Although I’m content to pair bubbly with just about anything (mac & cheese, anyone?), there are a few things worth noting about sparkling wine as we approach New Years Eve.
- Just because it has bubbles, does NOT mean it’s called Champagne! (See wine pet peeves for more on this one!)
- There are a number of ways to produce sparkling wine- “méthode Champenoise” or “méthode traditionelle” indicate that the wine has undergone a second fermentation, which produces the bubbles naturally. They can also be added through forced air, as is the case with many Proseccos. For a more in depth guide, check out Wine Folly’s excellent breakdown of the different methods!
- This study says that drinking Champagne can help improve memory. I’ll drink to that!
- The first sparkling wine ever produced was actually a mistake! Thank goodness for happy mistakes!
- Although many people claim that Champagne gives worse hangovers than other wine, the alcohol in most sparkling wine is actually lower than in most still wines- generally around 11-12%. If you’re anything like me, it does tend to go down the hatch quickly, making it easy to consume more than you realize. Make sure to hydrate and enjoy your bubbly with food to avoid the dreaded hangover!
Although some bottles of vintage champagne can set you back hundreds of dollars, quality sparkling wine can be enjoyed at almost any price point. See my top picks ranging from $12 to $200 below!
Champalou Vouvray Cuvee des Fondraux is a French sparkler from the Loire Valley made from Chenin Blanc. It is incredibly aromatic with notes of jasmine and honeysuckle with an off dry finish. This food friendly wine retails at just over $20.
Charles Orban Rosé is a great pick for dry rosé fans, offering red fruit aromatics and a dry, lengthy finish. It retails for around $43.
Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs This sparkler received 91 points from Wine Spectator. The 100% Pinot Noir is full bodied, balanced and elegant- all for less than $20.
Rossinyol Rosé This cava producer uses an aromatic and rare grape called Trepat to produce a lovely dry rosé with notes of strawberry on the nose. This small production Spanish wine retails for just under $20.
Gruber Rosé This Austrian sparkler is made from the Zweigelt grape. This hard to pronounce varietal goes down easy and isn’t hard on the wallet, either! Lively and crisp, with notes of strawberry and raspberry, this wine retails for under $15!
Moet Imperial offers traditional champagne yeasty notes and excellent acidity for around $45. This wine also received 91 points from Wine Spectator.
Krug Grand Cuvée is what I would choose if I were to splurge on a special bottle. Ringing in at $180, this 97 point wine offers incredible balance, acidity and finish for under $200.
Bohigas Cava is one of my go to cava producers. For those who like their sparklers on the sweeter side, their Semi-Sec fits the bill. Maintaining classic cava crispness, it has just the right amount of residual sugar to satisfy those with a sweet tooth at $18-21.
Voveti Prosecco is a favorite among critics and casual drinkers, alike. Made from the Glera grape, this easy drinking bubbly is aromatic and fruit forward with notes of peach, apricot and pear for around $12-14.
Jansz Premium Cuvée This sparkling wine from Tasmania, Australia is from a lesser known, but fantastic sparkling wine region. Aromatic with notes of honeysuckle, this wine is crisp and acidic on the palette. It retails for around $24.
What is your favorite Sparkling Wine? Do you prefer Champagne? Cava? Prosecco?