Sparkling wines and champagne for New Year’s Eve is our topic in the CTV News clip above.
Here’s a list of the bubblies we discussed, including cava from Spain, cremant from France and sparkling wines from Canada and the US. Let me know which sparkling wine you’re opening for New Year’s Eve in the comments below.
You can get a shopping list with my top sparkling wines showing the stock at your closest liquor stores when you join as a VIP Member.
Girls Night Out Sparkling Wine Review
VQA, Lake Erie North Shore, Ontario
Clean, crisp and refreshing: this is a terrific sparkling wine for this price point. Stock up for your holiday parties and enjoy as an aperitif or companion to … full sparkling wine review and rating
Oyster Bay Brut Cuvée Sparkling Wine Review
Marlborough, New Zealand
Toasty and vibrant with green apple. Zesty refreshment. The winery sources the grapes for this fine Chardonnay-based sparkler throughout New Zealand and they use the Charmat method to preserve its vibrant fruit freshness. Clink! Sparkling food pairings: grilled calamari, oysters, pan-seared scallops, squash soup, pork spare ribs … full sparkling wine review and rating
Jackson-Triggs Methode Cuvee Close Sparkling Wine Review
VQA, Niagara, Ontario, Canada
A terrific sparkling wine for this price point! Zesty, clean and crisp with notes of green apple and toast. Try it as an aperitif or with turkey dinner. Alcohol: 12.5% Sweetness: Extra Dry Drink: 2013‐2015 … full sparkling wine review and rating
Dopff Au Moulin Cuvée Julien Brut Crémant D’alsace Wine Review
A.C., Alsace, France
Crisp and refreshing with fresh green apple notes. Great price. Alcohol: 12% Sweetness: Extra Dry Drink: 2013‐2015 … full sparkling wine review and rating
Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava Sparkling Wine Review
D.O. Penedès, Spain
This crisp, refreshing sparkling wine is made from the local grapes Macabeo and Parellada. This bubbly almost leaps from the glass with aromas of baked bread, green apple and lees. Very dry and zesty. Great fizz for the New Year or with shellfish. Alcohol: 12% Sweetness: Extra Dry Drink: 2013‐2015 … full cava wine review and rating
Steller’s Jay Brut Sparkling Sumac Ridge 2008 Wine Review
V.Q.A., Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
Crisp, toasty and refreshing! This is one Canada’s best producer’s of sparkling wine, if not the best. Aromas of green apple, baked bread and happiness. Food pairings: rich seafood dishes, Pacific Salmon. Alcohol: 13% Sweetness: Dry Drink: 2013‐2016 … full sparkling wine review and rating
13th Street Winery Premier Cuvée Méthode Classique 2008 Wine Review
V.Q.A., Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Toasty, classic nose that has the elegance of terrific champagne. Great price. Green apple on the palate. Fantastic! Alcohol: 12.5% Sweetness: Extra Dry Drink: 2012‐2015 … full sparkling wine review and rating
Roederer Estate Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine Review
Anderson Valley, Mendocino County, California
One of my favourite California bubblies. Love it! Why don’t more people drink rose sparkling wine? I think there’s a perception that it’s sweet but this is bone-dry though there are lovely aromas of field raspberries on the nose. Supremely delicious and half the price of champagne. Raise a toast to this wine. Just a hint of dry strawberry on the finish … full sparkling wine review and rating
So tell us about some other sparkling wines, say those from Italy?
Italy produces several styles. One of the most popular, prosecco, is a dry, crisp wine, with a vibrantly floral and citrus character. About a third of proseccos are called frizzante; they have a lighter mousse than most, which are described as spumante, or fully sparkling. The second type of Italian sparkler, asti, has long been considered a syrupy concoction, but modern versions are much more balanced and refreshing.
How about Spain?
Spanish sparkling wine, or cava (meaning cellar), offers some of the best values. Cavas are made with the traditional champagne method, but using three white Spanish grapes: macabeo, parellada and xarel-lo.
Our sparkling wine is called just that as is American bubbly. It’s usually made from the same grapes used in Champagne – chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot Meunier – and using the same techniques such as doing a second fermentation in the bottle to trap the bubbles.
Anything we do differently?
One unique twist is sparkling icewine from producers such as Inniskillin and Magnotta. This tastes less sweet than icewine alone, but it still makes a wonderful dessert treat for shortbread, fruitcake and cobblers.
Many ships and yachts are launched by breaking a bottle of bubbly over the bow. Can you tell us the most famous one that wasn’t?
The Titanic was one of the few ships not to be christened with champagne.
How many bubbles are in a bottle of sparkling wine?
There are 250 million bubbles on average. Yes, a desperate doctoral candidate in France counted them.
Read more champagne wine reviews and food pairings.
Sparkling Wine from Cava to Cremant: Festive Fiz
Patricia: A lot people are making plans for New Year’s Eve and that may include what’s on the drinks menu. Back to Leanne Cusack, Leanne?
Leanne: We wanted to feature Champagnes or Sparkling wines on the program today so you would have time to shop. We know you love to learn and that’s why it’s great to have celebrated wine writer Natalie MacLean here to share some of what she knows about the bubbles and my first question is, why is it that we use bubbly to toast in the New Year Natalie?
Natalie: Well you know those Champagnois are very savvy marketers and they have been for centuries. When you think New Years, a new baby, a new marriage, a new king or queen, a new ship, a new yacht … we christen a lot of new things with Champagne. They got in there and got their brand associated with those things.
Leanne: We know one famous ship in history that wasn’t christened with bubbles and that is ….
Natalie: The Titanic. It is one of the few well-known ships that didn’t get the bubbly broken over the bow, so who knows, right?
