It’s time to sparkle.
As the year winds down, the bubbles rise. Uncork some effervescence for the celebration.
The classic choice: Champagne. Real Champagne is from the namesake region of France. It’s typically more expensive than other sparkling wines. A celebratory choice is the 2006 Laurent-Perrier Brut Millésimé ($65), very dry delight, with tropical fruit notes and a hint of almonds.
Italy’s most popular sparkler is prosecco, a light, versatile choice from the Tre Venezie in the northeast. Prosecco is refreshing on its own and in cocktails such as the Bellini and, increasingly, the Mimosa. Very good prosecco usually is less than $20. There’s a suggestion of pear in Ruffino Prosecco ($15) and a floral quality to the Martini & Rossi Prosecco ($15), Zardetto Prosecco ($16) is a fine aperitif on its own and works in cocktails, too.
Franciacorta is from Lombardy and is more medium-bodied. The 2009 Bellavista Saten Franciacorta ($40-$50) is a charmer, dry and stylish, with fine fruit. The Antica Fratta Franciacorta Brut ($24 or less) has flair, and is a lively, satisfying sparkler.
The Chandon Holiday Limited Edition Blanc de Noirs (about $22) is dressed to party, in a white-and-gold coat. The Californian is dry, but not overly so. Its sparkling wine offers plenty of red fruit, especially strawberry. Chandon was established by Moet & Chandon, the grand Champagne producer.
And Domaine Carneros enlivens the festivities with both the dry 2011 Domaine Carneros Brut Cuvée ($29) and the nonvintage, fruitier Domaine Carneros Brut Rose ($36). The California producer’s lineage goes to Taittinger, the outstanding Champagne house.