Bubbles for the New Year

December 29, 2020

There was a lot of uncertainty to deal with this year and everything we thought we knew got turned on its head. But as the end of 2020 draws near, it’s comforting to remember that through all the uncertainty, we know that hope is on the horizon and that we still have the certainty of a brand-new year to look forward to.

You know what else you can be certain of? Bubbles! Our staff are avid bubbles drinkers year-round, but there’s no better time to wax poetic about our favorites than on New Years’ Eve-Eve. Whether you’re celebrating by yourself with a bowl of Cheez-Its and a Netflix marathon or with an elaborate spread with your “pod,” we’ll set you up with the perfect sparkler to ring in 2021. Read on to learn about some of our favorite picks this year!

Hild Elbling Sekt Brut | $19.99 | Germany – Even though this bubbly is German, the region it comes from (the Upper Mosel) has more in common with Champagne and Sancerre than the rest of Germany. These vineyards have swaths of limestone, which contributes to the bright, zingy acidity that is the hallmark of this wine. It has just enough ripe pear and apple flavors to provide delicious balance and a crisp, clean finish.

Paul Nicolle Cremant de Bourgogne | $29.99 | France – This newcomer to the Minnesota wine scene caught us all by surprise this year. Paul Nicolle is rooted just outside of the town of Chablis, where the family makes unoaked Pinot Noir (not Chardonnay!) with an incredible vivacity for this cremant. It’s Extra Brut, meaning it has less than 6g/L sugar added, resulting in a high acid, mineral-driven, racy sparkler.

Ca’ del Bosco Franciacorta | $34.99 | Italy – Ca’ del Bosco can easily fit into Italy’s sparkling wine royalty. With one of the most technologically advanced wineries in the entire country, they have perfected the Champenoise method with their estate-grown Chardonnay along with touches of Pinot Nero and Pinot Bianco. It was aged for 25 months on the lees, giving it a gorgeous texture along with refreshing fruit and acidity. One of the best values of the year for us!

Marc Hebrart Premier Cru Brut Rose Champagne | $64.99 | France – We’ve known and loved Marc Hebrart for years. One of the steadfast “farmer fizz” bottles available in our market, it’s been one of the most consistently delicious bottles we’ve tasted year in and year out. This gorgeous pale pink Champagne is actually mostly Chardonnay which adds to the regal finesse it has, but is given its pretty color and delicate red fruit flavors from Pinot Noir.

Billecart-Salmon Brut Sous Bois Champagne | $79.99 | France – Billecart-Salmon has been a France 44 darling from the very beginning. The Sous Bois is the clear choice if you’re looking for a full-throttle, wrap-yourself-up-in-bubbles Champagne: it’s vinified entirely in oak, giving the wine an extra brioche-and-toffee richness. Beautifully intense fruit notes are balanced by a crystalline acidity, giving this classy Champagne a satisfyingly long finish. This is the year of Treat Yo’self, and there’s no one that deserves this bubbly treat more than you do.

You don’t have to choose sparkling wine to celebrate! Here are two off-the-beaten path options that still pair perfectly with a new year.

Duvel Ale | $12.99/750ml or $14.99/4pk – Dry, racy and bountifully carbonated–perfect for New Year’s Eve. A true “devil” of a beer for its well-hidden strength, Duvel is a forefather of the Belgian Golden Strong Ale style. Its distinct character is derived from a century-old Scottish yeast strain used by the brewery and delicate Slovenian and Czech hops. Secondary fermentation in the bottle gives this beer voluminous foam, lifting herbal hop and pear brandy-like aromas to the nose. It has a lively palate perfect for pairing with richer, cheese-driven celebration fare.

Isastegi Sagardo Naturala Cider | $8.99/750ml – The opposite of what you’d expect for NYE, this cider is “still” and features no carbonation at all! Cider from the northern Basque region of Spain is unique and delicious, and Isastegi is a textbook example of this. Fermented from over a dozen varieties of local apples, it is blended in large oak barrels before being bottled fresh. Aromas of ripe green apple, zippy citrus, cider vinegar and barnyard funk preface a similar palate with delicate minerality and a streak of acidity. It is best served the traditional way: one sip’s worth poured from height into a wide glass, drink, repeat.

Whatever 2020 gave or took from us, let’s raise a glass of bubbles to old memories, new beginnings, and the certainty of time moving forward. Cheers!