Bubbling up the new year
Whether you prefer California sparkling wine, French Champagne, Italian prosecco or Spanish cava, you will find no shortage of choices this holiday season.
Even New Zealand’s hot brand Kim Crawford makes a vintage bubbly, and the more commercial Menage a Trois and Cupcake bring in proseccos from Italy.
According to Nielsen.com, sales of sparkling wine in the U.S. are up 10 percent for the 52 weeks ending Oct. 15. Prosecco has gained the most ground — up 36 percent for the year.
Why bubblies? The dry ones are the most all-purpose food wine in the world — pair them with anything. But more to the point, whether dry or sweet, those jets of tiny bubbles in pretty glass flutes signal good times and celebrations.
If you need to grab a bottle at the last minute, here are some smart picks that are easy to find. Most will be on sale.
La Marca Prosecco DOC, $17: Dressed up in the baby-blue label trimmed with silver, this Italian bubbly is one of the hottest in the prosecco category. Remember, prosecco is made in an off-dry style, meaning it has a hint of sweetness, plus it’s lower in alcohol, which makes it ideal for serving solo or mixing in cocktails. Other good choices: Ruffino, Mionetto, Cupcake, Chloe ($12 range)
Segura Viudas Gran Cuvée Reserva Cava NV, $14: This year, the producer of this popular sparkling wine from Spain switched up the Brut by adding chardonnay and pinot noir to the usual blend of Spanish grapes and extending the aging. The regular Segura Viudas Brut costs a little less, the Reserva Heredad a little more. The style of these wines is dry.
Moet & Chandon Imperial Brut NV, $43: The label of the flagship wine of this top French producer has flashy 3-D golden bubbles for its role as the official Champagne of New Year’s Eve in Times Square. It has bright fruit and a seductive style. Other choices: Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage Rosé 2006, $90; Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve, $65
J Vineyards & Winery Cuvée 20 NV, $35: This is a hallmark cuvée from this prominent sparkling wine house in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley. It has intense jets of tiny bubbles, lovely aromas of lime zest, toasted almond and honeysuckle with flavors of pear, lime and yeasty brioche. An alternative: the J Vineyards Brut Rosé, $40, in a clear bottle to show off the vibrant pink color.
Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut NV, $22: The quality is unswerving at this Spanish-owned, pioneering winery in Sonoma’s Carneros district. It’s driven by pinot noir and wakes up every sensory point in your head with its delicate pear and floral notes backed by toasty almond.
Barefoot Bubbly Extra Dry, $10: This surprising sparkler is semi-sweet leaning to dry. It’s zesty, fruit-forward and palate-cleansing with crisp tangerine, orange and yellow apple flavors. It would be ideal for cocktails. Alternative: Barefoot Bubbly Brut Cuvée is the driest of the line.
M. Lawrence “Detroit” Demi Sec, $15: Of all Larry Mawby’s M. Lawrence wines, this one stands out for its tangy flavors — tangerine, lime, apricot. The subtle sweetness is balanced with juicy acidity. Mawby is Michigan’s premier sparkling wine producer.
See Sandra Silfven’s wine blog at detroitnews.com/wine.