A last-minute buying guide for New Year’s Eve bubbly

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!



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