Still in the market for some bubbly for New Year’s Eve? There’s still time to shop, although you won’t be able to special-order anything. So grower Champagne or direct-from-the-winery bottles may not be an option at this point, but there’s lots of good sparkling wine readily available in wine stores or even supermarkets. For you procrastinators, here’s a last-minute (and by no means comprehensive) buying guide.
A lot of sparkling wine is discounted at this time of you, so it’s a good time to stock up. My go-to California bubbly is the non-vintage Roederer Estate Brut ($24), which should be widely available for less than $20. The non-vintage Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut ($22) is another good choice and usually costs even less.
As you step up in price, there are some very good California wines that may be a bit harder to find – i.e. they won’t be on every supermarket shelf. (The discounts also may not be so generous.) Schramsberg’s second label, Mirabelle, is a good value; the non-vintage Mirabelle Brut ($28) has a bit of toastiness and fine texture. The 2012 Domaine Carneros Brut ($33), from Champagne Taittinger’s Napa Valley outpost, is taut, racy and a little stony. And the non-vintage Etoile ($45), Domaine Chandon’s higher-end bottling, is toasty and fleshy.
Rosé sparkling wine can be very festive. Again, I love Roederer Estate’s brut rosé ($28), but a number of California producers make some delicious rosé, including Mumm Napa ($24) and Chandon ($24). For a pricier rosé, the 2013 Schramsberg Brut Rosé ($44) is spicy, round, creamy and full-bodied yet very pretty.
The non-vintage Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs ($22) – a very pale wine made predominantly from pinot noir — is elegant and lively, with nice richness.
Blanc de blancs sparkling wine is made from white grapes, usually chardonnay. Two good examples are the widely available non-vintage Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blancs ($22) and the more limited 2013 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs ($39). (An aside: Blanc de blancs sparkling wines are great partners for salty snacks.)
If your tastes run to Champagne – by which I mean the real stuff, from the Champagne region of northern France – you can expect to pay more, and you may have to search a bit harder. But the wines that follow shouldn’t be too hard to find. The non-vintage Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve ($36) is an especially attractive value: bright, creamy and a little yeasty, with flavors of apple, lemon and brioche. The non-vintage Pol Roger Reserve Brut ($50) is even richer, while the non-vintage Taittinger Brut La Française ($60) displays more minerality.
Rosé Champagne is pricey, but it’s a lovely splurge if your budget can accommodate it. The non-vintage Taittinger Prestige Rosé Brut ($84) is bright and yeasty, with fine texture and a lot of finesse, while the 2008 Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Rosé ($70) is fuller-bodied but still has a lot of precision.
Cheers to a great 2017!