With only a few weeks left in 2021, people will soon be raising a glass to 2022. That means it’s officially time to start buying bottles for all the New Year’s Eve festivities. Fortunately, that’s a task that doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag. There are several bottles of sparkling wine on the market that are as tasty as they are affordable. Here are a few bottles experts say are great for cost-conscious shoppers.
7 sparkling wines to ring in the New Year:
If there’s a New Year’s Eve party to attend, sommelier Ella Raymont is “for sure bringing a bottle of Cava,” preferably Spanish winery Segura Viudas’ crisp, fruity bubbly. A blend of Macabeo, Xarel-lo, and Parellada grapes grown in vineyards within the Penedès wine region, this bone dry wine is a favorite of Raymont, who serves as the wine director at Bishop’s Lodge, an Auberge Resorts Collection in Santa Fe, New Mexico. “Segura Viudas makes an incredible Reserva Cava that is affordable and worth every dollar. And you can find it in most large wine stores,” says Raymont.
There’s a reason why bottles of Korbel California Champagne’s sparkling wines are on shelves at nearly every major grocery retailer across the country. The bubbly Pinot Noir is a delicate and delightful fruit tart of a wine. “Korbel gets a bad reputation for cheap and mass-produced California champagne, but their Natural label is actually quite good for the money,” says Philip Kou, one part of the San Francisco wine influencer team, The Wine Guys. This Sonoma-made wine is crisp with berry and stone fruit nuances. “Put it in a paper bag and do a blind tasting. More often than not, people are shocked,” says Kou.
In need of a sparkling wine that’s clean and refreshing with lively bubbles? Look no further than this Chardonnay sparkler produced by Gloria Ferrer in the hills of Carneros in Sonoma. The wine smells of orange blossom while flavors of green apple and lemongrass dance on the palate with a touch of minerality. “This wine is truly delightful and worth drinking in the beginning, middle, or end of a great party,” says Dr. Hoby Wedler, the Sonoma-based chemist and educator who founded the blindfolded wine experience Tasting in the Dark.
It’s not every day that a bottle of Armenian sparkling wine is popped. This bottle, produced by Keush Wine, hails from the Khachik village, Vayots Dzor province in Armenia, where the limestone and volcanic rock is abundant. “It is a traditional method sparkling wine from Armenia made from an indigenous blend of Voskehat and Khatouni, the latter of which has been called the Armenian Chardonnay and accounts for the secondary hints of biscuit and toasted nuts,” says Vanessa Conlin, the chief wine officer at Wine Access in New York City. “Not only is it delicious, but it is a great conversation starter,” Conlin adds.
“Bubbles encourage happiness,” according to Karen Goodlad, CSW, an associate professor and lead beverage instructor for the department of hospitality management at New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn. That happiness is more widely spread when Mirabella Franciacorta provides the bubbles, particularly this blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Bianco made in the Lombardy winemaking region of Italy. “I know everyone will bring Prosecco to the New Year’s Eve party, but not me. I am looking at another Italian sparkling wine, Franciacorta!” says Goodlad. “Some of these wines can get pricey, and they are worth it, but the Mirabella Edea Franciacorta is available for $25 and will introduce the crowd to something they didn’t know they needed!”
Keep the end of the year party light and bright with a complex sparkling wine from Alsace, France, like this Crémant produced by Pierre Sparr. A blend of Pinot Blanc and Pinot Auxerrois, this glittering bubbly is aromatic and crisp with lemon flavors and lots of minerality. “I always reach for Crémant d’Alsace when I’m looking for a bang for my buck,” says Katie Melchior, the New Jersey-based sommelier behind French Wine Tutor. “Crémant is widely reputed as some of the best sparkling wines in the world because of their proximity to Champagne and commitment to traditional methods. You really can’t go wrong! Pierre Sparr is one of my favorite producers in Alsace, and it comes in right under budget.”
Providing the libations for a festive night and remaining under budget comes easy when opting for a bottle produced by McBride Sisters Collection. Floral and fruit-forward with strawberry, raspberry, and peach notes, this blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, made in New Zealand, is a go-to bottle for sommelier Larissa Dubose, the founder of The Lotus & The Vines in Atlanta. Unlike the traditional method to make Champagnes and various other sparkling wines around the globe, McBride Sisters practice the Charmat method, in which still wines are turned into sparkling in a large tank. “This wine is easy on the pockets but over-delivers in taste and experience,” says Dubose.