All is Sparkling for the New Year

Champagne is the obvious go-to for New Years’ bubbles. But there are a slew of other options out there that are both much more affordable and surprisingly appealing. Here are three to think about.

sparkling-vignetteHAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!

Cava – This Spanish sparkling wine is made in the traditional manner of Champagne (methode traditionelle), mostly near the town of San Sadurni de Noya in Cataluna. Whereas Champagne is made from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier grapes, Cava is made from another trio: Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel-lo, although Chardonnay is also used nowadays.

Characteristics: In general, Cava tends to be lighter bodied than Champagne, with a good deal of earth and fruitiness.

Our picks: Gran Sarao Brut Cava Penedes

Prosecco – Prosecco is the name of both a grape varietal and the sparkling wine that hail from the Veneto region of Italy. Unlike Cava and Champagne, which are produced using the intense traditional method, Prosecco is made using the simpler tank method. The resulting wine is, consequently, less complex than Cava and Champagne, but still makes a lovely aperitif.

Characteristsics: Prosecco is light and festive and even, in some cases, a bit citrusy. I find it less yeasty in general than other sparkling. It also makes a great base for adding a splish of Campari (or Lillet Rouge) as the Venetians do for a Spritz.

Our pick: Sorelle Bronca Prosecco

American Sparkling Wine – Only sparkling wine that is made in the region of Champagne can be called Champagne, which means that all bubblies in America are termed sparkling wines. But don’t think that means they’re inferior; there are several well-regarded sparkling wine houses in the US making everything from delicate Blanc-de-Blancs to beautiful salmon-colored Brut Roses.

Characteristics: Because American sparkling wine doesn’t come from a specific appellation (and isn’t necessarily confined to a certain method), characteristics vary widely.

Our Pick: Schramsberg Brut Rose Sparkling Wine