Break Out the Bubbly


Well the results of our Snooth poll are in and you've told us what you want to drink while ringing in the new year! Now we have some recommendations for you!

Your replies let us know just what was in this year and I have taken a look at some of my favorite producers to create this list that ranges from the least popular category, Tete de Cuvee Champagne, with one recommendation to Classic French Champagne, with 5 recommendations.
These are all great wines so you won't go wrong no matter which one you choose! One thing worth remembering, however, is that sparkling wines come in a range of styles and what's written on the bottle doesn't always tell you what's in there. Here's a handy guide to help you navigate the nomenclature and find a wine with a sweetness level you'll enjoy!

  • Brut Nature, Brut Zero or Zero Dosage = Bone Dry
  • Extra Brut or Ultra Brut = Very dry but with a softer edge than Brut Nature
  • Brut = Actually a range that spans quite dry to a softer, yet still dry style
  • Extra-Sec or Extra Dry = Just a touch sweet, emphasizing the fruitiness of the wine.
  • Sec or Dry = Becoming noticeably sweet but still considered dry
  • Demi-Sec = Obviously sweet though some just barely so
  • Doux = Sweet wines, but quite rare to find.

5th Most Popular:
Only the best will do! Tete de Cuvee Champagne for me!

While the Krug NV Brut Grand Cuvee is not their most expensive Tete de Cuvee it does represent the pinnacle of this style of Champagne: full, rich, oak aged to creamy perfection. It's a splurge worth making for that once a year treat!

Krug NV Brut Grand Cuvee
The composition of the cuvee is a stunning mosaic of flavors where the three champagne grapes, 20-25 growths and 6-10 different years, combine to give Krug Grande Cuvee its complexity, elegance and consistency year after year, blend after blend. To maintain this consistency Krug reserves a large selection of unblended still wines from previous vintages blending them with the youngest crop to create a fully balanced taste. These reserve wines may represent between a third and a half of the cuvee. The bouquet is wonderfully creamy, leading to magical combination of weight and balance on the palate. The long, lingering finish is both nutty and toasty, ending with a final flourish of freshness, leaving one longing for more.

4th Most Popular:
Spanish Cava

Speaking of Tete de Cuvee, one very affordable option worth exploring is Siguras Vuiudas Reserva Heredad. You may have seen the massive bottle with the ornamental metalwork base! It's a real great value in Cava and a wine with some of the fine aged character that distinguishes the top Tete de Cuvee bottlings. Their base bottling NV Brut Reserva is a great choice for parties, fresh, balanced and easy to drink!

Siguras Vuiudas Reserva Heredad
Rating: 88/100 - As reviewed by Wine & Spirits Magazine on 08/09 Sweet floral scents meet chalky notes in the middle of this wine. The structure is soft, with gentle bubbles. Its tart, lime-pulp flavors will match cracked crab.

Siguras Vuiudas NV Brut Reserva
Rating: 92/100 - As reviewed by Wine & Spirits Magazine Grape Tray: Unexpectedly complex, this first hints at smoke, cocoa and dry spices, and that layering rolls into the taste as well. Forward, ripe apple fruitiness rises above a dry hint of apple skin, wrapping up in a citrus and mineral grip. Stylistically it's graceful and austere, perfect for simple grilled shellfish of any kind.

3rd Most Popular:
Italian Prosecco or Spumante

Next on our list comes the great sparkling wines of Italy and none is as welcome at any celebration as the Veneto's fine Prosecco. Mionetto makes a selection of Prosecco ranging from the rich and polished Sergio Spumante Extra Dry to the delightfully fruity and fresh classic that is NV Prosecco Brut. Add to these the gently sparkling Frizzante, Il Prosecco that caresses the palate and you'll find something that is as well suited for New Years Eve celebrations as it is for New Years day's very late, very quiet brunch!

Mionetto Sergio Spumante Extra Dry
Just a bit sweet but balanced with rich floral tones and notes of dried peach and pear on the palate. Finishes with a touch of orange oil, good persistence and fine mousse.

Mionetto NV Prosecco Brut
100% Prosecco from the Veneto. This wine has an intense fruity bouquet with a hint of golden apple. Brut, fresh and light in body, Mionetto Prosecco Brut is well-balanced and easy to drink. This wine is perfect alone as an aperitif or as a delightful compliment to appetizers such as prosciutto or mild cheese.

