YES, WE KNOW it can be difficult to resist the low price tag that sparkling wine often sports, especially in the wake of all that holiday spending. But the truth is domestic sparklers don’t even come close to trumping a superb bottle of champagne. That’s because grapes grown in, say, Oregon or California rarely attain the same depth and structure of those grown on the old pinot noir, pinot meunier and chardonnay vines rooted deep down in the chalky soil of France’s Champagne region. Plus, French champagne-makers have the advantage of 400 years of history and experience from which to draw on.

With that in mind, we asked Jeff Groh of the Heathman, Erica Landon of Ten 01 and Ken Collura of Andina–the top three sommeliers in last year’s Dueling Sommelier Dinner Series that took place at the Heathman—for their esteemed recommendations.