When it comes time to ring in the New Year, nothing says celebration quite like a glass of sparkling wine.
From Champagne, Crémant, Cava, Prosecco, to Asti, there are so many sparkling wines to choose from — and it can truly be overwhelming. So how do you tell the difference between so many options?
We’re here to help you differentiate between different types of sparkling wines, so you can decide what you want to drink this New Year’s Eve.
If you’ve thought that every sparkling wine was called Champagne until now, you’re not alone. It’s a common misconception, so here’s the truth: A sparkling wine can only be called “Champagne” if it is made in the Champagne region of France. It warrants a premium price because of the labour-intensive method used to make it, involving a second fermentation in the bottle followed by extended ageing in the bottle, guaranteeing flavour complexity, and ultra fine bubbles.
Try the Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne, the most popular Champagne in BC, which has creamy ripe fruit notes and racy acidity.
An excellent alternative to Champagne if you love the flavour but detest the price tag, French Crémants are made using the same traditional method as Champagne but is typically less than half the price. Made from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Gamay grapes, try the Louis Bouillot Crémant de Bourgogne Perle d’Aurore Brut Rosé, which offers lively notes of red berries and citrus fruits along with a crisp finish.
Another sparkling wine that is a terrific value, Spanish Cava is made using the same traditional method as Champagne, but uses local Spanish varieties including Macabeu, Parellada, and Xarello. It is also priced much lower than Champagne.
A popular sparkling wine amongst youngsters, Prosecco is fun, affordable, and easy to drink. Unlike Champagne, Italian Prosecco is often made using the charmet method, in which the second fermentation takes place in large tanks as opposed to in individual bottles, which is far less expensive and time-consuming to produce.
For an easy-drinking sparkler with peachy notes, creamy bubbles and a hint of sweetness, try the popular Lamarca Prosecco.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, Asti is the sparkling wine for you. Made in large tanks from the Muscat grape, the dessert-style wine has sweet notes of lychee, canned peaches, tropical fruit, and white flowers, as well as gentle bubbles and low alcohol content. This makes it perfect for making mimosas or paired with brunch.
Try the Acquesi Asti, only available at BC Liquor Stores, for a sweet sparkling wine that will tickle your taste buds.
If you’re feeling fancy this New Year’s Eve, try this sparkling wine cocktail recipe featured in BC Liquor Stores’ TASTE Magazine, also available in-store. The Celestial Cocktail was created by local star and International award-winning bartender David Wolowidnyk. For those who are designated drivers, it can also be made into a mocktail by substituting the gin and sparkling wine with soda water.
- 1 oz Hendrick’s Gin
- 2 oz Raspberry-Hibiscus Tea Cordial (recipe below)
- 2 oz Chamdeville Blanc de Blancs Brut
- To garnish: 1 raspberry
In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine gin and cordial. Shake vigorously and strain into a glass flute. Top with sparkling wine and garnish with a raspberry.
For Raspberry-Hibiscus Tea Cordial, steep three Raspberry-Hibiscus tea bags in three cups of boiling water for five minutes. In a saucepan, combine steeped tea, 1 1/4 cups sugar, and 2 tsp of citric acid — simmer to dissolve sugar and take off heat. Let cool.
For free tastings and special events, be sure to check out BC Liquor Stores website. Happy New Year and please enjoy responsibly!