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:
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 :).
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.
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.
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!
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!