Archive | 6:35 pm

Pop The Cork!

28 Dec

I find it interesting that many of the emails I’m getting right now are ads for champagnes. It’s that time of year, when everyone celebrates with a bottle of bubbly. Of course, we also serve champagne at major life events- births, marriages, wakes, and other large celebrations.

So why don’t I feel like opening a bottle of champagne this year?

Perhaps it’s that I’ve learned not to follow into the trap of champagne. Sure, I can enjoy a good champagne. If you’ve read deeply into my blog, you might have seen my first “aha!” moment about wine, with Dom Perignon’s 1982 Vintage.

Sadly, those amazing vintages are few are far between. There are several great champagnes out there, but much of what I find doesn’t move me. Too dry, too lifeless, too simple for my tastes, for anything less than stellar- and stellar champagnes are very pricey, even by my standards.

Pair of champagne flutes making a toast.

If you are in agreement, then it’s time you do what I did, and rediscover prosecco and cava. Prosecco (from Italy) and Cava (from Spain) are the current climbing trends that are making huge gains in market sales while champagne slips another 5% of sales this year. 

I’m not the only one noticing this. Our friends in the UK are as well, as I started to do some research on the topic.

Why prosecco? Why cava? You ask. “WHY NOT?” They answer back. It’s all in the buyer’s control. We’re noticing and making choices with our wallets. Cava and Prosecco are largely inexpensive (many bottles from as low as $7-30) that drink very well, with critics scores from the 80’s to 90’s. Moreover, they aren’t as painfully dry- hence that old Italian practice I see of people dropping a sugar cube into their champagne glass (with or without the Angostora bitters and brandy that make a champagne cocktail).

So, it tastes better, it’s cheaper, it’s not as pretentious, and it’s fun to drink? No wonder people are buying it!

In this day and age, people are finally realizing that there are great options out there in sparkling wine that just as viable as champagne, and we’re taking the plunge. I find these days I am gifting cava and prosecco in the same way I’m gifting rioja and tempranillo wines- to introduce friends and family to today’s great values in wonderful wines.

Now- if you’re going to splurge, then why not- drop the $$ on a serious champagne and enjoy? It’s tough to beat a great vintage from a great house- champagne is hard to make, a painstaking process- hence the price tag. And there are some expensive bottles out there. Looking for some pricey gifts? I found a few: From the ’96 Krug Clos d’Ambonnay ($1,995 at Southeby’s Wine) to the 1970 Dom Perignon Oenotheque ($2,495 at Sherry-Lehman) to the  Roederer Cristal Rose ’04 which garnered a score of 98 points from Wine & Spirits Magazine ($525 at Zachy’s Wine & Liquor). Any of these would make a champagne lover giggle with delight, if you have the disposable income to part with.

Just for fun, here is a link to ten of the top most expensive champagnes on the market.

After you’ve enjoyed that, when you go down to your local wine store, as the clerk to show you the cava or prosecco sparkling wine that offers incredible value, and pick some of that up for New Year’s Eve. You’ll be delighted and amazed at how good it is.

Whatever cork you choose to pop on New Year’s Eve, I hope you enjoy it, and drink responsibly, using a designated driver.

à votre santé!

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