Now we all know that it isn’t champagne unless it comes from Champagne. France that is. The “other” bubbly wine is known as sparkling wine, Cava (Spain) or Prosecco (Italy) to name a few. Sparkling wine is produced all over the world, from the U.S.A. to Australia. From Germany to South Africa. Most sparkling wines are white or rose but it can also be a dark red as in the Australian Sparkling Shiraz. The taste can run from very dry (Brut) to sweet or Dulce.
Many people think that “champagne” gives them a headache. And, most likely it can or does. However, most likely it is not the “champagne” that is giving the headache, it is the sulfites or it’s the method by which the sparkling wine was made. There are a lot of arguments about both of these theories, but a “champagne” headache is most often caused by drinking a sparkling wine with bubbles that were injected into the wine or by bulk production. Try to stay away from sparkling wine that has been produced with the gas injection method. Look for wines that have been produced in the traditional method.
The style of sparkling wine you chose to drink would depend on when, where and why you’re drinking it. For a brunch mimosa (equal parts dry sparkling white with orange juice) you would want it dry. If you’re sipping some bubbly in mid-afternoon, you may want to try some Banfi Rosa Regale. This is also perfect for a wedding reception. This Banfi makes a beautiful presentation and is a bit on the sweet side. A very nice slightly dry, crisp Prosecco comes from Brown Brothers., located in Wangaratta, Australia. This type of sparkling wine can be served as an Apéritif, with Hors d’oeuvres or even with a light dinner (pasta, fish or mild fish). My favorite pairing with a slightly dry, nicely crisp Prosecco is goat cheese and cranberry chutney.
When it comes to that very special event or party, nothing says celebration like Champagne. The middle priced, lovely to drink big names in this category are; Mumm Brut Cordon Rouge, Moet & Chandon and Louis Roederer. These will usually cost around $30 – for a 375 ml size bottle (half bottle). Of course you can go way up from here – to over $1,000 for a bottle. Dom Perignon will run you around $300 to a Louis Roederer Cristal for $550 to start. Champagne is very nice to drink, but this price point is a bit out of my range (actually way out of my range!).
So, considering all of the above, we will be celebrating the end of 2014, the beginning of 2015 with a bottle of Mionetto Prosecco Brut which is one of our favorite proseccos. It is not overly dry, has flavors of peaches and apricots. One bottle of this usually runs about $15.00 which is exactly in my price range to celebrate the New Year.
What will you be drinking this New Year’s Eve?