ: Why is Bartenura so popular?

MB: I believe it all gets credited to the rappers. … Drake, Rick Ross, DJ Khaled and Lil Wayne. While they might not seem like poster boys for a sweet kosher wine, the Bartenura Moscato was featured in [DJ Khaled’s] “I’m on One” video and that, I think, opened the doors to an entirely different clientele for the company. 

JJ: What’s your top-selling sparkling wine?

MB: Sparkling: Bartenura Prosecco. Champagne: Drappier Carte d’Or.

JJ: What kind of sparkling wine is best for cocktails?

MB: I think prosecco is the best to use for cocktails. It tastes good, and most of them don’t break the bank.

JJ: What’s your favorite Champagne cocktail?

MB: I think mimosas are probably my favorite — easy to make and delicious!

JJ: What will you be drinking on Oscar night?

MB: I’ll probably have a scotch in hand, as a toast to Leo’s [DiCaprio] first-ever statue, and rooting for Jennifer Lawrence to win her second. (I’m a big fan!) 


Makes 8 Mimosa Cocktails

  • 1 750 ml bottle chilled dry sparkling wine
  • 3 cups and 8 teaspoons (750 ml) chilled orange juice (freshly squeezed is best)
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) of triple sec (optional)


Fill 8 champagne flutes half-full with chilled sparkling wine. Top with orange juice. Top each mimosa with 1 tablespoon of triple sec (optional).

For 1 Mimosa Cocktail

  • 1/3 cup (79 ml) chilled dry sparkling wine
  • 1/3 cup (79 ml) chilled orange juice (freshly squeezed is best)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) triple sec (optional)