Don't limit yourself to sparkling wines from France (Champagne or otherwise) as you ring in the New Year! Wonderful sparklers are available from Oregon (yes, Oregon), Spain, and Italy - there is sure to be one that both fits your palate and your checkbook.
I was really excited to get samples from Oregon's Kramer Vineyards, because any place that makes great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay like Oregon should also be able to make great sparkling wine (not that sparkling wine needs to be made from those 2 grapes, but you get the idea). In fact, the wines I tasted have neither of those grapes, and are still fantastic.
2013 Celebrate Pinot Gris: grapes hand harvested from 27 year old vines; whole cluster pressed; fermented in stainless steel and aged sur lie for 5 months; bubbles added though a diffusion stone; pear, kiwi, and citrus aromas; pear, white floral, and melon flavors into a mineral finish; plentiful bubbles; 12.5% ABV; cork closure; 99 cases produced; SRP $22.
2013 Celebrate Müller-Thurgau: grapes hand harvested; whole cluster pressed; fermented in stainless steel and aged sur lie for 5 months; bubbles added though a diffusion stone; tropical, citrus blossom, lychee and stone fruit aromas; pear, stone fruit, and starfruit flavors; smooth mouthfeel with bubbles coming on late; tart, almost sour finish; 11% ABV; cork closure; 325 cases produced; SRP $22.Sparkling Moscato
ProseccoMia Moscato is available in regular and mini single-serve bottles and this slightly sweet wine is fun to drink on its own or pairs well with pretty much every food. Fermented in stainless steel; 7% ABV. Pack a few bottles of this, along with a lunch, and enjoy an al fresco winter picnic.
CavaNew Year's Resolutions? VOVETI Prosecco, whose name has origins in the Latin word “voveo” (to vow), is the perfect choice to toast to new resolutions, and the year to come. Hand picked, whole berry pressed grapes; fermented in stainless then aged sur lie; honey and floral aromas lead into green apple, melon and stone fruit flavors, with small, long-lasting bubbles; 11% ABV; cork closure.
The “Black Bottle Bubbly,” Cordon Negro Brut, is the classic Freixenet Cava, sure to please every one's palate. For something a little different, mix their Sweet Cuvée (lower acidity) with orange juice for a mighty tasty Mimosa. 35% Macabeo, 25% Xarel-lo, 40% Parellada grapes; stone fruit and subtle citrus aromas; tropical and stone fruit flavors; 12% ABV; cork closure.
Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad is a Spanish Cava made in the traditional méthode champenoise. The pewter-embellished bottle bears the crest of the Segura Viudas family, and houses the estate’s top cuvée. Hand harvested grapes (67% Macabeo, 33% Parellada); 9 wines vinified in stainless feel; aged sur lie for 30+ months; yeasty, with a touch of honey and stone fruit; 12% ABV; cork closure. The only thing more festive than this bottle of cava is a magnum of it - something about large-format bottles really feels luxurious!
So go ahead and open that bottle of Champagne if you want, but know there is a whole other world of sparklers out there just clamoring for your attention. All these bottles are food-friendly, pocketbook-friendly, and will cheer you and your guests not only New Year's Eve, but the next morning's brunch as well.
Cheers - Happy New Year!
Wines were provided as media samples - all opinions are my own.
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