Pop a cork on a delightful sparkling wine before the year runs out.
While I am a firm believer that anytime is a good time for sparkling wine, nothing quite expresses the expectant exuberance of the calendar tipping into a new year like a bottle of bubbly. There are more choices than ever out there but I’ve narrowed it down to just a few sparkling wines – no Champagne here – to celebrate the New Year.
Napa’s Peju pulled together one bottle of Blanc de Blancs (notes of green apple and pear) and two bottles of Brut Rosé (cantaloupe, white peach), both made with grapes sourced from California’s North Coast region. It’s a classic sparkling wine – soft bubbles make for a long, enjoyable finish. The kicker is the stunning box it arrives in – a black and gold number that pushes the gift from a “10” to “11” and we all know what that means. $185 for three 750 ml bottles
Sparkling wines from Colorado? Why not? I was thrilled to try this hot pink-hued number from Sauvage Spectrum, a winery based in the western Colorado town of Palisade. There is a subtle sweetness that worked nicely with a cheese, date and almond appetizer I sampled it with at a holiday party. It worked equally well with a sweet chocolate and raspberry dessert. Don’t expect Champagne style but revel in the cheery sweetness and mellow bubbly twang. $23 / 750 ml
My favorite holiday cocktail is a French 75 which I typically craft with Prosecco, northern Italy’s answer to sparkling wine. It’s quick to make with no complicated ingredients – sparkler, gin, lemon juice, simple syrup – and is festive without fuss. Cinzano’s Prosecco is an ideal bottle to keep on hand as a mixer or to drink solo. It’s aromatic and floral on the nose but not at all sweet and pairs well with everything from cheeses and salads to entrees and desserts. It’s a great bottle to keep chilled in the fridge for drinking any time of year. $14 / 750 ml
If you think of a spritz as a drink for summer, you would be right. I adore this sangria-adjacent sparkling wine loaded with berries and fresh peach slices. But the mix of fresh and dry orange peel, chamomile, cardamom and black pepper makes this bubbly food-friendly and appealing in the cooler months, too, when oranges are everywhere. Yes, add slices of fresh orange and an ice cube to the glass for an effortless cocktail. No mixing required. $32 / 750 ml
Sparkling wine out of a can has a place in my California lifestyle. Translation: Though the black can is chic enough for most dinner tables, I drink Just Enough’s Brut Bubbles at barbecues and at the beach when a little pick-me-up is in order. Rather tart on the front palate with large bubbles, the sharpness and pop soften by the time you swallow. The small pack size is ideal for making mimosas for two on New Year’s Day. $42 for a 6-pack of 250 ml (8.45 oz) cans, equal to 2 bottles of wine.
*I received samples of all beverages included here.