Sparkling wine’s big night is upon us. New Year’s Eve, of course! Even if you seldom drink sparkling wine, it always appears that folks just want to be holding a glass of bubbly when the ball drops and the new year begins. The options are endless in the bubbly world. Let’s take a look at a few types that might be good to ring in the new year.
Champagne is, of course, the most popular bubbly and what most people think of when they think of celebratory or holiday bubbles. Some may even call their sparkling wine from California (or anywhere else for that matter) Champagne just because it is all bubbly. Problem with that is Champagne is ONLY from the Champagne region in France. However, you may see some bubbly called “champagne” in the states, which always spelled with a lower case “c”. Real Champagne is wonderful, but can be quite pricey. A well known and very popular Champagne is, of course, our good friend, Dom Perignon.
NOTE: Champagnes and Sparkling wines have four levels of sweetness. You will find these listed on the label.
– Extra Brut – the driest of bubbly
– Brut – Probably the most popular because it is dry, but not smack your lips dry. There is also a bit of sweetness, but not enough to turn off sweet wine haters
– Extra Dry – One would think Extra Dry would mean…..extra dry. Leave it to the wine world to confuse you. While this does mean that it is dry, it also means it is sweeter than Extra Brut and Brut. It keeps a touch of sweetness that the other two bruts don’t.
– Demi-sec – This is a sweet bubbly mostly consumed with dessert or as dessert itself.
Prosecco is a popular bubbly that hails from Italy, known as the poor man’s Champagne. However, with the recent popularity in Prosecco, you can find some pricey bottles floating around. Thankfully, it is still an affordable second best to Champagne. A few to try: Tesoro della Regina ($17 Total Wine & More) Kirkland Prosecco ($8 Costco) – This would be the one to try this New Year’s Eve if you’re looking for a really affordable, yet good example of Prosecco. The price cannot be beat and the flavors are even better. Perfect for sipping and great for that morning after partying Mimosas!
Cava is a sparkling wine from Spain. It is made the same way Champagne is but with different grapes. Cava is wonderful and can be found in a few styles. Cava Brut – dry, but not like the Extra Brut. Then we have the pink stuff, Cava Rose. And finally, Vintage Cava or Aged Cava. This is made with the traditional Champagne grapes – Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. A few Cava’s worth picking up: Segura Viudas Aria Brut ($11 Total Wine & More) For the dry bubbly lovers! Honey and straw with subtle fruit flavors can be detected. Freixenet Cordon Negro Extra Dry ($10 Total Wine & More) has citrus and melon characteristics. Great for the folks who don’t like bubbly real dry. Freixenet has a brut ($8.47)
Sparkling Wine is exactly what it sounds like. Can’t call it Champagne so why not call it what it is, Sparkling. A few really good ones to try are: Gruet Brut which is from New Mexico and is absolutely fabulous! $13.99 at Total wine & More (prices vary at other stores $13.99 – 18) this bubbly is the perfect one to pop open to ring in the New Year. Written up in the Wine Spectator this New Mexico sparkling wine is worth a try. Tropical fruit, baked apple and subtle toast on the finish. Must try! Chandon Brut is one you’ll see on the shelves and a good one to have to celebrate. Mumm Napa Brut is a great one to crack open ($17 Total Wine & More) is full of flavors, apple and fresh ginger. Wine Spectator gave it a 91. Gloria Ferrer Brut is another good one full of apple, pear and honeydew flavors. $17 Total Wine & More. Then you have your Korbel Brut ($10) and Cooks ($7) and of course Andre…but I’d stay away from Andre for sure and Cooks…Korbel is the better of the three under if you’re looking to spend around $10.
Don’t feel like the only way to ring in the New Year with bubbly, is with an expensive bubbly. Try some of these different styles and enjoy the last bit of 2014 and enjoy the beginning of 2015. Happy New Year!