MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On New Year’s Eve, there is one choice of drink, and that choice comes with lots and lots of bubbles.
“Traditionally, champagne has been a celebratory drink,” Bill Belkin, chief wine buyer for Lunds and Byerlys, said.
From small cult favorites to the iconic Yellow Label, we bought nearly 22 million cases of sparkling wine in the U.S. in 2015, according to the Wine Institute. That’s a nearly 10 percent increase in sparkling purchases as compared to 2014.
The French have been aggressive about marketing champagne as a wine, not as some unique flower.
“People now understand champagne is not just for big celebrations, people are drinking it more and more,” Belkin said.
Want to splurge? Wine experts love this champagne from Bereche et fils.
“This is two young brothers who talked their dad into turning the whole estate into organics,” Annette Peters, wine importer for Domaines & Appellations, said.
“My eyes rolled back in my head when I first tasted this,” she said of the wine available at St. Paul’s Solo Vino Wine Shop.
Bubbly can range from $10 to a budget that would blow most of our minds.
“We have vintages that sell for hundreds of dollars,” Belkin said.
But you can have really nice bubbly for around $11, like the Sacchetto Prosseco, from Italy, at Lunds and Byerlys.
“Prosecco and cava is driving a lot of the growth in sparkling sales,” Belkin said. “It makes it a little fresher, fruitier and sweeter on the tip of the tongue.”
If you step up to $15-$20, you can try Chandon, a California sparkling wine made in the French tradition.
“The blanc de noir is made from all red wine grapes, it’ll have a little color, they don’t leave a lot of skin contact,” he said.
Only wine made in the Champagne region in France can be called “champagne.” Belkin’s pick for new year’s eve is Bollinger.
“I am absolutely swept away by that biscuity nose. The aroma is incredible,” Belkin said.
No matter what’s in your glass: Here’s to a great new year.
“We want to get people out of the mode of waiting for a celebration,” Belkin said. “Make the night special by having a special wine.”
Jason’s 2016 Sparkling Recommendations:
Gruet Brut from New Mexico, about $16
Chandon Brut, $15
Laurent Perrier Brut Champagne, $35
Jacques Chaput, Le Brut Tradition $38
Bollinger Special Cuvee, $50
Phillipe Gonet Grande Reserve Brut, $70
Tarlant Cuvee Louis: $90
Bereche & Fils: $100
Buying Guide: Top Champagnes For New Year’s Eve (Minnesota Monthly)