- Posted by CorkNoob
Let’s be honest, almost anything will be amazing after taking back multiple beverages on New Year’s Eve, but there is also nothing worse than ringing in the New Year with a terrible taste in your mouth. I say this because I have had some really bad experiences with New Years bubbles myself. Everyone banging their glasses together followed by a “Man, was that gross!?” is not what you hope to happen.
Although most of us can’t afford to spend $50-$100 on a bottle of Dom Perignon or some other fancy champagne, I am on a mission to find a great tasting version for under $25 bucks.
Disclaimer: I am no wine aficionado, but I do enjoy several glasses from time to time. After taking some tips from this Champagne 101 blog, I have selected sparkling wines I thought would be just as delicious as the more expensive bottles that Jay-Z touts.
Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir Sparkling Wine
Average Price: $18
Why I bought it: I figured that since I love California Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, this had to be good!
Initial impression: It was pretty dry, which explains the “Brut”. Drier than I expected, but it still had an interesting flavor overall. I’d buy it again, but maybe look at a slightly sweeter version.
Bonus: I was able to pop this cork without spilling wine everywhere!
Website notes: “On the nose, delicate pear and floral notes are backed by toasty almond. On the palate, one finds lively citrus, toast and apple flavors overlaid with persistent effervescence, a creamy mid-palate and a toasty finish.” (http://www.gloriaferrer.com)
Mumm Napa Blanc de Blancs
Chardonnay and Pinot Gris Sparkling Wine
Average Price: $22
Why I bought it: I recently read an article that discussed Blanc de Blancs which are made with all white grapes and easy to drink, so I thought I’d give it a try.
First impression: I’m sorry, but this one smells like old cheese. I think maybe this is for a more experienced wine drinker.. that also likes cheese smelling wine? I wouldn’t buy this again. Again, maybe a sweeter version would work out better for me.
Website notes: “Our Blanc de Blancs displays complex aromas of lime, sweet Meyer lemon and golden apple. Crisp and focused on the palate, its bright citrus, apple, peach and brioche flavors persist throughout a long, mouthwatering finish.” (https://www.mummnapa.com)
Prosecco Sparkling Wine
Average Price: $13
Why I bought it: I also read that Prosecco is a popular sparkling wine, yet typically better priced than Champagne. It had this really pretty sky blue label.
First impression: I think I should’ve purchased some sweeter wines. This is also very dry and not what I expected it to taste like. I enjoy dry white and red wines, but I seem to not be ready for dry sparkling wines. If you are into dry bubbles, you might like this one.
Website Notes: “With delicate, golden straw color and lively effervescence, our Prosecco opens with aromas of fresh citrus, honey and white flowers. The palate is fresh and clean, with flavors of ripe lemon, green apple and grapefruit framed by mineral undertones. The light finish is refreshing and crisp.” (http://www.lamarcaprosecco.com)
Santa Digna Estelado Rosé
Rosé Sparkling Wine (100% País)
Average Price: $15
Why I bought it: I wanted to have a wide range of different grapes to taste, and this rose’s pretty in pink label matched the pink wine.
First impression: Oh. my. gosh. I just spilled this wine everywhere after popping the cork. Wow! It does have a really nice fruit smell. The problem is, I think it was more fun to open and smell than to taste. I’m really thinking I either don’t like sparkling wine as much as I thought or I need to try more sparkling wines. (Most likely the latter.)
Website notes: “Pale rose colour, with fine and persistent bubbles. Hints of red and citrus fruits dominate on the nose. On the palate, fresh, lively, and genuine, characteristic of the ancestral País varietal.” (http://migueltorres.cl)
Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne
Why I bought it: I had to try some sort of “real” Champagne to see if there would be a difference. I knew Veuve Clicquot from our article about women in wine. She seemed like a pretty cool lady for having a Champagne business in the 1800s. To accommodate my budget, I purchased a smaller bottle that was under $20 in Pennsylvania. The average price for a normal-sized bottle was over $50.
First impression: There was definitely a difference in taste compared to all the rest that I had tried. This makes me intrigued to try some more bubbles!
Website notes: “Powerful and complex, the Brut Yellow ensures continuity of the House style and offers an “aromatic” rare brand remembered for long.” (http://www.veuve-clicquot.com)
Overall, here are a few tips I learned from this experience:
Start with sweeter sparkling wines if you’re a noob like me.
I enjoy dry reds and whites frequently, but dry sparkling wine is a whole different story.
(Anything “Brut” is dry. Anything “Sec” is sweeter.)
Wine Folly has a great chart to explain this here.
Make sure your sparkling wine is chilled.
I made the noob move of attempting to taste them at room temperature the first time around. Bad idea! Sparkling wine should be served at a temperature between 39 and 48 degrees Fahrenheit. Try storing in the fridge or chilling in an ice bucket to make it look fancy.
So you can look like you are an experienced wine-o and overall cool person.
What’s your favorite sparkling wine? Please share and send us any that you saber this New Year @CorkGuru.