There are so many types of bubbles: Champagne, Prosecco, Cava, California blanc de noirs, rosé, blanc de blancs, brut, extra dry, demi-sec. Almost any region that makes wine also makes a form of sparkling wine, but it can only be called champagne if it comes from the actual Champagne region of France. For instance, Australia makes a wine called black bubbles, made from shiraz, and it’s delicious.
What is great about champagne and sparkling wines is that they pair well with the outrageous myriad of foods we find ourselves faced with during the holidays. What single wine could possibly go with deviled eggs, honey ham, roasted turkey, green bean casserole, drunk dogs, creamy mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie?
My favorite sparking wine is Schramsberg Brut rosé from California. I discovered it many years ago on a trip and it still stands up. It isn’t the least or the most expensive, it’s versatile and it’s a striking pink color (but dry, not sweet) when poured into a glass. The wine is aged in stainless steel and French oak barrels, giving it an aroma of fresh yeasty bread and a flavor of strawberries.
Of course, champagne is the king of sparkling wine, and there are plenty of very expensive ones. Veuve Clicquot Yellow label is the iconic French brut (meaning dry) champagne. The label is very recognizable.
The House of Veuve Clicquot (literally means Widow Clicquot) is consistent in its excellence. The combination of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay make it a bright, balanced, creamy, medium-bodied wine. The story behind this brand is as interesting as the wine. Check out the book The Widow Cliquot by Tilar Mazzeo if you’d like some fascinating history about this champagne empire.
Head over to a wine store’s Spanish section and look for a Cava, Spain’s answer to sparkling wine. Made in the region of Penedes, near Barcelona, the wine is produced in the Methode Champenoise, or traditional French method. The bottle is handmade and has a pewter base with the family’s crest on it. It’s a beautiful bottle and makes for a great gift. The wine itself tastes like honey, fruit and flower petals.
If you want to try a sparkling wine on the edgier side, check out Shingleback’s Black Bubbles sparkling shiraz. It’s so different from anything I’ve ever tried. The bubbles are a vibrant magenta color, and the taste is of licorice, spice and dark cherries. It’s balanced with tannins and acidity, but you can still taste the fruit.
Remember to make eye contact when you clink glasses for good luck in the new year!