Personally, I can find ample excuses to enjoy sparkling wine year-round, but nothing says New Year's Eve quite like popping a bottle of bubbly! If you're looking for a special bottle to celebrate this last night of the year, I've got you covered with some great bottles, whether you are on a budget or are feeling extravagant or just want to try something new.
On the Cheap
- Piper Sonoma, Brut, Sonoma, CA, MV, $13: This domestic sparkler, made in the traditional Champagne method, captures California's ripeness, and tastes of golden delicious apple and toasted brioche, with a creamy, rich texture on the palate.
- Solletico Prosecco, Veneto, Italy, 2012, $12: This drier style of Prosecco shows notes of honeydew and flowers. It is a great example of the increase in quality we are seeing from Italy, and unlike most Proseccos, this wine is vintage-dated.
- Freixenet Cava, Extra Dry, Penedès, Spain, MV, $12: Spain's sparkling wine, Cava is also made in the style of classic Champagne. This bottle is slightly sweet with notes of pear and ripe citrus. If you like a drier style, try their Brut.
Try Something New
- Berlucchi Rosé, Franciacorta DOCG, Lombardy, Italy, MV, $39: If you like the richness and complexity of Champagne, try Franciacorta, Italy's answer to Champagne.
- Marques de Gelida Cava, Catalunya, Spain, MV, $17: If you're into the crispness and fruitiness of Prosecco, try Spanish Cava.
- JCB No. 21, Crémant de Bourgogne, Burgundy, France, MV, $20: If you prefer domestic sparkling wines for their affordability and approachability, try one of the many Crémant wines from France. Look for Crémant de Bourgogne, d'Alsace, or de Loire.
Off the Wall
- Kalinda Riesling Sekt Dry, Rheinhessen, Germany, MV, $19: Germany doesn't export much of its Sekt, so if you can get your hands on one of its sparkling Rieslings, enjoy it! Its incredibly intense fruit and floral tones are supported by sharp, mouth-watering acidity.
- Domaine Huet, Cuvée Huet Brut, Sparkling Vouvray, Loire, France, MV, $28: Vouvray is made from Chenin Blanc and can be produced in virtually any style. Wilder in tone, with notes of exotic spices and tropical fruits, this bubbly is great with cheese or charcuterie.
- Bera Brachetto DOC, Piemonte, Italy, 2013, $20: From the Piedmont region of northwest Italy, this sweet, red sparkling wine is the region's counterpoint to Moscato d'Asti. Dense with ripe raspberry, plum, and blackberry flavors, this wine is perfect on its own or with dessert. I love pairing this wine with chocolate mousse.
For a Splurge
- Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs, North Coast, CA, 2010, $35: I was blown away the first time I tried this wine. Incredibly complex and aromatic, it is definitely one of my favorite domestic sparkling wines. For a rare treat, try the J. Schram, which ranks amongst other higher tier selections, such as La Rêve by Domaine Carneros, Argyle's Extended Tirage, and Roederer Estate's L'ermitage.
- Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve, Champagne, France, MV, $36: The blue label is always one of my go-to Champagnes. Medium-toned and beautifully balanced, it is incredibly versatile. Out of the larger Champagne houses, my other favorites are Bollinger, Perrier-Jouët, and Ruinart.
- Pierre Peters Cuvée La Perle, Blanc de Blancs, Champagne, France, MV, $34: One of the leaders in the ever-rising trend of small production grower Champagne (think farmers who make their own small-batch wines), the wines from Pierre Peters will be more difficult to find, but worth the search. Other notable small houses are Gaston Chiquet, Pierre Gimmonet, and Jacques Selosse.
How Sweet Do You Like Your Sparkling Wine?
- If you like it sweet and fruity, try Moscato d'Asti, Brachetto d'Acqui, or a sweet Lambrusco.
- If you like it fruity and slightly sweet, look for "off dry" or "extra dry" Cava, Prosecco, and some domestics, too.
- If you like it dry and fruity, look for "brut" on the labels of Cava, Prosecco, Crémant, or domestic sparklers.
- If you like it complex and toasty, go for a true Champagne or a high quality domestic sparkler or an Italian Franciacorta.
A Little More on Sparkling Wine from the Kitchn
What are you pouring this New Year's Eve? Are there styles of sparkling wine that you're curious about?
(Image credits: Jayme Henderson)