Toast-Worthy Sparkling Wines


New Year’s resolutions can be hard to keep. We all strive to make lifestyle changes like getting more exercise and dieting, and even self-care considerations like taking more vacations and long weekends. Some of us will attempt to accomplish personal or career goals. However, many of these resolutions can slip through the cracks come February. So how about creating a resolution that is actually fun actually. Make 2018 the year to drink well and learn more about wine!

As bubbles are the classic drink to ring in the New Year, put together a mixed case of these outstanding sparklers at a variety of price points and styles. You don’t need to spend a ton to enjoy wonderful sparkling wines and you shouldn’t be discouraged by low priced bottles ether. Just because sparkling wines are affordable does not mean that the quality will suffer. In fact, outstanding sparklers come from great grape-growing regions like Spanish Cavas, Italian Proseccos, Alsatian Crémant, and even Australian Shiraz. These wines offer serious value for money and most importantly, they are delicious. So drink well and Happy New Year!

NV Bleasdale Red Brute Sparkling, South Australia $19.99
This wonderful sparkling Shiraz comes from Langhorne Creek, a town in South Australia less than an hour’s drive from Adelaide. The Red Brute offers notes of blueberry, raspberry, and violet. The sweet fruit and elegant effervescence pairs perfectly with cheesecake, and even roasted red meats.

Spain has been producing Cava for more than one hundred years. Cava wines are made in the same, Traditional Method as French Champagne where the second fermentation happens inside the bottle, giving it its bubbles. However, they have completely different characteristics as they’re made with indigenous Spanish grapes, Macabeo, Xarel-lo, and Parellada, and are affected by the distinct Mediterranean terroir.

NV Gran Gesta Cava, Spain $13.99
Aromas of butterscotch, green apple, and toast. You’ll find crisp acidity, elegant tiny bubbles, and a long finish. Only native yeasts are used in the fermentation process. In fact, the winery pioneered the use of native yeast in Cava and continues to lead research in this field though a partnership with the University of Barcelona.

Prosecco is produced in the hills of the Veneto region in Northeast Italy. Vineyards here are planted to Prosecco grapes on steep terraced slopes. Produced in the Charmat method, Prosecco wines have a fresh, bright, and fruity quality, leaning towards the sweeter end of the spectrum. This is because of the grape, and that the second fermentation happens in a large stainless steel tank prior to bottling, rather than in the bottle like in Champagne and Cava production. Additionally, Prosecco does not have long aging minimums contributing to the fruity, flowery quality.

NV La Tordera Alnè Millesimato Prosecco Extra Dry, Veneto, Italy $15.99
The Alnè vineyard where this Prosecco comes from is very rare in Treviso as it has clay soils. This gives the wine an especially fruity nose of green apple, pear, melon, and honey, along with a round palate. Alnè’s fruity characteristics make the wine an ideal pairing with spicier foods.

Crémant is the French word for any sparkling wine that is made in the Traditional Method outside of the Champagne region. There is also a minimum aging period of nine months on the lees (dead yeast cells) which gives the wines a creamy texture.

NV Polo Club Crémant d’Alsace, France $15.99
The Polo Club offers a tremendous value with bright aromas of citrus and apple and has an assertive weight on the palate. The piercing acidity makes it a lovely aperitif or brunch sparkler.

Champagne – the benchmark for sparkling wines – are more expensive than other bubbles, but the complexity, quality, and terroir makes them unique. These classic examples come in under $40 and once you take the first sip, you’ll understand why you’re spending the extra dough. There is a minimum of 12 months aging requirements for non-vintage Champagne prior to disgorgement on the lees. This is called aging “sur lie.” Most producers do age for much longer than the minimum. This is essential to creating the earthy, yeasty, biscuit aromas of Champagne.

NV Poilvert-Jacques Brut Champagne, France $35.99
The Poilvert family’s winemaking history can be traced back to 1663 near Epernay in the heart of the Marne Valley. Jacques Poilvert owns 9 acres of prime vineyard sites. Together, he and his daughter produce a full range of Champagne. The non-vintage Brut is assembled from two red grape varieties, 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Pinot Meunier. Kept on the lees for 3 years before disgorgement, it is big, toasty and yeasty. This wine is mature but still has bright acidity that keeps it from being heavy. Despite the maturity of this wine, it still has ripe youthful apple and pear fruit.

NV Montaudon Grand Rose Brut Champagne, France $39.99
Pink bubbles are always festive and this Champagne is rich and balanced with lovely notes of strawberry, candied cherry, and watermelon. Pair with tuna sashimi.


Visit Elyse Genderson at Schneider’s of Capitol Hill to discover wines you love.