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If you make it until midnight on New Year's Eve, chances are that you will be raising a glass of bubbly to toast the New Year. The good news is that there is a sparkling wine to fit any budget.
If you want to splurge this New Year, go for the real deal, Champagne - with a capital "C." Champagne is only made in the northeastern region of France where sparkling wine originated. It is produced by using the Champenoise Method also known as the Traditional Method, which includes a second fermentation in the bottle that releases the bubbles. Even in Champagne prices vary. Many of the well-known brands such as Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label sell for $40-$50, but prices can climb to well above $100 for vintage Champagne from a single year.
Sparkling wines made in the Traditional/Champagne Method, but not derived from Champagne, France, can be found in a more moderate price range. These wines can be produced anywhere and the label will indicate if they have been made in that method. California and Australia are making some very good sparklers. Sparkling wine made in Spain is known as Cava, and is a good choice that can be easier on your wallet.
If you're looking for a sparkler in the $10-$12 price range, Prosecco from Italy is an excellent option. It's light, fruity and bubbly. The second fermentation usually takes place in a stainless-steel tank, which is a less-expensive method. This means better pricing, yet less complexity in the wine. It is also a good sparkler to use for cocktails.
Cheers to a Happy New Year!
A 25-year veteran of the wine and hospitality industry, George Staikos is known for his role as an educator, sharing his passion for wine appreciation. He is the founder and president of the Educated Grape, a company specializing in interactive education programs and in-home wine entertaining for wine enthusiasts and companies. He is a professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s International School of Hospitality Management, where he teaches “Introduction to the Study of Wine.” He is also Vice Echanson or regional wine director for the mid-Atlantic region for the Chaine des Rotisseurs, a worldwide food-and-wine organization.
Staikos is a graduate of Florida International University in Miami with a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management. He is married with three children and lives in Flemington.