The holiday season is the perfect time to pop open some sparkling wine.
Sparkling wine is such a festive drink that a glass might even put the Grinch in a good mood, not to mention your guests. Sparkling wines have high acidity making them perfect paring with many of the rich foods we love to indulge in at this time of year. It turns out that not only is most of the sparkling wine sold during the end of year, but retailers also have some great sale prices. Let’s look at some choices and where to find them in town.
- French Champagne is the top shelf of sparkling wines. It only comes from the Champagne area in France and is fermented in the bottle. It has many styles—ranging from light to full body. Most of the champagne come from a few large “houses” and these are widely available. One of the best values is the Nicolas Feuillatte (wine Spectator 90 points), a great deal in a lighter more aromatic style. You can find it at Hazel’s or Superior Liquors for $25.98.
- For a splurge in a delicious, full-body champagne, you can’t go wrong with Bollinger- It is, after all, the wine of James Bond. It is predominantly made from pinot noir grapes boasting rich and complex flavors, which makes it a perfect accompaniment for a holiday meal. You can find a great deal at $49.99 at Boulder Wines and Spirits, Liquor Mart, and Hazels.
- In the US, many sparkling wines are made in the traditional champagne style mostly with pinot noir and chardonnay grapes. California is the largest producer, with many of the champagne houses in France owning California wineries that produce excellent bubblies. Roederer Anderson Valley (made by the same team as Roederer of Cristal fame in France) is all-estate fruit with complex flavors of pear and spice ending with a wonderful long finish. It is widely available and can be found at a great price of $18.99 — North Boulder Liquors and Liquor Mart. Also from California, and voted a best buy from the New York Times and multiple 90 point ratings, is the Scharfenberger Brut Excellence $14.99 at Hazels and Boulder Wines and Spirits.
- If you want a sparkling produced closer to home, the Gruet wines from New Mexico are both tasty and a good value. Gruet is owned by a French family who make their wine in the traditional bottle-fermented style. Gruet produces a complete line including vintage designated wines. For a general party wine, I like the Blanc de Noir (75% pinot noir and 25% chardonnay) with a hint of berry and pear on the palate and a nice toasty finish (available at Boulder Wines and Spirits for $12.99)
- The Prosecco wines of Eastern Italy have grown in popularity over the past few years. These are produced with the second fermentation done in bulk rather than the bottle. It keeps them fresh and a good choice for value. A good one currently on sale is the Col Solivo . It is extra dry with hints of apple and a touch of almond on the finish. It is not quite as dry as the others, giving it a touch of roundness on the palate. A real crowd pleaser for only $9.99 at Liquor Mart, Boulder Wine and Spirits, and Boulder Liquors.
- Spain also produces delicious wines at great prices. For an everyday price and wonderful quality is the Segura Viudas. Their brut reserve comes in both a white and rose. The rose is a bit fruiter on the palate and is a great, festive presentation. It can be found on sale for $6.99 at Liquor Mart, North Boulder Liquors and Superior Liquors.
I have focused on wines that you can easily find around town. There are many other sparkling wines from a variety of countries and regions and made with an assortment of grapes. An example is the Cremant du Jura from Eastern France. It is an Extra Brut with very crisp citrus and mineral flavors. It pair well with smoked salmon or seafood in a creamy sauce, $27.98 Boulder Wine Merchant.
With all the sparkling wines at great prices at this time of year pick up an extra bottle or two for that next occasion or for your valentine. Enjoy!!