The social outings and gift buying obligations are endless this time of year. And they can often break the bank. It’s time to refocus and take our eyes off of the Champagne lifestyle. How about Prosecco? Cava? Or *gasp* plain Sparkling wine? There are some amazing value-for-dollar bottles of bubbly on the market that are unique, delicious and fabulous quality. So let me break it down for you, here are some of my favourite Celebration Sparklers. They’re affordable and perfect for any occasion this holiday season.
Sip during a night in with friends while watching Love Actually. You know the nights I’m talking about. Good friends, telling inside jokes, and reciting lines from epic holiday movies while wearing comfy pants. The colour intensity of Fresita is what makes this a deceiving wine, but it’s all-natural! It’s a balanced blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscatel and is infused with Chilean strawberries. So yes, you’re going to see a tiny bit of pulp at the bottom, and the sweetness is so subtle. Overall, this is such a refreshing and light bubble, with the perfect amount of authentic strawberry decadence.
Sip when your neighbours drop by unexpectedly to give you their holiday card. I’m talking about the neighbours you actually like enough to invite them in for a glass. This slender bottle is perfect to keep in the fridge and grab quickly. The Frizzante style adds an element of ‘tis-the-season-celebration’ but it’s under screwcap. It won’t scare people off with a traditional cork and cage found on most other styles of sparkling wine. The Speritz is the sweetest of the wines on our list, but it’s spritzy (hence the name), elegant – and organic to boot! Made from estate grown Moscato (plantings that have been on the farm for 4 generations) it’s got flavours of ripe nectarine, mango, pineapple and a touch of white flower on the finish.
Sip when you want to play a game of ‘guess how much this bottle is’ and then see all your friends lose. It doesn’t get more affordable than this – my jaw dropped when I found out this French Sparkling Wine was less than $15! This Blanc de Blancs (which means it’s made exclusively from white grapes varietals) is a blend of Semillon, Ugni Blanc and Muscadelle grapes. The nutty flavours of the Semillon were evident which elevated the body. But the citrus flavours from the Muscadelle brought the balance needed against the boisterous bubbles. Perfect for a family brunch or to have on its own, fireside, with a good book.
Sip when you want to show off your knowledge. This is great for an office Christmas party, dinner at your boss’s house, or even appys and drinks with people you want to break the ice with. This particular bottle of Cava has fine bubbles and a rich palate. It’s dry with delicate white fruit flavours such as pear. The only problem with Cava is that not many people know about it. And even if they did know that Cava existed, the varietals are indigenous to Spain, so ya, not very common. The Giró is a blend of 50% Macabeo, 30% Xarel·lo & 20% Parellada and is aged for over a year on its lees. It’s made in the Traditional Method, meaning the winemaking, aging and bottling is done exactly the same as Champagne. So you can score some big points with this one AND brag about its value.
Let’s take a minute to break down Prosecco, because there’s a lot of it out there and a lot to be confused by. First off, Prosecco is always Italian, always. And it’s predominantly made with the Glera grape, native to the Veneto region. There’s a misconception that it’s sweeter than Champagne. It’s not necessarily, although can be. There’s also a myth that the quality is inferior to Champagne. In all honesty, aside from the fact that they both have bubbles, it’s like comparing apples to oranges. We’re talking different grapes, different growing conditions, differing winemaking processes. Let’s start looking at it like it’s own entity – because it is! The following Prosecco’s are excellent examples of the options available.
Zonin Prosecco Brut 1821 DOC
Approximately $20.00 and available at private stores Distributed by: Summit Fine Wines
Sip during any weekday dinner leading up to Christmas. You know those days, the ones you’re just trying to get through until your office closes for the holidays. Sometimes a little bubbly is all you need to make those days special. Zonin, who owns the largest Glera vineyards in Italy, is a great option; its middle name might as well be ‘versatile’. It’s dry but fruit forward. Refreshing but well rounded. Light enough to have as an aperitif or sip while you’re cooking dinner. It’s layered enough to compliment pasta, fish, and casseroles, roasted anything or grilled everything. Plus, it’s an elegant bottle. So if you did need to venture out on those weekdays and were forced into yet another social outing – take it with you to share!
Crudo Prosecco DOC Treviso Extra Dry 2016
Approximately $20.50 at private stores such as Bottle Jockey (Burnaby), 8th Street (New Westminster), North Shore Liquor Store and Denman Beer Wine & Spirits (amongst others) Distributed by: Authentic Wine & Spirits
Sip to help get the conversation started. A few things make this bottle special: It’s organic. It’s vintage specific (not always the case with Prosecco), it’s got an unusually shaped bottle with lime green foil AND an octopus on the label. It’s hard to beat an octopus. I really loved the unqiue attributes of this one. The primary aromas were citrus with herbed crackers – kind of funky, but cool! Then on the palate, lemon, pear and green apple flavours took over. It then finished with some mandarin orange notes, truly delightful. I fell in love with the bubbles as well, they danced on the finish and continued going strong in the glass well after 10-15 minutes.
Sip at your New Years Eve party. Because, check out that label bling! Sign me up, like asap, for a $25 bottle of bubble for New Years Eve. Extra points for the sparkle on the label. Canah Prosecco is a Superiore designated Prosecco from Valdobbiadene and has been winning international medals for more than a decade. The embossing on the shoulders of the bottle is also gorgeous to look at; it really is a next-level bottle of bubble.
I actually brought this one to my book club meet-up last month, and it was the favourite among the group. It is a touch off-dry with flavours of green apple and nectarine. If pairing with a special NYE dinner, try it with a creamy mushroom risotto.
So there you have it, 7 bottles, 7 occasions, each $25 or under. Happy holidays dear friends and readers – cheers to many bottles of bubbly this season!