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.

Here's our lineup for a complete sparkling wine sampler at New Year's Eve

Here’s our lineup for a complete sparkling wine sampler at New Year’s Eve

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.
Sweetness – pay attention here!
  • 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
Champagne Secret!
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
    • Piper-Heidsieck
  • Grower Champagnes we like
    • Chartogne-Taillet
    • 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!

8 Responses to “Sparkling New Years!”
  1. What a GREAT line-up! The Roederer is one of my favorites, too! Have fun tonight . . . Happy New Year!! And I LOVE that you photographed the bottles in snow . . . clever!! 😃

  2. Great info and a great line-up here! How is the weather up there? Still frigid it seems like on! Happy New Year to you and your family!

  3. Margaret says:

    Fun idea to do a sampler!

  4. Lynda says:

    Thanks Jeff for the primer! Love the “kid’s wine”, the sparkling grape juice, which we had around here for years with the kids!

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