It’s almost New Year’s Eve…are you ready to celebrate? One of the things I’m told each year by people is that they either “don’t like champagne/sparkling wine” or they “don’t want to pay high prices for a bubbly toast.” Let me offer a couple of suggestions.
First, for those that want bubbles, but aren’t fans of the dry taste, why not try a ‘bubbly’ cocktail? A simple but INCREDIBLY delicious one requires filling a champagne flute 3/4 of the way full of your favorite champagne/sparkling wine/cava/prosecco and floating 1/2 to a full ounce of St. Germain liqueur on top. St. Germain is a French liqueur made from the Elder flower…neither too sweet or tart. For some reason when you mix it with bubbles, it turns into liquid ‘crack’ for both men and women. Add a slightly crushed blackberry in the bottom and it makes it even better. Do it with a sparkling rose and drink it all the way through Valentine’s Day.
You’re welcome, guys…I just gave you a romantic drink idea for your ‘sweetie.’
A couple of suggestions to try for bubbles that are inexpensive would be anything from Treveri Cellars out of Washington State. AMAZING wines featuring everything from Extra Brut “Blanc de Blanc” to a Sparkling Gewurztraminer. My personal favorites are the “Blanc de Blanc” Brut made entirely of Chardonnay (lovely taste of apples and bread yeast in this one) as well as their Sparkling Rose made with Chardonnay and SYRAH (gives it a deeper ruby color and a richer flavor). You can find the line of sparkling wines retailing anywhere from $15-20.
Another fun option comes from Australia. Westend Estates offers their ‘Eternity’ Sparkling Cuvee made from the Semillon grape. Not your ordinary sparkler, this has flavors of toasty french bread, lemon custard, pineapple, and honey. So incredibly different and so delicious and refreshing. Be the talk of your party with this one. Prices range from about $13-17.
If you truly want Champagne (and for that, we’re talking about the sparkling wines coming from the region in France that is ALLOWED to call it Champagne), but you don’t want to have to mortgage your house to do it, I’d suggest selections from Jean Michel Grower Champagne. Located in the Moussy region of Champagne (only 4 km from the famed Epernay region), they share the same Kimmeridgian soil as Taittinger. What does that mean? It means you’re getting the same sought after Champagne that you would have to sell your firstborn to afford it at about half to a third of the price. 50 year old vines, mostly Organic, the rest using Sustained growing practices, of Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. Delicate mousse, delicious toast…it is the most elegant gal in the room. Look for it to retail between $50-60.
Celebrating in style doesn’t have to be stuffy nor expensive. So raise your glass to outstanding wines and an outstanding 2014!
Cheers, and Happy New Year!