Americans drink the most sparkling wine—perhaps one-third of all that is sold in this country each year—between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. There are plenty of options for all that bubbly—after all, sparkling wine is made all over the world, with each region making it a bit differently…and prices range from as little as $5 or $6 a bottle to thousands. So which do you use as a gift…to make mimosas…and to toast the New Year? Bottom Line Personal asked Wine Curmudgeon Jeff Siegel to guide us through the bubbles…

Mimosas and cocktails: There’s no reason to spend more than $15 for a sparkling wine for mixed drinks, since the orange juice—or whatever mixer—will cover up the taste of the wine. Less expensive Cavas, sparkling wines from Spain, are good choices here—professionally made but simple. Try the Jaume Serra Cristalino or Freixenet, each less than $10.

As a gift: Here’s the place for actual Champagne or perhaps a good California sparkling. Most wine shops carry the usual suspects, such as Veuve Clicquot and Dom Pérignon, but consider also Laherte Frères Champagne Blanc de Blancs (about $50)—it is more subtle than the best-known wines but still delicious. California’s Scharffenberger Cellars Brut Excellence, about $20, is a terrific sparkling wine for the money—creamy, yeasty and lots of apple fruit.

Holiday brunches: Prosecco, Italy’s best-known sparkling wine, is lighter and not necessarily as fizzy as Champagne—and very food friendly. It is just right for eggs Benedict and cheesy, overstuffed omelets, as well as piles of pancakes and sausages. Try the Jeio Bisol, about $16, or the Zardetto, about $13, both of which are a step up from supermarket labels.

New Year’s Eve toast: This is where the bubbles do matter—fine and tight, racing to the top of the glass. But that doesn’t mean it has to be expensive. Look for a sparkling wine made in France that isn’t Champagne, often called ­crémant and made with different grapes than those used in Champagne. Both the Côté Mas Crémant de Limoux and the Ackerman Marquis de la Tour, each about $13, will help bring in the new year right.


Related Articles