10 sparkling wines for New Year’s
Priced from $13 to $77, bottles to ring in 2014.
BUBBLES ARE CURIOUS THINGS. They seem to have no substance at all, yet we play with them, bathe in them, invest in them, and are occasionally pleased to find them in our wine. Spend what you like or what you can, there’s something about those pearly points of nothingness that buoy the spirits and lift holiday get-togethers to new heights.
TRIPOZ NV CREMANT DE BOURGOGNE
This regional all-chardonnay bubbly has an austere, lacy quality along with zingy lemon and grapefruit notes. It’s easy to pair with lighter dishes (it’s not the fussy type) and works splendidly as an aperitif. An elegant little number.
> Around $20 at American Provisions, 613 East Broadway, South Boston, 617-269-6100, americanprovisions.com
ANDRE ET MIREILLE TISSOT NV CREMANT DU JURA EXTRA BRUT
Pale gold-bronze in hue and with appetizing champagne-like aromas, the wine’s feel is brisk, but with a satisfying roundness to the apple-like fruit. It’s 55 percent chardonnay and 35 percent pinot noir, with the balance consisting of two hyperlocal red grapes: poulsard and trousseau.
TRERE 2012 PAGADEBIT DI ROMAGNA FRIZZANTE
Pagadebit (pag-a-da-beet) is revered in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region as the grape whose abundant yields pay off one’s mortgages. This is as cheery a bottle of simple fizz as you’re likely to encounter, and with the money you’ll save, you might well pay off a credit card or two.
PATRICK BOTTEX NV “LA CUEILLE” VIN DU BUGEY-CERDON
A sentimental favorite of mine (I introduced Julia Child to this wine 20 summers ago) and even more charming than I remember: beautifully fragrant; spicy, honey-tinged strawberry fruit; silky-sudsy feel; good acidity; a just-right touch of sweetness. It’s 90 percent gamay and 10 percent poulsard.
> Around $20 at Bin Ends, 65 Crawford Street, Needham, 781-400-2086, and 236 Wood Road, Braintree, 781-817-1212, binendswine.com, and Blanchards Wines & Spirits, 418 LaGrange Street, West Roxbury, 617-327-1400, blanchardsliquor.com
PIERRE PETERS CUVEE DE RESERVE BLANC DE BLANCS NV BRUT
Champagne growers with exceptional holdings sometimes make wine under their own label rather than sell to a big-brand house (think Veuve Clicquot). Pierre Peters is a splendid example. Each new edition blends wine from the current vintage with the previous release, so there’s always some seriously old wine in the mix. The aromatics are lemons and cream; the palate shows a chiseled quality.
JEAN LALLEMENT ET FILS VERZENAY NV BRUT
Grower champagnes may show more variation than big brands in their non-vintaged blends (they naturally have fewer stocks to draw on), but the quality and character can be very high indeed, as here. Lallement continues to be the most engaging, intriguing, and satisfying of all the grower champagnes I encounter.
VIETTI 2012 “CASCINETTA VIETTI” MOSCATO D’ASTI
What I most appreciate about this barely-bubbly is that it understates everything, with sparkle, sugar, and alcohol all whispers of what they could be. Flavors of citrus, spice, and something like sugar cookie make this a natural companion to fruit desserts like clafoutis or apple pie, and a better bet than mimosas at your New Year’s Day brunch.
> Around $17 at Central Bottle Wine + Provisions, 196 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, 617-225-0040, centralbottle.com, and Whole Foods, Legacy Place, Dedham, 781-329-7100, wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/dedham
CANELLO NV “CANEVA DA NANI” COL FONDO PROSECCO
A light and delicate wine with aromas of frangipani and lemon; the feel is soft and sudsy, the flavors simple but lovely. Col fondo-style means the sediment from the second, in-bottle fermentation is never disgorged, remaining in contact with the wine and adding a yeasty, creamy richness. A bit of haze is par for the course.
JACQUESSON NO. 736 NV EXTRA BRUT
Notionally located somewhere between the grower aesthetic and big-brand approach, Jacquesson blends its 700 series to highlight the contribution made by its base vintage wines (in this case 2008) rather than a consistent house style. A classic chardonnay, pinot noir, pinot meunier recipe, the wine’s aromatics tip toward savory-salty and its palate shows a tight integration of fruit and minerals. It’s a special-occasion wine that’s flying well under the radar.
> Around $77 at Lower Falls Wine Co., 2366 Washington Street, Newton, 617-332-3000, lowerfallswine.com
DOMAINE PHILIPPE TESSIER NV CREMANT DE LOIRE
This non-vintage blend of chardonnay and orbois grapes has piquant aromas and very fine bubbles, with a creamy texture, subtle undertone of sweetness, and some champagne-y notes. The flavor, character, and value are all exceptional.
> Around $25 at Lower Falls Wine Co.
Stephen Meuse is a former Globe wine columnist. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.