It’s not New Year’s Eve without a toast of bubbly. Sparkling wine currently holds 5.7 percent of the United States wine market, according to the Wine Institute and in 2015, Americans bought 21.7 million nine-liter cases of celebratory drink from the U.S. and around the world. This year, pop a cork for a proper New Year’s Eve celebration. Whether it be for a dinner party, cocktail party, a romantic evening for two, or a warmup for a roaring night in the club scene, the looming question is: what Champagne or sparkling wine should I have when I make my entrance?
We talked with Katie Owen, the wine director at WINC, who gave us some of her best tips for making a selection. Want more ideas? Skip to the end where we included some of our favorite bottles.
Tip 1. Think outside the box a little…
Traditionally, that bottle of bubbly you tout in-hand to a NYE celebration needed to be a Champagne bearing the name of an esteemed region like Reims or Côte de Blancs on its label, and be associated with a high price tag to impress. And it seems like every other New Year’s party is flooded with yellow labels of Veuve Cliquot or for the big spender, bottles on bottles of Dom Perignon. But I find going with the obvious to be quite boring. There are so many interesting, exciting, and high-quality, non-Champagne sparkling wines available today, I encourage you to be a little more unique as you wrap up the final hours of 2016! Look to alternatives from places like the UK and Alsace, or even domestic sparkling wines. I think the most exciting bottles available right now are coming from the Craft American Sparkling movement here in the US.
Tip 2: It’s OK to go NV. (A.k.a. “non-vintage”)
A non-vintage bottle simply means the wine came from multiple vintages. You’ll often see bottles labelled “NV” because it’s very typical for sparkling winemakers to blend from different harvest years. Vintage bubbly is usually only made in exceptional harvest years, but that doesn’t mean that non-vintage bubbly can’t be just as exceptional, too. In fact, the blending of different years (or vintages) in one wine can add layers of complexity and result in a wine just as enjoyable.
Tip 3: Get people to try something new
A new year, a new you, and why not be the one to introduce people to a new kind of wine too? Instead of having your bottle be lost in the sea of Champagnes, in this time of setting resolutions and sharing with friends – why not challenge the norm, and create a new norm of being just a little more adventurous.
Try some of DuJour’s favorites:
Soter’s Sparkling Brut Rosé: Prefer pink? We’re all about this Oregon vineyard and their pink bubbly.
Tommasi’s Filodora Prosecco: We like the clean and spicy flavor with floral hints, as well as the light almond aftertaste.
Champagne Pommery’s Royal Blue Sky: A historic French Champagne maison launched a nouveau champagne experience and a modern interpretation of the Piscine (“swimming pool” in French): Royal Blue Sky.
Rebecca Minkoff Chandon Brut: Make an entrance with a chic bottle. Chandon recruited fashion tastemaker a Rebecca Minkoff as its newest designer for the 2016 Limited Edition Holiday bottle.
Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Limited Edition Gold Compass Bottle: The festive gold packaging makes this bubbly extra special.
Ruffino Prosecco: The dryness of the Prosecco and light bubbles pair perfectly with sweet treats for ringing in 2017.
Wolffer Estate’s Cool as Well Brut Sparkling Blanc de Blanc: Filled with flavors of ripe fruit and acidity, this sparkling wine is great for aging (but even better for drinking).
Compartés x Winc Sparking White Blend: One of the chicest chocolate brands partnered with Winc to create the ultimate celebration drink.
Photo Credit: AzmanL / Getty Images