Any time is a great time to drink champagne or sparkling wine, but there’s no more festive way to celebrate the New Year than with a beautiful bottle of bubbles. Check out my latest spot on the Today Show where I talk about the best sparklers under $20 from around the world and my favorite splurge champagnes for that extra special New Year’s Eve celebration. Scroll down after the piece for the list.
Codorniu “Anna” Blanc de Blancs, Cava, Spain, $10, codorniu.com
This crisp, juicy winter-white wine makes a stylish statement. While it might be priced like cotton, it drinks like cashmere. The Codorniu family traces its winemaking origins to 1551, but is on the leading edge of creating distinctly modern sparklers.
Mezza di Mezzacorona, Italy, $15, mezzacorona.it
I call this wine “glacial bubbles,” as the juicy, succulent sparkler hails from high altitude vineyards planted in the shadow of the snow-capped Italian Dolomite mountains. A blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and Muller-Thurgau, this wine is as fun to drink as swishing down the slopes.
Enza Prosecco Extra-Dry, DOC, Italy, $15, enzaprosecco.com
Pull out the punch bowl — it’s party time. Enza’s festive fizz is an ideal choice to use as a base for a punch cocktail. The traditional pairing with Prosecco is peach puree, creating a drink called the Bellini. I pay homage to that classic combination with my Bellini Bowl:
- 2 parts Prosecco
- 1 part peach juice
- 1 part ginger ale or ginger beer
- Sliced peaches or oranges for decoration
Pour peach juice in a punch bowl with ice, sliced peaches and orange slices. Add ginger ale and top with Prosecco.
2013 Rotari Brut, TrentoDOC, Italy, $19, rotari.it
TrentoDOC (pronounced dock) is a world-class bubbly from Northern Italy made in the classic method with the second fermentation happening in bottle. Rotari is a leader in TrentoDOC production and their dry-styled sparkler showcases the purity of Chardonnay. It’s crisp, classy and a tremendous value worth seeking out.
Gratien & Meyer, Brut Rosé, Crémant de Loire, France, $15, gratienmeyer.com
Another sparkling category that is garnering attention for value and quality is Cremant de Loire. This is NOT Champagne, which is bubbly only made in the Champagne region of France. Rather, it’s a delicate sparkling wine from France’s Loire Valley. The historic producer, Gratien & Meyer, has been making wine since 1864. Crafted from the red Cabernet Franc grape, this pretty-in-pink bubbly is a wine you’ll want to buy by the case.
McBride Sisters Collection, Brut Rosé, Marlborough, New Zealand, $19, mcbridesisters.com
Made with primarily Pinot Noir grown in certified sustainable vineyards, this unique Kiwi bubbly is a wine to pour all year long. Rose-petal and red-fruit scented, it’s a refreshingly elegant bubbly that complements savory and sweet fare. As we say in the food and wine pairing business, pork and Pinot are a match made in culinary heaven.
Martini & Rossi Asti DOCG, Italy, $13, martini.com
Hailing from the Piedmont region of Italy and made with Moscato Bianco grapes, Asti is a low-alcohol, slightly sweet and delicately fizzy wine. Martini & Rossi is a producer known for Vermouth, but they have set the standard for delicious Asti. I call it a “magic” wine — it’s so appealingly light and fresh, everyone falls under its spell.
Worth the splurge: Stunners for up to $50
These two superstar sparklers — one from Champagne and the other California — are worth the splurge if you want to part with a bit more cash. They’re great for small gatherings or a romantic evening.
Champagne Taittinger, Brut La Française, Champagne, France, $48, taittinger.com
A classic blend of the three grapes of Champagne, this Chardonnay-led sparkler is aged almost four years in the bottle before release. This gives the La Française the signature creamy smoothness that I look for in a great Champagne. Drink a glass as a holiday gift to yourself.
2011 Roederer Estate, L’Ermitage Brut, California, $48, roedererestate.com
An American icon in the sparkling wine business, Roederer Estate is nestled among towering redwoods in Mendocino’s Anderson Valley. Though California-born, this refined bubbly has a French heritage. Its parent property is the famed house of Louis Roederer Champagne. L’Ermitage is a world-class wine only made in special years and is truly a treat to sip.
Happy New Year!