While Champagne will be on the minds of many, there is an abundance of high quality, bargain sparkling wine suitable for your New Year's Eve festivities. Here are five ideas to get the ball rolling (or dropping):
Go to New Mexico
Yes, New Mexico. The sparkling wines made by Gruet in Albuquerque have been been a wonderful discovery for many aficionados of bubbles for years. Try their classic Brut or their Pinot Noir-dominated Blanc de Noirs.
The cool climate of Tasmania is perfect for grapes meant for sparkling wine. (You can also find lovely aromatic white wines and fine Pinot Noir as well.) Clover Hill and Jansz are two well-known producers.
These French sparkling wines will thrill you with their elegance and finesse at a much lower price than true French Champagne. Excellent Cremant is produced in the wine regions of Burgundy, Alsace, the Loire Valley, and Limoux.
It is hard not to love the youthful exuberance of these super-popular sparkling wines from Italy. Some can have a touch of sweetness (which isn't a bad thing), so seek out examples labeled Brut if you want something dry. I'm fond of everything that Adami and Bisol make.
Suggest Spanish Sparklers
Cava is a reliable go-to, but there is a whole world of eye-opening Cava worth a little extra expense (yet still much less expensive than Champagne). Agusti Torello Mata makes some very serious, seriously delicious examples.
My best advice would be to take this guide to your local wine shop and ask a staff member for their favorite picks in any of these categories. Nothing gets the staff at a wine shop more excited than when you ask them for their favorite discoveries, which will quickly become yours.
Happy New Year! What is your celebratory drink of choice? If you're going to drink Champagne, take a look at Blanc de Blancs.