I know! I know. My blogging calendar has been WAY out of wack this week. I skipped Christmas day AND Boxing day, and then yesterday I posted twice (make sure you check out the second post, btw- you don’t want to miss it!). And then today I’m blogging a Wine Wednesday post… and yet it’s Friday. I need to do a better job of keeping in step with my blogging calendar. That’ll go on my ever-expanding list of New Years (Year’s?) resolutions!

One of New Year’s Eve’s signature trademarks is champagne- you have to have something to toast with at midnight, right? What else would you pop open than a bottle of bubbly? Navigating the shelves upon shelves of options, however, can prove a little bit difficult. Up until recently, I had NO idea what the differences were between “Brut,” “Prosecco,” “Extra-Dry,” etc. I know that “dry” when it comes to non-carbonated wines means tart and that it has a bite, but when it comes to sparkling wines, it’s a totally different game.

Technically, the term “champagne” refers to a sparkling wine grow specifically in the Champagne region of France, produced under a particular set of instructions, but the term is applied liberally to most sparkling wines by the general public here in the US. Whoulda thunk it? When it comes to choosing your NYE champagne/sparkling wine, it’s important to know what the terms describing a particular bottle mean. They range from unsweetened and tart to very, VERY sweet- I made a little diagram to help you tell the differences:

champagne diagram- Abby Grace Photography

If you’re the type of person who loves a good IPA or bold glass of merlot, you may tend more toward the Brut/Extra Dry region. But if you find yourself drifting toward fruity, sugary drinks, a Dry or Demi Sec might please your palate a bit more. Spumante and Processco are also worth checking out for those who like their champagnes a bit sweeter, but not so sweet that it’s like drinking Welches grape juice. I headed over to Wegmans to find a few examples of different types of bubbly!

Below we have a Brut and a Blanc de Blanc. Most champagnes and sparking wines are made by combining both red and white grapes, but by keeping out the wine skins (tannins) it keeps the wine “white.” A “Blanc de Blanc” champagne is specifically made with only the juice from white grapes. Useless trivia for your weekend :).

Champagne and sparkling wine guide- Abby Grace PhotographyChampagne and sparkling wine guide- Abby Grace Photography

I love the PINK sparkling wine- it’s a little bit tart, but it’s such a fun bubbly! I had a couple of bottles on hand for my last boudoir marathon day and my brides loved it :). It’s not too expensive either- it runs around $9-11/bottle.

Champagne and sparkling wine guide- Abby Grace Photography

Cooks is always a reliable option for those on a budget- they’re in pretty much every grocery store in America and have several  varieties available, running around $7-9/bottle.

Champagne and sparkling wine guide- Abby Grace Photography

And for those of you who really just don’t like the taste of champagne but want to have something to toast with on New Year’s Eve, I definitely suggest trying out a Moscato D’Asti! Matt doesn’t like the taste of alcohol at all, but he really does enjoy an occasional glass of the Villa Jolanda Moscato D’Asti. It’s really sweet, almost like drinking regular white grape juice, and the alcohol content is much lower than most wines (5.5%, vs. the typical 9-15% of other blends). It goes really well with fresh raspberries and brie!

Champagne and sparkling wine guide- Abby Grace Photography

Once you’ve got your bottle of whichever bubbly you prefer, make sure to give it plenty of time to chill before serving. Generally speaking, sparkling wines and champagne are best served at anywhere between 40-45 degrees. And make sure you have the proper stemware– it’ll preserve the carbonation and keep your bubbly from going flat!

Happy Friday!

Wine Wednesday (on a Friday)- bubbly for New Year’s Eve!

December 28, 2012

  1. Matt says:

    I like the bottle for the Moscato D’Asti as much as I like the wine. That’s what got me to buy it in the first place!

  2. thanks so much for posting this! so helpful! I love trying out new wines, and champagne is something I haven’t ventured much into yet so now I can better pick what I may like! Something Dry-Sweet I think! : )

  3. Like Matt, I’m not a fan of the alcohol taste… thus my favorite wines are Ice Wines, followed by Moscato Wines.

    Also – definitely a fan of Bug Juice! It’s a delicious Moscato and decently priced!

  4. Renee says:

    If you want a great champagne, try Moet & Chandon White Star. It’s my personal favorite.

  5. Rebekah Carter says:

    I LOVE the Moscato D’Asti! That’s how I got into champagne. Good post! Happy New Year!

  6. Sarah B. says:

    I LOVE sparkling wine! I have to confess – I love them even more than regular wine (maybe two years in Italy will cure that??). So yay for a post about “champagne”! What fun you must have had testing them all – wish I could have been there! 😛

  7. Karen says:

    Wow! That was really well explained! Now I’ll feel like I know a few things before choosing my sparkling wine for NYE.

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