We wish you a Happy New Year from BinWise and raise a toast to the year past, with its joys and successes (with some measure, naturally of trials and tribulations). What better way to bid it adieu than with a glass of bubbles, be it the venerable sparkling wine favorite of world-class Champagne, or a glass of equally storied and delicious Prosecco from Italy or Cava from Spain.
Since New Year’s Eve is, appropriately, National Champagne Day – it’s time to pop the cork on a bottle of bubbles and celebrate all the good things about Champagne (which is to say, just about everything about it).
Bubbles from around the world are produced in a variety of fashions, although connoisseurs of Champagne will assert that only those produced via Méthode Classique result in the best bubbles. The technique pioneered by Dom Pérignon in the 17th century involves the wine undergoing two distinct fermentations, followed on by the addition of a sweet dosage, a small amount of sugar or grape must added in just before corking, which determines the how sweet the final product should be. Regardless of origin then, New Year’s Méthode Classique bubbly is divided into six categories from driest to sweetest according it’s dosage.
So whether you like your sparkling super dry, a tad sweet or somewhere in between, each category offers delectable food pairings for your New Year’s festivities:
Natural and Extra Brut:
Favored and drunk heavily by the English, this bone-dry version gets almost no dosage (from zero up to 0.6% sugar), which makes them a wonderful pairing for all types of cheeses, poultry and even sweet desserts. Also known as Brut Sauvage–there isn’t much love lost between the French and the English–this assertive (and in some cases, aggressive) acidity also makes it an ideal pairing for curry or fiery Kung Pao Chicken to make your party pop.
Very dry Champagne, and chances are, what’s currently in your glass. It contains less than 1.5% sugar and is the most widely produced. Enticing subtle citrus flavors often characterize these traditional Bruts. For something way off the beaten path, fill up your flute with Soter Winery’s 2011 Mineral Springs Brut Rose, a classic French blend of 90 percent Pinot Noir and 10 Percent Chardonnay via the West Coast of the United States. This delicious 100% Methode Champenoise brut is hand-riddled and disgorged on site after three years en tirage.
Pair with a smoked salmon appetizer drizzled in hazelnuts and enjoy the taste of fresh pineapples on the beach in a glass.
A little confusingly, Extra Dry denotes “Off-dry” and contains up to 2% sugar. Cava generally comes in Extra Dry format and offers great value for the money. 95% of Cava is produced in Catalonia, thus ideal pairings are classic Spanish Tapas or smoked meats. Bonus: Extra Dry Cava tastes like Champagne but is often half the price.
Semi Sec, French for “dry” is actually lightly sweet, up to 3.5% sugar. And while this is not produced in the preferred Methode Champenoise Prosecco is our favorite go-to in this flavor profile. This Italian icon is generally a touch sweeter than other sparkling wines and can be made in a range of styles. Extra dry Prosecco offers the most versatility with appetizers and desserts, pairing well with: pastries, biscuits and cakes for dessert options, or as an accompaniment for party appetizers like mini quiches or sushi.
Demi-Sec and Doux:
Demi-Sec, “half sweet” with up to 5% residual sugar, and Doux, “sweet” with a residual sugar of 5% – 12% percent fill out the last category of bubbles. But don’t let that sugar scare you away–most Demi-secs are so lightly sweet that you might just take that to be a richer fruit profile in the wine. Moreover, which you might be tempted to think that sweeter bubbles mean dessert, these styles pair wonderfully with savory or salty foods. Classicist would pair these with salty cheeses like Pecorino or Parmesan, but I personally love to pop a Demi-sec to tackle a Dim Sum brunch. New Years brunch was never better.
So pop the bottle, Magnum or Jeraboam and let the sparklers shine this New Years Eve! Let us know what you’re cracking on NYE in the comments below!
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