Usually I cook a Southern breakfast — eggs, grits, country ham and red-eye gravy, biscuits — on Christmas morning, but this yearThe table set and ready for breakfast. there was some confusion about Christmas Eve dinner or Christmas Day and going to visit people Christmas afternoon, so I postponed the Big Breakfast until this morning. Before doing that, however, I got up early, fed the dogs, read the newspapers and cooked the black-eyed peas with hog jowl and greens for good luck in 2009.

Later, though, we sat down to breakfast, brunch, I guess, since it was 11:30, with a bottle of the sublime Roland Champion Blanc de Blancs Brut Grand Cru Champagne. Yes, we always have Champagne with the Big Southern Breakfast, with orange juice and coffee, too.
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Roland Champion is a small family-owned producer, now with the fourth generation, in the village of Chouilly (“shoo-ee”), which has only Grand Cru vineyards. Made from 100 percent chardonnay grapes, this Champagne offers ethereal grace and poise and harmony; if I were fighting a duel tonight, I would ask for this Champagne as my last beverage. The nose here is about the richness of warm biscuits and hazelnuts, dried fruit and spice, like a Platonic, ineffably light fruitcake; in the mouth, however, it’s about a structure that encompasses an incredible marriage of power and elegance, like the delicacy and strength of the finest bone china. And there’s something porcelain-like about this Champagne, in its notable crisp, lively character, its transparency and its slightly chalky, shale-like mineral elements. Forget the Champagnes that come on with heavy toasty, caramel qualities; here, instead, is a wealth of subtlety and nuance touched with a racy, dynamic edge. Exceptional. About $65.

Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils, Winchester, Va.