Any New Years Eve celebration is incomplete without a little bubbly. Whether it’s just a toast at midnight or a glass to sip all night long, something sparkling is a necessity. There are plenty of styles and price ranges to choose from, really something for everyone.
Not all sparkling wine is Champagne. To be called Champagne, the wine must be made within the region of Champagne, France from certain grapes (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier) and in a very specific manner that includes a secondary fermentation within the bottle to produce those delicate little bubbles. Champagne can also be among the most expensive wines in the world. New Years is a great time to splurge, and we’ve got plenty to choose from including the big names you may recognise like Veuve Clicquot, Pol Roger and Dom Perignon. But for something a little different and interesting I like to go with what’s known as ‘grower Champagne’.
Many Champagnes are made by large companies that purchase and blend grapes from a variety of grape growers to produce a consistent house style which becomes synonymous with their brand. This house style makes it very easy for consumers to choose a brand they like and serve it year after year with very little variation. However, this can also result in a wine that tastes somewhat homogenous and lacks a certain character or depth of flavor. In contrast, grower Champagne is produced on the same estate where the grapes are grown. This is thought to produce a wine with a better expression of terroir (a French term explaining the taste of where a wine comes from). Grower champagne often varies in style from vintage to vintage, but it is these variations that can make the wine so interesting. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, we have a couple to choose from. René Geoffroy is a little richer with notes of brioche; Pierre Paillard is crisp and refreshing with hints of lemon zest. Both are absolutely scrumptious!
For something decadent, but a little more budget friendly, I think the best bang for your buck is from Blue Mountain Winery. This Okanagan favorite produces a range of bubbly styles including a delicious sparkling rosé, however their Gold Label Brut is my go-to bubble for many occasions. It has a great balance between rich yeasty tones and vibrant citrusy fruit and is available by the glass if you don’t want to commit to a whole bottle. Be warned, however, it is hard to drink only one glass of this tasty treat.
Speaking of sparkling rosé, we have one of my all-time favorites in the convenient half-bottle format. Gosset Grand Rosé is a great example of just how good Champagne can get and why it’s worth the price. Gosset is one of the oldest Champagne houses in France. They’ve had over 400 years to figure out how to make great wine, and it shows. The Grand Rosé is full of red berry fruit and a touch of yeasty spice, reminiscent of fresh baked goods. This is what I would be drinking at midnight if I wasn’t working.
Keep in mind, though these bubbles are perfect for ringing in the New Year, they are also the perfect accompaniment to our fabulous New Years Day brunch. The crisp acidity and rich frothy texture of almost any sparkling wine is an excellent foil for creamy hollandaise, decadent omelettes or delicate crepes. And if you’re nursing a little hangover, a rich meal and some delicious bubble will fix you right up!