29 Dec Bring on the Bubbly!
Whether you are looking for an affordable sparkler for 50 of your close friends or a killer bottle to share with that special someone on New Years, these bubblies are some of my favorites. Enjoy!
Cheers–Laurie Forster, The Wine Coach®
1. Nicolas Feuillatte Brut NV, France: Once a legend on the New York party scene, in 1978, Nicolas Feuillatte inherited a vineyard in Champagne and began creating sparklers for friends like Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. An emphasis on red grapes in the blend creates this Champagne with flavors of apple and pear. Enjoy this as an aperitif or with fresh shucked oysters and that special someone. Retails for approximately $29.99.
2. Ployez-Jacquemart Brut NV, France: Their passion for Champagne and each other inspired Marcel Ployez and Yvonne Jacquemart to craft wines from Premier and Grand Cru vineyards that taste like they cost twice as much as they actually do. Sixty percent of the blend is Pinot Noir and Meunier—making this a very aromatic, rich sparkler. Invite that special someone to share this sparkler and have an evening guaranteed to ignite some sparks! Retails for approximately $39.99.
3. Schramsberg Vineyards Blanc de Blancs 2006, California: Schramsberg Vineyards has made quality sparkling wines in Napa Valley since 1965. They are credited with being the first American winery to make a Chardonnay based sparkling wine and, also, the first American sparkler to be served at an official White House event. Sparklers that bear the term Blanc de Blancs (translated “white from whites”) are made entirely from the Chardonnay grape. The Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs has flavors of green apple, pineapple and pear with a finish of crisp acidity. Elegant and dry, it is a perfect paring for all things seafood, triple cream cheeses and its classic partner—oysters. Retails for approximately $40.
4. Gruet Winery Blanc de Noirs NV, New Mexico: This winery was started by the Gruet family from Champagne, France. They toured the world looking for a place where they could make wines that rivaled those of Champagne and found the perfect spot near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Since 1983, Gruet has been crafting affordable sparklers that have the finesse of their French counterparts at a fraction of the price. Their Blanc de Noirs (translated “white from reds”) is made primarily from Pinot Noir, which gives the wine flavors of red berries and the power to stand up to heartier fare like salmon and poultry. The NV stands for Non Vintage and means the wine is a blend of various harvests and intended to be an expression of the winery’s style not the vintage. Retails for approximately $20.
5. Mont Marçal Brut Reserva NV, Spain: Cava and Champagne have many things in common. They are both a blend of three grape varieties. Both use the traditional Méthode Champenoise to create their bubbles. Lastly, both can be used to celebrate a special occasion, or just to make any occasion special. Cava (literally translated as “cave”) comes from the Penedès region of northeastern Spain. Costing only a fraction of what most French Champagnes sell for, this is one sparkler you won’t feel guilty uncorking for any reason. Mont Marçal, known as one the top quality Cava houses in Spain, produces this crisp and fruity sparkler. Retails for approximately $15. Other Cava brands to try: Cristalino, Segura Viudas, Sumarroca.
6. Bisol Prosecco Crede Brut NV, Italy: Named after the soils in this region called crede, this vineyard has the perfect foundation for Prosecco grapes to flourish and create this amazingly fragrant, refreshing sparkler, with flavors of apple, peach and a note of floral. This food friendly wine only has 11% alcohol—a perfect wine to ring in the New Year! Retails for approximately: $18 Other brands to look for: Botter, Carpene Malvolti, Nino Franco “Rustico” or Canella.