With Christmas come and gone, and the hangovers cleared up, it’s time to figure out what kind of sparkling wine to drink for New Year’s Eve. I don’t say Champagne as only sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France can use that name. Yes, they tend to be expensive. But there are lots of great value options coming out of Italy (Prosecco), Spain (Cava) and even here in the States.
If you’re looking to stay under $10, your best bet is to stay with a Cava. You can find the Freixenet Cordon Negro almost everywhere (solid black bottle) and it is quite tasty. Cristalino Brut is also readily available and a nice Cava option. If you would rather drink something from California, Korbel Brut and Rose are both excellent value options.
In the world of Prosecco, I find there to be two clear standouts in the $10-15 price range. La Marca and Zardetto both make a very clean and fruit driven Prosecco, which is not always the case as sometimes Prosecco can be a little too sweet. Again, both are carried at most wine stores, but Rye Brook Wine and Spirit Shop seems to have best prices around for both. Check out the link…http://www.ryebrookwines.com/results?query=prosecco&mv_click_map=Go&mv_click_Go=
If you are willing to jump up to the $15-25 price range, we start getting into some really high quality California Sparkling whites and roses. Remember, in red wines it is the skins that give it the color. Most of the time they will use Pinot Noir and/or Chardonnay for the sparkling wine (like they do in Champagne), so these can have a lot of body to them.
My favorites have to be the Gloria Ferrer Brut or Rose, the Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut Rose and the Domaine Carneros Brut (which is partly owned by the Champagne veterans Taittinger). All score in the high 80’s to low 90’s and are extremely well made wines, even if you wanted to drink them with a meal.
Once you’re spending over $25, you can start getting into the real Champagnes….and it is very tough to find a bad one! Some are made in the crisp and dry style, such as the Piper Heidsieck or the Moet and Chandon White Star (these are ones that I prefer). Others have an older style to them, where you get a bit of a yeast element. Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label is a classic and made in this style as well as Pommery Brut Royal. Regardless of which you go with, all are delicious and festive options for New Year’s Eve.
Lastly, if 2009 was a great year and you want to go all out, it’ll cost you but you will drink some of the best juice that comes out of France (including the Grand and Premier Cru Bordeaux and Burgundy wines). Vintage Louis Roederer Cristal and Veuve Clicquot La Grand Dame are a couple of the most popular (just ask Jay-Z ;) These will have that classic Champagne yeast component. But for my tastes, I prefer a classic vintage Dom Perignon or Krug Brut. No matter what you decide to celebrate with, have a very Happy and SAFE New Year’s!