Leanne: History speaks for the reason. You, definitely, use the bubbles if you’ve just bought a boat or if a boat is on your list for this year. We have so much to cover in short order and we said Champagne but really Champagne is sort of what we call all Sparkling wine, but that is wrong?
Natalie: All Champagne is Sparkling wine but not all Sparkling wine is Champagne. The umbrella term is Sparkling wine. Many counties make Sparkling wine including Canada.
Leanne: Including Canada, now.
Natalie: But Champagne only comes from the Champagne region of France, it’s a trademark term.
Leanne: So if we were in Spain for example…
Leanne: … and you wanted a Sparkling wine, you would ask for a …
Natalie: … Cava. We have one here from Segura. What happens with these is that they’re often use the traditional Champagne method to make the bubbly but they’re using native grapes that grow in Spain. What happens is that it creates a bubbly that is delicious, toasty, fresh and about a third of the price of Champagne.
Leanne: That is appealing and this is actually a really good wine.
Natalie: It is.
Leanne: The price-point on this one is …
Natalie: $14.95 and they have another one out right now just for the Holidays. It’s a beautiful bottle. You can go more upscale. It’s about $29.95.
Leanne: Now, that’s Spain. What about if you’re in Italy?
Natalie: Yes, in Italy, you have Prosecco and about one-third are known as Frizzante. It has a light fizz and just a bit of mousy bubbles. Then two-thirds are fully Sparkling Spumante. Proseccos are another good deal. They’re bone dry and a fraction of the price.
Leanne: Lots of Sparkling and with lots of price-points, so take us through…
Leanne: … what you’ve brought along and why you’ve chosen them?
Natalie: I will.
Leanne: They are all readily available right now …
Natalie: … in the LCBO. I shopped yesterday for these so they’re there. Girl’s Night Out on the far end comes from the Southwestern region of Ontario near Pelee Island. It’s only about $15. Some people, some connoisseurs might turn their nose up at Girl’s Night Out with its strong marketing bent but you know it’s great for that price-point.
Leanne: Fantastic and another Canadian?
Natalie: We have Jackson Triggs from the Niagara region and again dry and toasty. We’re heading up to about $25 there. Still in Niagara, we have 13th Street. We are getting a little bit more premium, now, around $30. We will go to B.C, now. First is Sumac Ridge, Steller’s Jay. It’s available here locally as well at about $30-$35. And then we can jump over to New Zealand.
Leanne: And this is such a celebrated Sauvignon Blanc.
Natalie: It is.
Leanne: But what is it when it’s turned into Sparkling?
Natalie: They’re making it from Sauvignon Blanc.
Leanne: Oh okay.
Natalie: So it has that crisp, slightly herbal edge that you get from Sauvignon Blanc. It’s only about $25.
Leanne: Does it pass your checkmark? Your approval? Like this one?
Natalie: Yes, absolutely, it’s a terrific one.
Leanne: Fantastic! So we’ve covered the Cava and that’s from Spain about $14.
Leanne: Next to the Cava?
Natalie: So other regions of France also make Sparkling wines.
Leanne: And when I say Crémant? I love that.
Natalie: Yes, Crémant, that’s Burgundy and you know again it’s going to be a lot cheaper than Champagne. They’re making it from grapes that grow in Burgundy using the same methods. It’s a good deal.
Leanne: Okay, this is a chance to take a little break from looking at the bubblies to talk about a wine term. Is it Blanc de Blanc.
Natalie: Blanc de Blanc.
Leanne: Blanc de Blanc.
Natalie: Right, usually Champagnes are a blend of 3 grapes … Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Two of these are dark grapes that traditionally make red wine … Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Chardonnay is a white wine. We have a Blanc de Blanc Champagne when it is made from only Chardonnay grapes. Blanc de Noir has the dark grapes in it.
Leanne: I hope you’re all taking notes. This is a great little tutorial. Moving right along we left off at ……
Natalie: Here is the original Roederer from France. These are the folks that make Cristal. Rappers like Jay-Z does a shout out to Cristal and Cheetos. Sure pair it up. This is Roederer from California. This French Champagne house owns Roederer in California.
Natalie: So you can get this one for about $30 and this one for about $60.
Leanne: I want to get to the last one and then we want to do a little more Champagne-ology or bubble-ology and I want to ask you about Veuve. What is this one, the last but not least?
Natalie: Yes. It’s a lovely bubbly. This is Taittinger, a Blanc de Blanc. It’s all Chardonnay so it’s going to be light finesse. You’ll find it very crisp, refreshing and great to toast the New Year or as an aperitif.
Leanne: I have to ask your favourite?
Natalie: I think I would go with 13th Street. I’m a bit of a hometown girl at least a home province girl. I should also mention one from Prince Edward County that I didn’t bring today only because it is sold out and that’s from Hinterland. So Prince Edward County is making some fabulous Sparklings.
Leanne: We just didn’t bring it because we wanted you to be able to buy it. I have a question for you. You said that Veuve as in Veuve Clicquot has an interesting story?
Natalie: Yes, it does. Veuve translates to widow. At least a dozen women at the turn of the 18th into the 19th centuries were all in their twenties or early thirties when they lost their husbands to war or illness. Veuve Clicquot means widow Clicquot. It’s named after the woman who took over that house of Champagne. Her name was Barbe Clicquot Ponsardin and she ran that Champagne house for 60 years and died when she was 80. Think about these young women, at a time when women weren’t even in business, running the best luxury brands not only in France but in the world. Laurent Perrier, Pommery, Roederer that was another one.
Leanne: How interesting!
Leanne: When we come back Natalie has more interesting tips she feels that you really need to know for the year ahead.
Natalie: Absolutely, thanks Leanne.