New Year's Celebration: Six Bottles of Bubbly Under $20


I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me.“ — Anaïs Nin


A fresh new year is once again upon us, for some, it's a sigh of relief, for others it's a continuation of the madness of 2018. However you look at it, it's the time to be thankful for the many blessings of the past year and to take stock of the disappointments, achievements, goals attained and other everyday victories. I've resolved to drink, taste and uncork many new wines in the upcoming new year, that is one resolution I can count on keeping and many of you as well if you're honest. 

As an older human being, I take each day in stride, I suck up the frustrations and drive on; I've learned each year above ground is a celebration, regardless of the many and varied political strivings which seem to be festering near the surface of everyday life, which I mostly just ignore. There's far more to life than who is in charge at the moment, life marches on, seasons change, the rain comes, but also does the sunshine. 

Another year of experiences and another year to live, love and uncork some fantastic bottles of wine. Ringing in the New Year is always exciting, from house parties to quiet dinners, everyone across the globe has their style of ringing in the New Year. In case you should find yourself without a proper celebratory bottle of bubbly you plan to open this New Year's Eve, see one of the fantastic suggestions below, to help you ring the new year in right.

So here we go, time for another wine-soaked list of bubbly recommendations to help the even garden-variety vino-sapiens to make their way past the hollow and pedantic pages of wanna-be wine-sage to find a quaffable glass of bubbly to uncork for the upcoming New Year's celebration. With that random mess of thought-provoking eloquence having smacked you across the face, like the awkward toss of a stinky mackerel at your favorite local fish market, it's time swerve into a review of more than a few newfound bubblies I've recently received as samples. With it nearly being time to suck down a few suds to ring in the New Year, I know many of you may be thinking what kind of (colloquially known) 'juice' you should you be uncorking for New Years, which is why I'm here to help with that dilemma.


If you want to make it something new and different than you could not possibly get more different than this bottle of sparkling wine from our mutual friends at Freixenet, their Freixenet Elyssia Pinot Noir Brut Rosé is a real standout in both appearance, taste and aromas. The budding wine enthusiast readily recognizes their signature and ubiquitous (Cordon Negro) black bottle, known for its role as a mixer for Sunday brunch mimosas, but their Elyssia bottling is a cut above.

This beautiful bottle of bubbly [Cava] resides in an eloquent bottle, the wine itself is dressed to impress from the first sip to the last bubbly drop. Need a pairing suggestion; I'm thinking a holiday style glazed spiral cut ham and a fresh homemade summer potato salad, replete with olives, hard-boiled eggs, macaroni, and tuna.

This bottle of bubbly offers a unique blend of Pinot Noir and Trepat, full of intensely ripe summer red fruit aromas evocative of summer simmer on the beaches of Barcelona. Rich, elegant yet ripe raspberries, red currants, and bright newly harvested cherries fill your glass, while at the same time bringing beautifully balanced acidity to the party and at long last giving the weary reveler a refreshing, yet long-lasting finish. It has an SRP of a mere $18 and is widely available. I gave this bubbly score of 91 points, and award it the "drink now and drink often" seal of approval. 



NV Domaine de Bois Moze Cremant de Loire Brut, France: This wine is one hundred percent Chenin using méthode champenoise to create the delicate, yet tightly formed well-honed bubbles. The overall flavor profile was pleasing and sporting newly bloomed honeysuckle perfuming the air, a slight citrus note, summer-ripe white peaches, pears, and crushed river rock. The finish was medium to long, pleasing, inviting another sip, swirl, and slurp. An excellent pairing partner with spicy cuisine or as summer aperitif before the main event. This wine earned a score of 87 points, and the price ranges from $15.99 to $20. Another solid buy recommendation, fantastic appetizer selection.


NV Gratien & Meyer Crémant de Loire Brut Rosé, France: In the glass, you can see a gorgeous salmon leaning toward tangerine in color. What we have here is a sophisticated Crémant de Loire Rosé made by macerating the one hundred percent Cabernet Franc grapes and, using méthode champenoise to create the delicate finely honed bubbles. A medium bodied wine, mild to chewy tannins, a bouquet bursting with the aromas of freshly sliced strawberries and red currants.

The palate is plush, and the acid keeps things interesting, bright cherry, tangerine, a hint of crusty bread, and strawberry compote with a long and lasting finish. An excellent food wine, which delivers far beyond its very reasonable price. This wine earned a score of 91 points, and the price ranges from $15.99 to $20. Another strong buy recommendation and it's awarded the highly coveted, "drink now and drink often" seal of approval. Pairing Suggestions: Smoked Pulled Pork sandwich on a thin multigrain toasted Orowheat roll, Coleslaw salad, and Stubbs Barbeque sauce, hickory flavored.


