A tsunami of sparklers will be uncorked between now and New Year’s Day, and for many the pours will be somewhat random: a combination of what looked good in the store, what fit the budget and whatever found its way into the party via guests. But sparklers can be the crowning touch when they’re chosen with care to suit the menu and the occasion, not to mention the crowd. Naturally there’s New Year’s Eve to consider, but other events often come into play during the season, too, including a large holiday open house, an intimate dinner party, or a brunch. Here are some event-specific suggestions of what to uncork at each gathering that will keep you and your fellow celebrants sipping and toasting with bubbly that’s spot on.
New Year’s Eve
When the clock strikes midnight this year, you’ll be celebrating a moment in time, one you’ll want to remember as we say goodbye to 2017 and hello to a year that we hope will be better.
That’s why you should uncork a bubbly that has the potential to be a memorable way to celebrate the New Year — 365 days of new opportunity, to make and break as many resolutions as you like. What follows is trio of sparklers that are so tasty, they’ll linger in your mind.
The Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs is a standout because of its complexity, while the Domaine Carneros Utra Brut is impressive with its elegance. Meanwhile the L’Ermitage turns heads with its pitch perfect balance. Memories require a little staging, so take a peek at the detailed descriptors and pick the one with the most potential for nostalgia.
Schramsberg, 2013 North Coast, Blanc de Noirs Sparkling Wine, 12.7 percent alcohol, $42: This is an exceptional sparkler that’s complex with a range of flavors. It has yeasty aromas with a hint of caramel, and on the palate, there’s pear, melon and brioche. It has a round texture, with an underpinning of crisp acid to buoy the flavors. The blanc de noirs has a nice mousse, with spiralling, pinpoint bubbles.
Domaine Carneros, 2012 Carneros Ultra Brut Sparkling Wine, 12 percent, $44: An elegant sparkler, the Domaine Carneros is crisp and dry with lovely aromas and flavors of jasmine, green apple and lemon curd. It has bright acid, and tiny, pinpoint bubbles.
Roederer Estate’s L’Ermitage, 2011 Anderson Valley Brut Sparkling Wine, 12 percent, $48: This striking sparkler has impressive balance. It has gorgeous nutty, yeasty aromas and on the palate notes of pear, lemon curd and hazelnut. The brut finishes crisp, and has a nice mousse.
The Open House
This type of gathering typically reels in 15 to 50 people, so you’ll want to be cost-effective without sacrificing quality. Keep in mind that each bottle contains five glasses, so if you shop for five bottlings in the $20 range and spend about $100, you’ll be able to pour 25 glasses of bubbly. The focus here is on sparklers that give you more bang for the buck, and these three brands — Korbel, Roederer Estate and Mumm Napa — have a good track record with these bottlings.
Korbel 2016 California Champagne Brut, made with organic grapes, 12 percent alcohol, $16: The brut has striking yeasty aromas, and on the palate, bright green apple, orange and lime. It has great balance, a supple finish and a nice mousse.
Searching for New Year’s events? Visit pd2go.net/NYE2017.