Sparkling New Years!
Going out for New Years? Stopping by the liquor store / wine shop / grocery store for a bottle on the way? Here’s a last minute primer on picking up your sparkling wine.
Champagne producers in France want you to know: It’s only Champagne if it’s produced from the Champagne region in France.
- Champagne method= 2nd fermentation in the bottle
- Grapes – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier
- Blanc de Blancs – made solely from Chardonnay
- Blanc de Noirs – Made from Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier
- Rose – some red wine mixed in with the white
- NV – non-vintage. Base wine is mixed over multiple years. Most Champagne is NV. Vintage Champagne is significantly more expensive.
- Brut Nature / Non-dosage – no added sugar at all
- Brut – very dry (but can have a little sweetness)
- Extra Dry –starting to taste a bit sweet
- Dry – noticeably sweet
- Demi-Sec – very sweet
- Sec or Doux – sweet as in syrup
Teeny, teeny print somewhere on the Champagne label tells you what kind of producer made the wine
- NM – negociant manipulant – Corporate, think Coca Cola. Not bad, will always be consistent in style
- RM– recoltant manipulant – This wine maker grew the grapes on the estate and made the wine themselves. AKA Grower Champagne, Farmer Fizz
Other Sparkling Wine
- Method Champenoise = Method Traditionelle – the others will put this on the label
- Charmat method = 2nd fermentation in a tank, then bottle. Prosecco is usually Charmat method
$15 and under
- Cava (Spain) made like champagne, classified the same: Brut, etc
- Asti (Italy) – Usually sweet, light apertif or dessert
- Prosecco (Italy) – usually a little sweetness, very nice for everyday, welcome, and apertif. Best is Valdobiaddene DOCG
- French non-Champagne – St. Hilaire, Baron de Seillac both are super nice for around $12
- US – Methode Champenoise
- Dom. Ste. Michelle $10, bubbly light
- Gruet (from New Mexico!) $15
- US sparkling – Method Champenoise
- Roederer Estate NV Brut – very nice! $20
- Schramsberg Mirabelle
- Argyle Brut – very nice!
- France – sparkling, non Champagne
- Cremant de Loire, Limoux, Bourgogne – champagne style, different grapes, usually wonderful. Highly recommended
If I’m spending more than $30, I’ll opt for Champagne. Also, I’m a big fan of the little guy, so I lean more towards Grower Champagnes. Look for the RM on the label!
- Big Houses we like
- Grower Champagnes we like
- Marc Hebrart
- Pierre Peters
- J. Lassalle
- Gaston Chicquet
Here’s our line-up for our New Year’s Eve Sparkling tasting. A grand tour of sparkling wine! Click on any photo to start the slide show. Cheers and Happy New Year!
Note to self: next year, get this one done a week earlier!