DCWAF Sommelier, Brooklyn Bain's Top Picks for New Year's Eve Bubbles


As many of you know, my philosophy is that bubbles are for every occasion, but especially for New Year's Eve. There's no better way to say goodbye to the old and hello to the new than with a delicious glass of sparkling wine. I also recently read that there are over 2 million bubbles in a glass of Champagne…so it's practically air, which is good for you! It's basic Champagne Math.

In preparation for New Year's Eve celebrations, I wanted to give everyone a breadth of choices depending on your goal. We have everything from budget-friendly and approachable to bottles that are worth the splurge. Pro Tip: Drink your bubbles from a regular wine glass instead of a Champagne flute to get more aromas and enhance your experience.

Budget Friendly + Approachable:

Other regions in France, outside of Champagne, also make high-quality sparkling wines. These wines are labeled as "crémant." The Celene Crèmant de Bordeaux, both the rosé and white versions, are spectacularly delicious and approachable. Should you want to cure what ails you on January 1, it's affordable enough to not guilt you for making a mimosa with the leftovers.

Many Proseccos, like the one everyone knows with the pretty Tiffany blue label, are "dry," which, contrary to what one may think, has a little bit more sweetness than a wine labeled "brut." I prefer a drier style of sparkling wine, which is why the Bisol 'Crede' Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore is one of my favorite Proseccos. It is a cream of the crop of Prosecco, hailing specifically from Valdobbiadene (vahl-doe-bee-ah-duh-nay), the heart of this winemaking region. This wine has delicate pears, green apples, and Meyer lemon notes. You'll find a lovely creaminess on the palate, finishing with bright and balanced acidity.

Sometimes, the best way to find a great value and hidden gem is to get a bottle that is out of the ordinary. When thinking about sparkling wine, I bet South Africa is not the first place that pops into your head. However, the Graham Beck Brut Rosé is one of my go-to's, bursting with fresh berry and cherry notes. This lively wine is perfect for all seasons and settings and will surely please both your wine aficionados and novices alike.

Top Tier Tasty: 

With a 28-year tradition of "une femme, un esprit, un style" (one woman, one spirit, one style), the Lassalle women craft a pale, elegant rosé Champagne, all about delicacy and lovely, plush fruit. J. Lassalle 1er (also known as Premier) Cru Brut Rosé is a favorite of mine that I do not get to enjoy often enough. Lush and plush on the palate, finishing with lifted acidity, sprinkled with aromas of strawberries, cherries, and cream.

Not only a friend of DCWAF but also an incredible winemaker, Paula Kornell crafts some of the best California sparkling wine using the traditional Champagne method—a very elegant wine with generous aromas of bright lemon and a hint of strawberry and currant. The palate on the Paula Kornell Blanc de Noirs is crisp and vibrant with white cherry, peach, and notes of honeyed brioche. Finishing bright, clean, and endlessly refreshing.

The 2014 J. Schram Blancs, from Schramsberg Vineyards, opens with vivid aromas of Meyer lemon, nectarine, golden apple, and poached pear, combined with nuances of Belgian waffle and vanilla cake. The juicy palate features broad elements of rich baked citrus, dried pineapple, and apple strudel layered with marzipan and ginger. A backbone of generous, fruitful acidity drives a bright, long finish.

Henriot is quite the Champagne for the price. Champagne Henriot Brut Souverain is made with two-thirds Grand Cru and Premier Cru grapes. Aged for over three years, the minimum age requirement for VINTAGE Champagne, it offers a rich and diversified aromatic range that gives it beautiful complexity.

Worth the Splurge:

Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill is a very robust and full-bodied wine. There are notes of spices and pepper on the nose, followed by blackberry and plum. The complexity of the palate introduces dried citrus, hazelnuts, and a smoky brioche finish.

While vintage wines in Champagne are usually synonymous with excellence for Prestige Cuvées, Laurent Perrier believes that only the art of blending can offer what nature can never provide: the perfect year. Laurent Perrier Grand Siècle uses three vintages to craft their "perfect" bottling. I believe this wine to be best when fresh, with delicate notes of white flowers, orange blossom, citrus zest, and almond. Although it certainly can age as well, developing more nutty and bready characteristics in the bottle.

Egly-Ouriet Brut Grand Cru Tradition Champagne is sensual, unforgettable, and highly sought after, a "cult" wine for Champagne lovers who crave concentration and complexity. With aromas of fresh pears, light pepper, and red fruit followed by a creamy palate and bright lemon zest notes.

This next wine is at a different price point than you might expect for this category, but it has proven challenging to get ahold of. I have only had the pleasure of tasting this wine once (and at a conference, for that matter). The Ca'del Bosco Cuvée Annamaria Clementi is essentially their equivalent of a Champagne house's "Tête de Cuvée," or the most prestigious wine in the winery's lineup. Franciacorta is an underappreciated Italian sparkling wine, rivaling the best Champagnes.

Only made in the best vintages, this winery focuses on making one cuvée and making it perfection. In years that deemed to be subpar for Salon, the grapes are blended in to make Champagne Delamotte. Champagne Salon Brut Blanc de Blancs showcases elegant, rounded aromas of baked apple, toasted hazelnut, and salted butter caramel. It is a Champagne that can absolutely hold its own with a full dinner menu.

Whether you're newly dipping your tastebuds into sparkling wine or Champagne is a staple in your household, I hope you can discover something new to enjoy this holiday season.

Published on Monday, December 18, 2023