Quiz: Which New Year’s Eve Sparkling Wine Are You?


New Year’s Eve sparkling wine is arguably the most important wine selection you will make…for the rest of the year. But seriously folks, your New Year’s Eve sparkling wine toast is a crucial moment of reflection, resignation, and acceptance. It’s a moment when you take stock of all the decisions you’ve made over the last 365 days and salute them no matter how right or wrong they may have been. A New Year’s Eve sparkling wine shared with a spouse, friend, throng of strangers, or even yourself caps this moment and etches its importance in your personal history book. For a moment of such gravity, you’d better have the right sparkling wine. So scan this list, pick the situation that best befits your own, and buy that wine. Most if not all of these personally vetted selections should be available at a retailer near you. And if you need help finding one, let us know in the comments. There’s a sparkling wine for every occasion. As luck would have it, occasions are infinite. Cheers to 2016!
If it’s a REALLY big deal: 

Big deals are subjective. Are you about to propose marriage? Are you commemorating the end of a relationship? Is this the first New Year’s Eve that you will spend in your brand new home? Is it #WineWednesday? It’s no matter, for this sparkler is the crème de la crème. The Taittinger name should ring a bell; they have been producing true-blue Champagne in Reims since 1794. This wine is the reason why the word Champagne is recognized by any and every one in the entire world. What you need to know, and we can say with absolute surety: Yes, the experience of this wine is worth the investment. 
95 pts.
Effortlessly elegant rose petal and strawberry aromas with a light brioche note. Warm and round notes of strawberry, ripe cherry and pink grapefruit blossom on the palate buoyed by small and sensual bubbles and a peak of acidity through the midpalate, sliding down towards the finish with creamy toast and more pleasant fruit notes feathering the palate and ending with mixed berry and light yeast notes. As delicate and elegant as you could imagine, and well worth any special occasion.
94 pts.
Lovely and elegant toasted coconut and almond notes with light perfectly integrated yeastiness and hints of peach and dried apricot. Zesty and floral on entry - this is perfectly elegant and refined while delivering an excellent dose of pure acidity and fresh fruit flavors of peach, pear and green apple. Towards the mid palate a pure minerality permeates the palate adding a steely character that is quite austere and mellows into a toasted yeast that softens towards the creamy finish.
If you are throwing a Lidia Bastianich-style dinner party celebration:
Fact: A meal fashioned with lovingly grown ingredients by an exceptionally positive individual in a loving manner is superior to all others. Never eat food produced by a cook who is in a foul mood. Wine grapes and winemaking operate under the same philosophy. The Candoni DeZan family -- a mother, father, and their two young daughters -- are proof of fact. You will taste it in their wines. This tight-knit family is devoted to caringly crafting elegant wines in the Veneto region. Genuine warmth emanates from these wines. And they are a perfect fit for sleek yet rustic Italian dishes in the Bastianich style.
A hint of almond and yeast on the nose with light honey. Tart lemon and melon notes with puckering acidity and bright flavors with sharp bubbles that melt away towards the midpalate. Comes off clean in the mouth and showing pleasant minerality and finishing with a touch of toasted yeast.
Light apple aromas are very delicate. In the mouth this is clean and light on its feet, with soft and elegant bubbles hiding a touch of cream and white peach flavors. Towards the finish there's a pleasant toast to the yeast note that peeks through fruit notes of apricot, tangerine, and grapefruit.
If you are throwing a Bon Appetit-inspired dinner party:
It’s a great time to visit Santorini. Currency conversion rates are most splendid, while the wines of Santorini have hit their stride after decades of hiding in the consumer wine market shadows. Check out our stash of Santorini wine articles to learn more about it. Fortunately for American wine consumers we are seeing more Santorini selections available in retail stores. An MW candidate once told me that these wines would be a “dead giveaway” on a blind-tasting exam due to their unique structure and salinity.  What’s more, the value is jaw-dropping. 
A touch of white peach on the nose comes with a light sour note that is quite bright, like a fresh high quality fruit vinegar. Medium to large bubbles add a lot of texture to this wine with a tart palate of green apple, lemon and grapefruit. Towards the finish there's some cooked grains quality of rice, with some pear and green apple notes finishing off.
