Celebrate the holidays with sparkling wine

Gruet Brut

With the holidays here, it’s time to enjoy some sparkling wine at celebrations with friends and family. If “real” Champagne (from the Champagne region of France) is out of your budget this year, there are lots of good alternatives at reasonable prices.

Sparkling wines are made all over the world and in many different styles. Unfortunately, the shelves include some less-than-stellar ones that are, for my tastes, industrial swill.

Now, if you happen to like Korbel or Martini & Rossi, more power to you. Everyone’s taste is different. If however, you are looking to step it up a bit, without hurting your wallet too badly, here are a couple of my long-time favorites: 

Gruet is a winery in New Mexico that makes very good sparkling wines that are also great values. The winery was founded by Frenchman, Gilbert Gruet, who also owned a vineyard in Champagne, France. The wine is now made by his son Laurent Gilbert. I purchased the Gruet Brut for $16 at Heinen’s in University Heights.

This is a dry wine with lots of effervescence made from a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. It is slightly nutty with toasty vanilla notes and refreshing green apple flavors. This versatile wine will go well before a meal, during a meal or at parties. 

Riondo Prosecco is from the Vento, a region in Northeast Italy. Prosecco is the name of the grape and the style of wine. This is a very clean and refreshing wine. It has a wonderful nose with vanilla, honey and lemons. Lots of frothy bubbles and a deep golden color make this very pretty in the glass. Its slightly sweet taste makes it better with hors d'oeuvres or for a toast. I bought my bottle for $14 at Whole Foods Market. 

Whatever you are drinking, I hope you have a happy and healthy season and the opportunity to raise a glass with your family and friends.

Loren Sonkin lives in Cleveland Heights, is the winemaker for SonkinCellars.com in California and writes for IntoWine.com

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Volume 2, Issue 12, Posted 3:28 PM, 11.19.2009