Ringing in the New Year with Bubbles
While the bubbles may have diminished quickly after the start of 2020, we are going to SPARKLE ALL YEAR LONG in 2021!
There is no mistaking it … Champagne is king! Dom Perignon produced the first sparkling wine version of Champagne in 1693. Champagne is associated with luxury, celebration, and romance — and it comes with a price tag to match. Therefore, most of us reserve it for special occasions.
Fortunately, there are many delicious yet affordable alternatives to Champagne …
My Favorite: Crémant
There are 8 appellations within France that produce a sparkling wine remarkably similar to Champagne, referred to as “Crémant”. Crémant d’Alsace is my favorite style of sparkling wine with a consideration of quality and value. Loire, Limoux, and Burgundy are three other popular appellations for Crémant. You can enjoy a beautiful and complex yet elegant bottle of Crémant for about $25 (fooling your friends into thinking they are drinking Champagne).
My preference is a rosé style of Crémant.
They have more body and a deeper flavor profile that stands up to a larger variety of food pairings. It can even be enjoyed throughout an entire meal, as it did in my house for Thanksgiving. I recommend Lucien Albrecht Crémant D’Alsace Rosé or Bailly Lapierre Crémant de Bourgogne Rosé.
Other styles to explore
Cava Reserva and Gran Reserva – Cava is made using the “traditional method” similar to Champagne, however the minimum aging period is 9 months vs 15 months in Champagne. For a more complex Cava try “Reserva Cava” (aged for a minimum of 15 months) or “Gran Reserva” (minimum of 30 months on lees).
MCC (Méthode Cap Classique) – South Africa’s premium sparkling wine using the traditional method with minimum of 12 months. These will be hard to find as the production is smaller than competitors like Cava or Prosecco. Look for Môreson, Graham Beck, or Simonsig.
Pét-nat – A funky, yeasty, slightly sweet, and less fizzy sparkling wine. The oldest method of fermentation is used for this style of sparkling wine, referred to as “method ancestral”, bottled during the first fermentation. These wines are cloudy and come in a variety of colors and flavors. Give it a try and get a glimpse what sparkling wines tasted like hundreds of years ago.
Now what sparkling wine are you going to pop to ring in 2021?
Ever wonder what the difference is between Prosecco, Cava, and Champagne?
More about this in my next article on January 6, 2021.
Photos courtesy Stephanie Roberts
Stephanie Roberts, WSET® Certified, is passionate about educating people about wine and all its complexities. She believes that through education comes enlightenment and approachability – elevating the wine and food experience. Stephanie offers unique and tailored wine experiences.
Wine education and topic-driven tastings are now available virtually and in-person for private groups. Choose to attend a scheduled class such as the 4-part Wine Education Series or customize a session to your specific interests. Corporate happy hours (virtual for now) are also available. Contact Stephanie directly through FB, IG or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or reserve your spot at a public event through FB (@Corks&Boards) or Eventbrite.