Even those who aren't drawn to Champagne the rest of the year often celebrate with it on New Year's Eve. But choosing a Champagne or sparkling wine can be a daunting task, given the vast number of choices available in all budget ranges. While it was a tough job, we made the sacrifice and set out to find you some great choices for celebrating New Year's Eve (and enjoying throughout the year). Read on to see our picks; and if you're unsure of the right way to open a bottle of Champagne, check out this great how-to video from Real Simple magazine.
First up is a budget-friendly sleeper that comes from New Mexico. Nope, we're not kidding. Gruet's fine wines are made by a genuine French family using classic Methode Champenoise. In New Mexico. Though available in many stores throughout the U.S., go to Gruet Winery to read the history of the winery and peruse all the choices available. The Gruet Rosé sparkling wine is a personal favorite…and at under $15 per bottle, you don't need to wait for a special occasion to justify serving it. — picked by Peggy Fallon
Another inexpensive option comes from California winemaker Jennifer Wall at Barefoot Bubbly, where she is known for her fruit-forward wines. At $10, the Barefoot Bubbly Brut Cuvee can't be beat as an affordable choice; and its sweeter profile appeals to many who normally eschew the bubbly.
If you're looking for something a step-up without completely busting the bank, then consider the Pol Roger Brut Reserve 'White Foil' Non-Vintage and the Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label. The Pol Roger Brut Reserve Non-Vintage ($39 at KL Wines) is an equal blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meurnier and Chardonnay that Wine Spectator (91 points) says results in "Rich notes of pear pastry, toasted almond, smoke and honey are well-meshed with and balanced by fresh notes of lemon peel, quince and grated ginger, all knit with the finely tuned acidity and creamy mousse". No matter how you describe it, we found it highly enjoyable and perfect for a celebration--which may be why the Royal Household selected it for serving at Prince William's wedding reception.
While that recommendation is hard to beat, the Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label ($45 at KL Wines) is also a Project Foodie favorite. Wine Spectator (90 points) says it has "Hints of toast and biscuit accent lightly honeyed flavors of quince, apple blossom and peach in this fresh and balanced Champagne. There's a stony underpinning, with a smoke-tinged finish". We enjoy it all year long! — picked by Pam Happy New Year Foodies!
Disclosure: Samples of products discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or manufacturers.