Holiday Sparklers

During the holidays our thoughts about wine naturally turn to sparkling wines. They’re synonymous with celebration, and it seems that December and January are filled with celebration. Here are some of my very favorite sparkling wines.

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Taittinger Brut la Française

All the top end sparkling wines of France’s Champagne region are pricey—Dom Pérignon, Roederer’s Cristal, Krug Grande Cuvée and Taittinger are all north of $150 per bottle at retail. All are also similar in their nature, basically Chardonnay, Pinot noir or Pinot Meunier grapes, all aged, all made with a final in-bottle fermentation (“méthode champenoise”) that results in their sparkling essence. The things that set Taittinger apart for me are all emotional. I had my first bottle with my wife, Rhonda, for her birthday many years ago, and I loved the subtle hints of fruit, like apricot, in the wine. For special occasions, choose your high-end bubbly and make some memories.

Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label

When entertaining, many people look for a wine to please everyone. Just like no one was fired for buying IBM in the ’80s and ’90s, no one will look askance at this “standard” premium champagne from Reims. It’s got some subtle fruit, is reasonable priced at about $42 retail and $85-$100 in quality restaurants.

La Marca Prosecco

When you’re having a celebration at home with a large group, you’re generally going to look at a much lower price point than a champagne. Many look to cava from Spain or prosecco from Italy as a sparkling replacement. I favor La Marca’s Prosecco, a light and dry sparkler with hints of peach and melon and a great finish. Best of all, you can have a great big party featuring La Marca, at a price of about $14 per bottle retail. Note: A big difference between champagne, which ages well, and prosecco is that the latter is best consumed young. Don’t wait more than a year to drink it.

Wine Tip

If you open the bottle, be sure to drink it. Or cook with it. All reds and whites oxidize overnight, and the flavor of the wine will be seriously compromised.

Talk To Me

If you have any suggestions, comments or want to tell readers about your favorite wines or share an interesting wine experience, I would love to hear from you. Shoot me a few lines—perhaps I can include it in my next column. Thanks for reading.

  • Jay Carter

    Jay Carter is Senior VP and Director of Strategy Services for AbelsonTaylor. Jay has worked for 31 years in the medical advertising industry, the last 28 at AbelsonTaylor. He’s had the pleasure of working with some of the finest minds (and hearts) in pharma. Along the way, he’s developed a passion for championing health brands to clinicians and consumers, and championing the medical advertising industry as a worthwhile career.

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