Happy New Year, wine friends! I hope your 2021 is filled with lots of great wine. Today is a special day for Your Glass or Mine. Six years ago on this very day (January 5, 2015) I shared my first blog post on this platform. It’s crazy to look back and see how much I’ve grown as a writer and how much YGOM has evolved. In celebration of a new year and YGOM’s anniversary, I’ve selected three sparkling wines to share with you this month.
Note, that I’m saying “sparkling wine” instead of “champagne.” I hear a lot of people still calling anything with bubbles “champagne,” which is not always the case. The easiest way to distinguish between the two (without getting too technical) is champagne is ONLY made in the Champagne region of France. Anything made outside of that area IS NOT champagne. For example, sparkling wine made in Italy is known as Prosecco or in Spain it’s called Cava. There are a couple other names for it in other regions, but for the most part you can just say sparkling wine. Champagne is also expensive. If you’re paying $9.99 for a bottle of bubbles, I can guarantee you that you’re not drinking Champagne. You’re going to pay $50 plus for a good bottle of Champagne….just saying.
Anyways, I picked up these sparkling wines at Ralph’s right before the new year while I was in California. The good thing about these wines is that you can find them at just about any grocery store…even Target (with the exception of the Almond Sparkling Wine) and they’re all under $25. I really wanted to share some good quality, affordable sparkling wines that are a step up from your Korbel and Cooks. These are some of my favorite go-to producers. Check them out below.
Wilson Creek Almond Sparkling Wine
Wilson Creek is one of the first wineries that I think I ever visited. It’s located down in Temecula, California. My friend’s in-laws were members, so we used to go all the time. Wilson Creek is known for this Almond Sparkling Wine. It’s a staple at the winery and also referred to as their “Oh My Gosh” sparkling wine. I had never heard of anything like it prior to trying it. I absolutely love it! It’s very unique and honestly hard to describe. It’s not ultra sweet, but you do get a hint of sweetness from the almond flavor. It almost reminds me of a vanilla abstract taste. If you’re looking for a sparkling wine with a little more “umph” and that’s not as brut (dry), then I think you’ll enjoy this. And the cool part, is that you don’t have to go to the winery to buy it. It’s now sold in select grocery and wine stores. Oh, and if you’re looking for a knock-off, Trader Joe’s has its own version for under $10 I believe.
Chandon Blanc de Pinot Noir
I really enjoy Chandon sparkling wines. I’ve visited their tasting room in Napa a couple times and it’s always been a fun experience. I love that you can easily pick-up this brand at Target for like $18. I normally drink their sparkling rosé, but decided to switch it up and try their Blanc de Pinot Noir. If you’re not familiar with this term, “Blanc de Pinot Noir” means white wine from a Pinot Noir grape. You may also see “Blanc de Noir” on bottles and that means white wine from black grapes. This bottle definitely surprised me in a good way. It was very crisp with prominent cherry notes. It is dry, but you get a lot of that fruit flavor, which gives this sparkling wine a lot of character. I actually think that the Blanc de Pinot Noir is going to be a new favorite!
Mumm Napa Blanc de Blancs
One of my closest friends LOVES Mumm Napa! I didn’t realize it until about a year ago when she politely (I say that with sarcasm) shot done the Chandon (my favorite sparkling producer) I had brought for Mumm’s Cuvée M. That’s all she drinks, so from time to time, I’ll pick up a bottle to see what all the hype is about. When I was looking for sparkling wine to bring in the new year, I was just about to pick up the Cuvée when I saw the Blanc de Blancs. Something different, so you know I had to try it. Blanc de Blancs literally means “white of whites.” It’s made of mostly Chardonnay grapes with some Pinot Gris. I thought it was pretty solid…nice and crisp. I didn’t mind its brutness. It could definitely stand on its own. I didn’t feel the urge to turn it into a mimosa, which was good..lol. Definitely worth giving it a try!
I hope you enjoyed this month’s wine recommendation and at least one of these sparkling wines peaked your interest. What’s your favorite wine under $25? Share your recommendations below. Until next time…glasses up!