It's not that there is not enough Champagne (the real stuff) and sparkling wine to drink. There's plenty, and if you are a bubbly fan, as I am, then you always have a bottle or two at the ready. Champagne and sparkling wines are the perfect compliment to most any food. And there's no better combination than bubbly and fried chicken.
Typically, I break open a bottle of Veuve Cliquot for the New Year's midnight countdown. I'll admit to a bit of snobbery here--I like to lift a glass of Champagne to savor the new year and reflect on the old.(Only wine produced in the Champagne region of France can be designated as Champagne, everything else is sparkling wine.)
But,New Year's Day---that's a different story. I still reach for the bubbly, but I expand my sipping repertoire with a variety of sparkling wines.
I'm all about trying new wines, so this year unusual sparklies are on the New Year's day menu. I'm chilling a bottle of sparkling Sauvignon Blanc. De Bortoli produces Emeri, and as far as I can tell, they are the only winemakers producing a sparkling Sauvignon Blanc.
This sparkling is slightly sweet, and even though I prefer the crisp acidity and grassy overtones of non sparkling Sauvignon Blanc, I have to say this wine is delicious. At about $12 a bottle this is a sparkling treat. This is not fine-tiny-bubbled Champagne to be sure, but it will be good with my black eyed peas:)
Australian winemakers have also pioneered in creating another unusual sparkling wine. They've added bubbles to Shiraz,the big bold red wine which had been a popular import for some years. Good sparkling Shiraz is actually closer to good Champagne in style. Most are dry or what's called off dry,slightly sweet. Please note --sparkling Shiraz is a world apart from the once trendy soda-sweet Cold Duck.
This is also a food friendly wine, especially good with meat(and pizza). And, it's affordable,though not cheap. Expect to pay upwards of $20 a bottle. Look for Black Chook,Hardys, Oakvale Reserve,Majella.
The good news about the bad economy is that bubblies of all variety are more affordable than ever. It's a great time to sample some of the well known Champagnes,as well as the budget sparklies from around the world--- Cava from Spain,Sekt from Germany,and,of course,Prosecco from Italy.
In tribute to 2010 and the new decade, I'm filling my flute with a delicious unusual bubbly.