If you’re attending a Julia Child/Jacques Pepin-inspired potluck dinner:
As a team, Julia Child and Jacques Pepin were inseparable -- and insuperable. The latter master chef recently celebrated his eightieth birthday. Pick up a few copies of their collaborative cookbooks and start assigning dishes to your friends. When it comes to wine, stay in character with the underrated values of Crémant from the distinguished Loire Valley; it's one of just seven regions in France to make sparkling wine in the méthode traditionelle (the sanctified method used in Champagne.) Bonus: These sparkling wines are made with underserved varietals. You’ll find blends of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pineau d’Aunis, and Grolleau. Celebrate the States’ French cuisine ambassadors, Julia and Jacques, with a bottle of Crémant de Loire!
100% Cabernet Franc. 20 year old vines. Lovely pink color with brilliant highlights. Fine persistent bead. Freshness and finesse: fine, lively bouquet with fresh red-berry fruit aromas (wild strawberries and cherries). Lively initial impression on the palate and good aromatic intensity. Well-balanced following through a fresh and wonderfully subtle aftertaste.
This extra-dry wine is 80% Orbois and 20% Chardonnay and Certified Organic. It offers smooth bubbles with floral flavors of acacia and green apple. On the palate it is well balanced, long and harmonious through to the end. 
Seducing, orange coral color with very fine bubbles. Fresh, fine red berries, crushed strawberry, dill and tarragon on the nose and palate. Nice structure between fruit and freshness, in a very dry style. 
If you’re hosting a Rachael Ray inspired potluck dinner:
Rachael is free of frills but possesses plenty of pizazz. She has appeal across all ages, demographics, and palates. Not many people can straddle the line between Food Network and network television with such grace. Her ebullience is equivalent to that found in super hip, value-packed Cava. 
Light toasted yeast notes with hints of ripe melon and peach. Tart and acidic on entry, with sharp lemon and grapefruit notes and tart focussed bubbles firing off, but mellowing and melting through the midpalate with light phenolic notes and pronounced minerality and melon.
Leads with a phenolic note backed up by a savory yeast note with hints of dried apricot. Full bubbles fill in immediately with puckering acidity providing harmony and tartness, toasted biscuit flavors and light but tart apricot and green apple fruit. There's a cooked brown rice note on the finish that lingers for a while framed against light melon notes.
Honeyed toasted oatmeal notes with hints of green apple. Tart and fresh green apple and pear flavors, bright acidity and some citrus notes of lemon mellowed by honey and toast. There's even a hint of peach here and tart apple cider notes showing well with lemon pith and melon coming through towards the puckering finish.
If you’re throwing a blow-out party with twenty five or more people:
Play it safe. You are an adventurer, but others may not be the same. Go with the crowd favorites and recognizable names. There is comfort in the familiar. Moreover, a rollicking party setting may not be the time to review the finer details of terroir and minerality. What’s in a name, you ask? Everything! And we are fairly certain that most people will recognize these buzzword wines.
Pear and peach aromas on the nose with notes of lemon curd. Bright and tart in the mouth with melon and lemon notes, soft toasted yeast and some autolytic notes of cereal and biscuit. Bubbles are medium sized and add a nice freshness to the palate. Finishes with a nice apple note.
A hint of sweetness underlying the fruit with honeyed apple. Off dry on the palate, showing a lot of sweet notes, with ripe red delicious apple, peach and apricot flavors, and just a touch of tingling acidity towards the finish.
Pleasant red delicious apple notes on the nose are lightly honeyed. Shows tart on entry with apple and pear notes with honeysuckle and kiwi. White grape notes as well with excellent minerality and a bright palate of apricot and a nice toast towards the finish glazed with almond.
Tart and toasted aromas on the nose with strawberry and melon notes. Cooked strawberry notes with lots of sweetness that tastes similar to a red fruit jelly.
Savory aromas of toasted rye bread and cooked brown rice with cooked apple and a hint of spice. Full flavored throughout, this shows beautiful notes of citrus, lemon and grapefruit, with toasted yeast and creamy cedar notes. The bubbles are medium sized, providing good balance and buoyancy to the palate and finishes with a tart minerality and even a hint of a tropical note.

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