New Year's Eve is the perfect time to reflect on the year gone by and contemplate resolutions for the year ahead - or - if that option seems a bit too tame, it's also the perfect night of the year to drink Champagne indiscriminately and be completely justified in doing so. I'll let you guess which option I'll be choosing!
With the endless selection of sparkling wines available on store shelves, there are plenty of ways to "get your bubble on." I recently hosted "Holiday Sparklers," a wine tasting event at The Museum of Art Ft. Lauderdale featuring sparkling wines from around the world perfect for celebrating the holidays and ringing in the New Year. We sampled wines from three different countries at a variety of price points to suit your celebratory needs.
Prosecco is Italy's signature sparkling wine that's become increasingly popular in recent years. Hailing from the Veneto region, this sparkler is made from the Prosecco grape and is light, fruity and meant to be consumed now! Prosecco is made using the Charmat method, meaning the secondary fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks which helps keep production costs down. Prosecco's reasonable price point makes it a great option for entertaining a group, using in sparkling wine based recipes (i.e. Bellini) or plain old everyday consumption. Try the Astoria Lounge Prosecco NV ($12).
California sparklers labelled Méthode Traditionelle (aka Méthode Champenoise) are created using the same process used to make Champagne, requiring the secondary fermentation to occur in the bottle. The same grape varietals, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, are generally used although winemakers enjoy much more leeway in making sparkling wines in the US than in France. A delightfully pink Brut Rosé is a fabulous, festive option and also pairs tremendously well with a variety of dishes. Try the Domaine Carneros Brut Rose Cuvée de la Pompadour NV ($34), created to celebrate the life and times of Madame Pompadour, the great courtesan and mistress of Louis XV. If Brut is more your style, opt for the delicious J Cuvée 20 Brut NV ($22) created to celebrate J Vineyards 20 years of winemaking excellence.
If you are feeling particularly festive this New Year's, why not opt for the real deal! In order for a sparkling wine to be called Champagne, it has to be from the Champagne region of France (a sparkler from any other region in France is referred to as "Crémant" or "Mousseux"). Bottlings from this exclusive region tend to eclipse sparkling wines from other areas of the world in terms of price and quality. Champagne Ruinart is the oldest Champage House in the world and was founded by Nicolas Ruinart in 1729. The Ruinart Blanc de Blancs NV ($62), made from 100% Chardonnay grapes, is a deliciously elegant option for ringing in the New Year!
No matter which sparkler you choose, I hope you have a spectacular New Year's Eve and a very healthy and happy New Year! At our Museum Event earlier this month, my husband Steve thought it would be funny to put Christmas ornaments on my crutches - I can only imagine what he will come up with for New Year's. See you next year!