Mionetto Frizzante, Il Prosecco
Grapes 100% Prosecco I.G.T. from Marca Trevigiana - Wine A straw-colored wine with brilliant reflections. The aroma is fruity, reminiscent of pear and citrus with a slightly floral bouquet. The wine is fresh and crisp with apparent apple and peach flavors. This lightly sparkling (Frizzante) wine typifies the traditional wine-maker's Prosecco. - Food Perfect as an aperitif, to complement light cuisine such as grilled fish and vegetables, pizza or to enjoy in everyday social situations." --Importer's Notes

2nd Most Popular:
Domestic sparkling wine

When talk turns to domestic sparkling wine there is one producer who dominates the discussion. The original, and still the best, American Methode Champenoise - Schramsberg. From their very own Tete de Cuvee, the 2000 Schramsberg Reserve with its captivating melange of spice tones and dried orchard fruits to the classic 2005 Blanc de Noirs and 2005 Blanc be Blanc that capture the house's trademark dry, crisp and complex style. If you're looking for a sweeter style of bubbly don't overlook Schramberg's Cremant that offers a great, perfumed, off-dry, drinking experience, great for capping off a New Year's feast!

2000 Schramsberg Reserve

2005 Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs
Fresh fruit is spotlighted in this wine. Strawberry, raspberry and cherry aromas dominate the nose, accented by a delicious creaminess that carries through to the palate. The wine is deepened by the bottle-aged characteristics of caramelized apples and baked dough. A juicy sweet and sour berry palate carries this wine to a satisfying, seamless and memorable finish. --The Wine Buyer

2005 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs
The length of the 2005 growing season allowed for the development of ripe fruit character. Fresh crisp apple, lemon chiffon and juicy pineapple all come to mind. Suggestions of warm brioche and hazelnut lead way to a pleasing palate bursting with ripe apple, keylime and plump apricot. The 2005 Blanc de Blancs finishes with refreshing acidity and a quenching palate. While this wine can be enjoyed by itself as an aperitif, it is also perfect with fresh oysters and other shellfish, crab cakes, ceviche and grilled sea bass. It is also delicious with lemon chicken and Thai curries. Serve with aged Gouda or other hard cheeses and asa counterpoint to soft triple creams.

Schramsberg Cremant
Schramsberg Cremant is a delicate off-dry, dessert-style wine: an American original. Cremant is French for "creamy" and traditionally refers to a sparkling wine with less pressure and softer effervescence. Our Cremant has roughly half the pressure of our other sparkling wines, it presents a creamier texture, and has more exotic flavors. --Shop Wine Direct

Your Most Popular Selection:
French Champagne

Finally we come to the original: French Champagne. My favorite house must be Billecart-Salmon with their brilliant, precise and absolutely seductive range of wines. The flagship 1998 Cuvee Nicolas Francois Billecart has Grand Cru breeding through and through with its racy elegance and exceptional length. The NV Brut Rose has that bit of added richness one finds in Rose; yet remains classically lacy Billecart. Both the Brut Reserve and the Brut Blanc de Blanc are about as good as Non-vintage champagne can get and offer all the breeding one expects from Billecart. And for those who like a whisper of sweetness in their bubbly and have a hard time finding a wine that has the complexity of fine Champagne that is just off-dry, the NV Demi-Sec is to die for!

1998 Billecart-Salmon Cuvee Nicolas Francois Billecart Champagne Brut Millesime
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir: The cuvee was created in 1964 as a tribute to the Champagne house's founder. The wine is a blend of only the best Chardonnay and Pinot Noir fruit from grand cru sites in the Cote des Blancs and the Montage de Reims. A portion of the wine vinified in traditional oak casks creating both a rich and elegant Champagne. --Winemaker's Notes

Billecart-Salmon Champagne Brut Rose
ppearance: Persistent mousse, with fine bubbles rising slowly. Pale salmon pink in color, with a shade of gold. Aroma: A nose of red fruits and fresh pear. Taste: Delicate fruit on the palate, elegant, and showing great finesse.

Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve
Classic French sparkler - dry and balanced. --Winemaker's Notes

Billecart-Salmon Brut Blanc de Blancs
A similar selection of grand cru grapes as the 1998 Blanc de Blancs, however the NV is a blend of two separate vintages. --Winemaker's Notes

NV Billecart-Salmon Demi-Sec
Everything you love from this house and more. This is a nicely off dry Champagne with all the floral, honey character you can crave. An excellent aperitif sparkler. --Astor Wine & Spirits

Whatever your style, wherever you're from I hope you enjoy your wines. This New Year's Eve I tip my glass to you for making all this possible! Salute!

Prost! Skal! Salud! Chin Chin! Kippis! Zum Wohl! Slainte! Aish Karo! Na zdrowie! Saude! Cheers! L'Chayim! Gan Bei! Prosit Neujahr! Geia mas!

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