Choose these sparkling wines for Saturday night’s festivities, and you’ll be cheering for your wallet as well as the New Year.
Mumm Napa Brut Prestige non-vintage sparkling wine brings Napa Valley’s ripe fruit flavors to the party. This sparkler is a blend of the three traditional Champagne grapes, pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier, and aged for 21 months. It’s more fruit-filled and less dry than a typical brut Champagne. Serve a glass as your guests arrive; its moderate $20 price tag encourages gracious refills throughout the evening.
If you’re looking for good value wines or want to stretch your wine budget, go directly to Segura Viudas, owned by the Ferrer wine family (think Spain’s Freixenet and Gloria Ferrer winery in Sonoma, Calif.).
Segura Viudas produces what might be the best sparkling wine bargain: Aria Pinot Noir. It is an eye-catching red with wonderful raspberry and cherry aromas and a delicious cornucopia of red fruit flavors. An off-dry finish and $11 ticket makes this a perfect party wine.
A step up is the Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad. It is made from estate-grown indigenous grapes and aged for four years. It is wheat-colored with a wedding cake aroma and savory pear and dried peach flavors. It has the right acidity and mineral backbone to keep the palate fresh; enjoy it with sautéed bass or skate, or lobster in any presentation.
The Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad is encased in an antique silver base with a silver crest in the center of the bottle. All this appeal arrives at a very pleasing $23.
A century ago, Giulio Ferrari revolutionized sparkling wine making in Italy. He brought chardonnay vines from France, planted them in Trentino, and began producing sparkling wines using the Champagne method.
The 2004 Ferrari Perle sparkling wine is 100 percent chardonnay. Its full body carries pleasing apple and raw cashew flavors, and citrus-like acidity provides balance and gives the wine a long, pleasing finish. Serve it with grilled or roasted shrimp, smoked salmon canapés, or mini-crab cakes.
The high-quality 2004 Ferrari Perle is yours for a very reasonable $35.
The Franciacorta area in Lombardy is to Italy what the Champagne region is to France, and it is also the home of my favorite Italian sparkling wine estate, Bellavista. Its brut non-vintage is an orchestration of more than 30 wines vinified separately from various plots in Bellavista’s 400-acre vineyard. The result is a luscious pear and apple-scented and-flavored sparkling wine. It is full-bodied; and good acidity provides elegance and balance.
The Bellavista Brut non-vintage is ideal with seafood canapés or spicy chicken wings, or a first course of scallops or calamari. It’s approximately $45.
HAPPY NEW YEAR.