Everyone remembers their first experience sipping “wine with bubbles in it”…(unless perhaps you really over indulged that first time…) Nothing says Happy New Year like a sip of bubbly…and the options are endless! Here’s a go-to-guide to toast to, with a few fun facts about this long-favored libation.
Looking for a good “Champagne” to bring in the New Year? If you were to buy a nice Sparkling Wine (Champagne) made in the U.S. you’re probably going to be looking at one’s from the country’s premier wine growing regions, either Napa Valley or Northern Sonoma County. Great products and good value!
3P Factoid: When a wine has secondary fermentation in the bottle, it creates carbonation and hence is referred to as a “Sparkling Wine”. These are made in many places around the world and in case you were not aware, there is only one place on earth, the Champagne region of France where those sparkling wines can be officially labeled “Champagne.” All else outside that region, and the rest of the world is “Sparkling Wine” but still fondly thought of as champagne. (Anyway, I always thought that was interesting….)
In my opinion, some of the most popular and good value brands ($ 10.00 – $ 15.00) that you can’t go wrong with are:
Korbel Brut from the Russian River Valley of Northern Sonoma County. This is my “Best Bet”. It’s available for under $ 10.00 in many food store locations.
Mumm Brut from Napa Valley
Moet Chandon Brut from Napa Valley
Back in the Champagne Region of France:
Dom Perignon still very popular (and expensive) but, Mailly (pronounced “ma – E”) is now one of the highest regarded and high selling Champagnes. They say that approx.. 50% of their entire production goes to the U.S. exclusively to Total Wine, a small percent to the UK and all the rest stays in France. (Mailly is the name of the village, and they used to produce grapes for other labels and then decided to start their own.)
The Mailly Grand Cru Brut Reserve was highly recommended at a cost of only $ 34.99. (There are a number of other Mailly champagnes to choose from, some as expensive as Dom Perignon.)
Another major player in the region is “Tzarina” which I was told was the second oldest champagne vineyard in France. Again these are generally going to be on the expensive side, but maybe something you haven’t tried if you’re into that price range. Brut is the most popular type of champagne, consisting of a mixture of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier grapes. There are other types of champagne as well depending on combination of grapes and ratios used, but way too much to go into here. (If you see a “Brut – Extra Dry” please note that it will be slightly sweeter than regular Brut.)
CELEBRATE LIKE A KING! The early Royalty of France always celebrated special occasions by drinking Champagne, and many consider that the reason we in the U.S. enjoy our annual sipping of the bubbly to bring in a – HAPPY NEW YEAR!