It’s no wonder that the vast majority of sparkling wine sold in the United States is purchased in the month of December. For most of us bubbles equal celebration; what’s New Year’s Eve without some corks flying around?
But relatively few of those who stock up on sparklers this time of year would consider opening a bottle at the dinner table. So I confess – this collection only masquerades as a holiday bubbles sampler. It’s truly intended to expose why you should be drinking these wines year-round.
Not all that sparkles is Champagne (although of course there is a stellar one included here); there are far more styles of sparkling wine out there than meet the eye. In fact, many winemakers whom I’ve met love bubbles so much that they make their own and never even share them with consumers.
Each wine region has its own spin on things; the traditions surrounding sparkling wine vary the world over. And while bubbles have universal sex appeal, it’s challenging to portray how painstaking they are to actually produce. The “Traditional (or ‘Champagne’) Method” is one of the most tedious winemaking processes around; it’s no wonder that the good stuff doesn’t come easy.
Elaine Chukan Brown’s illustration here sheds more light on this complicated technique than my words possibly could, and after seeing what she’s been up to recently over at Serious Eats – (oysters, anybody?) – I’ve also asked her to develop the food pairings for this month’s selections. The wines in this box are white, rosé, and red – with varying degrees of sweetness – but if there’s one thing they hold in common it’s that they all have a place at your table as well as at a New Year’s party.
Needless to say, this collection contains a number of surprises. But of all the bubbles out there, these are the ones I just couldn’t wait to hear “POP!”
Cheers – and happy holidays – from all of us at Le Metro.
Aaron Epstein, Curator