Sparkling Suggestions To Toast The New Year

Sparkling Suggestions To Toast The New Year

Sparkling Suggestions To Toast The New Year

Before you rush out to fill your shopping basket with the usual suspects, I’d like to share with you my sparkling suggestions to toast the new year.

Champagne

I often go for something from a lesser known house.  The benefit being you can get great quality at lower price than the big-name brands.  Nothing like value for money to get your new year off to a good start.  It’s still champagne, still at the pricier end of the wine market so you want to get something you’ll enjoy.  My tip is to speak to your local wine merchant, especially if they’re not part of a chain, they should know there stuff and be able to point you in the right direction.

If you decide to go for a tried and tested champagne, my suggestions would be; Bollinger, Tattinger or Veuve Cliquot.  Should you have something extra special to celebrate this year and really want to splash out, I’d suggest Cristal from Louis Roederer.  I know, I know, you might think this is only for American rap videos and because of that it’s become a bit of a cliché, but it is a good product.  Roederer is a respected house and makes some exquisite champagnes, not just the Cristal brand.

Cava

Quality at roughly less than half the cost of champagne, Cava is an excellent option.  I have to say that it’s not just price that influences my choice of another type of sparkling wine over champagne, in fact it’s more often than not about the taste.  Slightly lighter than most champagnes, cava often still carries the very dry quality of a champagne.

Prosecco

Wine experts might turn their noses up at prosecco, but I am anything but a wine snob and am never ashamed to go with what I enjoy.  This Italian bubbly is very light and easy to drink.  A word of warning though, because of it’s popularity over the last couple of years, there are some out there on the shelves that Italians would be ashamed to be associated with.  So, again, talk to your wine merchant, or read up on some articles about brands.

Crémant

This is my bubble of choice.  Always.  Above champagne.  I’d say it’s the least well known of the sparkling family.  It is produced in France using the same method as is used to make Champagne.  But, as it’s not made in the protected Champagne region, the producers cannot call it champagne, instead it is called a ‘champenoise’.  As the name suggests, crémant has a creamy quality and it is less dry than champagne, probably why I enjoy it so much.  You can expect to pay about half the price (or less) of a bottle of one of the big-name champagnes.

Cider

What?  I hear you saying, but yes, cider is a really good bubbly option, especially if you are on a budget.  Go for quality, not the sickly-sweet mass-produced stuff.  A good quality cider can be an absolute joy and definitely worthy of the celebratory status that New Year requires. There are some great English, French and Northern Spanish varieties to try out.

What to serve with your bubbles

Here are some classic food combinations to serve with your bubbles:

  • Cheeses: brie, camembert, Vacherin Mont d’Or, St. Felicien.  Cheeses with truffle also work really well.  Cider goes well with Camembert Calvados and I also enjoy it cheddar (the real deal of course, Devon farmhouse truckle) and aged Manchego.
  • Fish:  prawns, brown shrimp, scallops, oysters, crab, caviar, lobster, smoked salmon, smoked halibut, clams, razor clams, squid.  To go with the cider, I’d stick to brown shrimp, langoustine, prawns and clams.
  • Fruit: apples, pears, grapes, strawberries, raspberries, melon.  For cider, obviously apples and pears are best.

Normally, I’d keep the snacks really simple, just serve cheeses and/or fish on some simple neutral tasting crackers and put some fruit out for people to help themselves.  Oh, and here’s a wee tip from a canny Scot; if you opt for champagne and you have a large group of guests it can get quite expensive, so I like to do a toast with champagne at midnight and then follow on with a more economical option such as crémant.   

Happy Hogmanay and all the best for the New Year!



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