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Prosecco, Cava or Champagne for New Years Eve?

Or Cremant? A Quick Guide to Your Options.

What can be said about sparkling wine and New Year’s Eve that hasn’t been said already? How about this: use the occasion to broaden your perspective on sparkling wine, and then make a New Year’s resolution to incorporate these wines at the table more often in 2018.

Not only are most Prosecco, Cava, Champagne and Cremant food-friendly, but I find that their bubbly personality helps me slow down while eating. Which can lead to better portion control … and possibly weight loss … voila! Sparkling wines help that other New Year’s resolution we all have!

OK, so I really went down the rabbit hole of justification there. Either way, these sparklers are a great start if you are the type who needs to break out of a red and white rut. Enjoy them as you ring in the New Year.


NV Pol Roger Brut Réserve Champagne

NV Pol Roger Champagne ReserveChampagne, France
Grapes: Pinot Noir (33%), Pinot Meunier (33%) & Chardonnay (33%)
Alcohol: 12.5%
Malolactic fermentation: Yes
Rating: ★★★★ 1/4 (out of five)
• Aromas, Flavor & Structure: ★★★★ 1/4
• Food-friendliness: ★★★★
• Value: ★★★

Tasting notes: Pol Roger’s claim to fame is that Winston Churchill couldn’t stop guzzling it, a fact that seems to define the brand more than the individual Champagne drinker’s experience. I found the “White Foil” — Pol Roger’s most widely distributed wine — to be satisfying, creamy and dangerously addictive. However, its aromas were a bit muted: I prefer Champagne with a bigger pop on the nose. Recalled green apple, golden raisins, roasted almonds and a little brioche. I will say this: the White Foil has a wonderful mousse and texture.

Recommended for: Consider it for your Auld Lang Syne moment. An excellent wine to pour for mingling and light hors d’oeuvres, as well as the moment New Years rolls around.

Find a Bottle of Pol Roger Brut Réserve Champagne


NV Champagne Gosset Grande Réserve Brut

NV Champagne Gosset Grande Réserve BrutChampagne, France
Grapes: Chardonnay (43%), Pinot Noir (42%) & Pinot Meunier (15%)
Alcohol: 12%
Malolactic fermentation: No
Rating: ★★★★ 1/2 (out of five)
• Aromas, Flavor & Structure: ★★★★ 1/2
• Food-friendliness: ★★★★ 3/4
• Value: ★★ 3/4

Tasting notes: Gosset is an interesting Champagne house. They eschew malolactic fermentation on their wines, a process in which harsh malic acids are transformed to soft lactic acids. In many cases, this is where the creaminess of Champagne comes in, but Gosset skips it. Somehow, their wines — neither sweet nor creamy — are irresistible. Whether it is because of it or in spite of it, I haven’t figured it out. The Grande Réserve Brut is subtle in its aromatics, yet it manages to harmonize notes of Granny Smith apples, baguette and walnuts with soft milk chocolate edges on the finish, and a buoyant action on the bubbles. A lovely wine for food pairings.

Recommended for: If you are hosting a dinner party for New Years Eve, consider this wine for the main course (better yet, a magnum for the grandeur of it all). We paired it with pork tenderloin in a beef demi-glace sauce and the interplay of acidity and delicate bubbles cutting through the richness was thrilling.

Find a Bottle of Champagne Gosset Grande Réserve Brut


NV Pierre Sparr Crémant d’Alsace Brut Réserve

NV Pierre Sparr Crémant d'Alsace Brut RéserveCrémant d’Alsace AOC, France
Grapes: Pinot Blanc (80%) & Pinot Auxerrois (20%)
Alcohol: 12.5%
Ratings: ★★★★ 1/2 (out of five)
• Aromas, Flavors & Texture: ★★★★ 1/2
• Food-friendliness: ★★★★
• Value: ★★★★ 1/2

Tasting notes: I’m not sure the underrated wines of Alsace will ever be given their fair due. Case in point, this $20 bottle of Crémant d’Alsace which is just as delicious as many $50+ Champagne. Made in the traditional method — but utilizing a wider array of grapes — Crémant d’Alsace is a superb choice for New Years Eve (and the rest of the year that follows). Pierre Sparr’s entry-level Brut Réserve is a savory and snappy wine to get any party started. You could mix it for mimosas on your New Years Day brunch, but then you’d miss out on the delicate aromas eliciting green apples, lemon oil, leather and sweet wood. You’d also miss its creamy mousse and superb energy and freshness. Of the wines listed here, this one is the top pick.

Recommended for: All purposes — toasting, mixing-and-mingling, hors d’oeuvres, dinner, dessert, brunch, après-ski.

Find a bottle of Pierre Sparr Crémant d’Alsace Brut Reserve


NV Vilarnau Brut Reserva Cava “Trencadís Edition”

NV Vilarnau Brut Reserva CavaCava DO, Spain
Grapes: Macabeo (50%), Parellada (35%), Xarel-lo (15%)
Alcohol: 11.5%
Ratings: ★★★★ (out of five)
• Aromas, Flavor & Structure: ★★★ 3/4
• Food-friendliness: ★★★★ 1/4
• Value: ★★★★ 1/2

Tasting notes: Cava is Spain’s competitor to Champagne, but it differs in two dramatic ways: grape variety and cost (in that it is quite a bit cheaper). This Cava demonstrates the differences in the former quite noticeably. The Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel-lo — especially the Parellada — create a noticeably tart wine with trace notes reminiscent of green apple, quince and toasted almond. There is a nice creaminess on the palate, which is juxtaposed by a somewhat prickly texture from the bubbles. Because of its high acidity, I would say this Cava performs better with cheese and rich hors d’oeuvres than on its own. But given its $12 price tag and festive packaging (yes, you know you love it too), you can get a lot of mileage out of this wine.

Recommended for: Informal parties with a big cheese tray, lots of friends and no curfew.

Find a Bottle of Vilarnau Brut Reserva Cava


NV Bisol Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Cartizze

NV Bisol Prosecco di Valdobbiadene CartizzeProsecco di Valdobbiadene Cartizze Superiore DOCG
Grapes: Glera (100%)
Alcohol: 11.5%
Ratings: ★★★★ 1/2 (out of five)
• Aromas, Flavor & Structure: ★★★★ 1/2
• Food-friendliness: ★★★★
• Value: ★★★★

Tasting notes: Every wine region is now touting a Grand Cru vineyard, and yes, even Prosecco — the pop ’em, down ’em and don’t think about ’em sparkler from Veneto — has its Grand Cru in the hill of Cartizze. In fact, Cartizze has its own DOCG designation it is so highly esteemed. (It also happens to be one of Italy’s most dramatic and scenic viticultural areas).

Bisol is one of Prosecco’s top producers, and this version proves Prosecco can indeed be a fine wine. There is a lovely bit of sweetness that makes it stand out on its own, but when paired with food, the notes of golden apple, baked tart crust, almond and fresh flowers really shine. The lovely fruit tone shifts into minerals on the finish. One of the best Prosecco I’ve sampled.

Recommended for: In addition to New Year’s Eve festivities, I’d consider it as an ideal digestif wine, especially if you want something faintly sweet, but not as sweet as Moscato d’Asti.

Find a Bottle of Bisol Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Cartizze


Note: Wines from Champagne Gosset, Pierre Sparr and Bisol were provided as samples from Wilson Daniels. Vilarnau also provided their Cava as a sample. Learn more about my editorial policy.

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