MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s New Year’s Eve, so you know what that means!

The Champagne toast!

But this year, why not step out of your comfort zone and try something different?

Jason DeRusha visited World Class Wines and found easy ways to find the perfect bubbly, some even without breaking the bank!

“Securely hold that [top of the bottle]. Point it away from your friends, point it towards your enemies, and there it is,” Dana Bonelli said.

As the General Sales Manager of World Class Wines, Dana Bonelli has opened a lot of bottles of Champagne.

Their huge warehouse in Shakopee is slamming this week, as it is the busiest week of the year for selling sparkling wines.

For those unfamiliar with sparkling wines, or Champagne, it can be daunting. But Bonelli says it shouldn’t be.

“It’s really simple,” she said. “You should look at the label, even though it’s in French, don’t be afraid of it.”

Only wines made in the Champagne region of France can be called Champagne. Like the $50 Pol Roger.

“It’s an exceptional value. It happens to be the official Champagne of the British royal family,” Bonelli said.

Brut means it’s a dry wine.

Extra Brut means sweeter.

If it’s in a box, it means money.

“Have your splurge bottle,” Bonelli said.

“But then you have the stuff to give the in-laws,” DeRusha added.

“That’s right,” Bonelli laughed.

Most Champagne comes from big houses.

But a growing category is “Farmer Fizz,” which is Champagne the grower creates.

Bonelli loves a Diebolt-Vallois for $50 and a Pascal Doquet for about $65.

“You’re buying something of truly artisanal quality. It’s a wine that you can age in your cellar or share with a special friend, special occasion,” Bonelli said.

If you want to really amp up the quality, you have to go back to boxes.

A Pol Roger in the box designed to honor Winston Churchill. It’s $200. The grapes were harvested in 2002.

Another boxed Champagne made from pinot noir, and named after the winemakers daughter Alexandra, is $350!

“Of course the sky is the limit. You could spend north of $500 on a bottle of Champagne, but you shouldn’t feel like you have to,” Bonelli said.

In fact you can find great sparkling wines from Italy for super-cheap.

“So, we have high quality options for $12 a bottle in Prosecco, which is the Italian answer,” she said.

Lamberti Prosecco comes in white and rose, and both are delightful.

Pour that sparkling wine into a regular wine glass. No need for the fancy flute.

“Because you can’t smell the wine out of a champagne flute,” Bonelli said.

And here’s to an extra bubbly 2015.

 

Find the wines mentioned above at the locations below:

  • Lamberti Prosecco – Kowalskis and Liquor Boy
  • Grower Champagne/Farmer Fizz – Solo Vino and Thomas Liquors
  • Pol Roger – France 44 and Haskells

Jason DeRusha

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