JCB No 19 69 Rosé Burgundy, Crémant de Bourgogne: Who says a rose wine can't be bubbly? Hmm? The simple, straightforward answer, no one. This wine brings the 'sexy' it's not name '69 for nothing, a real charmer in the glass from the first pour to the last lush drop. Of course, 69 is also a rosé Brut based exclusively on pinot noir; a rosé that captures and entwines the full spectrum of both masculinity and feminity. In the glass, it casts a slight rosé color leaning toward the orange/pink salmon side of the equation. 

On the nose dried cherries, over a freshly baked brioche. In the first slurp, ample fat bubbles and creamy mousse composed of strawberries, smeared on freshly baked buttermilk biscuits, leading to a long, sumptuous finish. I've had this wine several times, and I've never been disappointed. It sells for in the $17-$20 price range most places. I scored this wine 90 points, and it's highly recommended. Pairing Suggestions: The pairing options with this wine run the gamut from New Year's Eve white truffle oil popcorn to barbequed pork ribs. Champagne taste without the Champagne price. 


Ferrari Brut NV Sparkling Wine: One hundred percent Chardonnay from Trentino, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy and one hundred percent fantastic, made in true méthode champenoise style; which requires a secondary fermentation in the bottle. This secondary fermentation is accomplished by adding a mixture of sugar and yeast, called the liqueur de tirage, to still wine. Italian precision and style are exemplified in this blanc de blanc 'Champagne' like bubbly from Ferrari. Putting my nose in the glass, poof beautiful aromas of white-fleshed fruits, and bright florals mingle quietly, while hints of almond are playing bass in the corner of the room.

Splashing about on my palate I found this bubbly to be a smooth operator One lead by a host of complex flavors, powerful minerality, near-ripe summer fruits, nectarines, white peach, and pear which find themselves nicely complemented by a fresh, elegant finish. You'll see this wine is ideal as an aperitif or just something cooling and soothing to slurp upon while chilling on the deck taking in the view of New Years fireworks displays. My score for this beauty is 91 points and is available on Vivino selling just under $20. Pairing Suggestion: A few dragon sushi rolls to go, you'll be in heaven.


Casa Bianca Valdobbiadene Prosecco Brut DOCG NV: In the glass, this wine appeared to have light to medium intensity and the core was a straw in color, while the clarity was clear. A wonderfully aromatic wine, sporting vibrant florals, lime splash, honey-crisp apples, underripe pears and a drop of honey. The taste was dry, the acidity was crisp, and the body was light and airy. 

The tannins were low to moderate. The overall flavor profile was underripe pears, lime peels, freshly cut honey-crisp apple slices, and wet-stone minerality. This wine made in the Charmant method and the style was Brut, and often a majority chain store Prosecco's are not produced in Brut style. The finish was long and lasting, vividly fresh.

Perfect Pairing: Fresh on the minds of many, is what to pair? May I suggest an uber simple dish, sauteed shrimp, garlic, Italian spices, olive oil, paprika and voila you have a tremendous low-carb keto inspired recipe you could throw in with a garden salad. I'm at least 90 points on this pairing and selling for an incredible price $12-$15 most places, fantastic QPR.


Tenute la Montina Aurum Franciacorta Brut Saten N.V.: This a bonus bottle and priced over $20 threshold, but man does this bottle of bubbly deliver the goods in spades. Wow, a very sexy number. You'll find this La Montina Argens Saten, Franciacorta to be quite vibrant and creamy. Persistent, lip-smacking acidity greets you with delightful flavors of freshly baked patisserie pear, bright honey-crisp apples, toasted almonds, a drop of honey and scented by acacia blossoms. This fantastic juice is punctuated by a rich note of sensuous minerality, quietly playing bass in the background, and a long, sumptuous finish will have you thinking about opening another bottle. I scored this bottle 95 points, yes it's that freaking good.

It's has been a fun year, filled with many adventures, both near and far. There were ups and downs, many new things learned, and new wine friends made. I want to thank each, and every one of you, my readers, the subscriber list is growing, over six hundred email subscribers now. Without our small core of readers, the team and  I'd not put the time in needed to create the content that keeps you interested in reading the variety of article I and the team of contributors who share this space with me create. All the best to each of you, in the new year, don't make any resolutions you can't keep, and continue to explore the vast world of wine. Continue to slurp long and prosper, remember compromise is for relationships, not wine cheers!

All original content: Including text and photographs remain the copyright © of the author, (W.R. Eyer) and © Fotogui Photography except where otherwise noted.

Full Disclosure: Reviewed wines are from medias sample provided (not for sale) for the review process.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Wow, what a great collection of bubbles; I can't wait to try some of them. That price range is where I live when it comes to wine. I find the writing on this blog refreshing, like the wines you review.

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