Looking for variety when it comes to sparkling wines to ring in New Year’s Eve? The staff of Wine Enthusiast has you covered. From classic Champagnes produced at historic houses to high-quality value buys from around the world, enjoy this eclectic batch of festive fizz.
Innocent Bystander 2015 Moscato (Swan Hill); $14, 89 points. “Is there any wine more flat-out appealing and delicious than something that’s a) pink b) sweet and c) fizzy? There’s no better way to ring in the New Year than with this crowd-pleaser, which features just enough acidity to keep it lively and refreshing.” —Joe Czerwinski, Managing Editor
Schlumberger Wein- und Sektkellerei 2014 Brut Méthode Traditionelle Grüner Veltliner (Österreichischer Sekt); $20, 90 points. “My taste in bubbly runs to extremes: I like them either bone dry and delicate or yeasty, creamy and spicy. This bottle is the latter. It’s got the heft I need for hours of snacking and drinking and hugging and laughing on New Year’s Eve, but with a fresh finish that adds refinement.” —Layla Schlack, Senior Associate Editor
Corvezzo NV Terre Di Marca Bio (Prosecco Treviso); $14. “Make your New Year’s contribution stand apart from the competition with this frizzante. Hand-harvested and certified organic, this wine is sold with a visible layer of sediment that Corvezzo encourages incorporating into your drink by shaking the bottle before serving. The bottle will stand out on any party’s table, but at $14, won’t stand out on your bank statement. Also, at 10.5% abv, it is light enough to assure when the clock strikes midnight, you’ll still be the life of the party instead of asleep under a table.” —Dylan Garret, Assistant Digital Editor
Paul Bara NV Bouzy Grand Cru Brut Rosé (Champagne); $48. “If you’re looking for examples of the best Pinot Noir-based Champagne, head to the village of Bouzy. Not only is it fun to say, but the wines, particularly the rosés, are just as fun to drink. The lovely hue of the Paul Bara needs no accompaniment besides your significant other or perhaps a small gathering of friends. But if you want to explore the versatility of rosé Champagne, everything from cured meats to seafood to even pizza would be a welcome addition to the festivities.” —Jameson Fink, Senior Digital Editor
Lucien Albrecht NV Brut Sparkling (Crémant d’Alsace); $17, 90 points. “I’ll never forget when my dad and I first discovered Crémant d’Alsace, the remarkably delicious yet surprisingly affordable sparkler. It was Lucien Albrecht’s NV Brut, which we picked up at a small wine shop during a day trip to Narragansett, Rhode Island, to enjoy with fresh oysters by the ocean. It was crisp, bright and so easy drinking—a perfect companion to the beachy vibe. It remains one of my fondest bubbly go-tos, taking me back to that trip and remembrances of my father every time I pop the cork.
“Fun fact: It was also in the first box of submissions I opened when I started at Wine Enthusiast back in 2006, surely a signal that he was watching from above.” —Lauren Buzzeo, Senior Editor and Tasting Director
Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin NV Yellow Label Brut (Champagne); $45, 89 points. “I’m going with the classic, under $50, Veuve Clicquot. It evokes memories of snowed-in, Hudson Valley weekends with my friend re-teaching me (every dang year) to knit, while we sit by the wood-burning stove, sipping this fresh and fruity sparkler.” —Carrie Dykes, Tasting Coordinator
Berlucchi NV ’61 Satèn Brut (Franciacorta); $29, 88 points. “I’ve recently been enjoying Italy’s Franciacorta and South Africa’s Méthode Cap Classique (MCC). Both styles are made using the traditional Champagne method, and, in fact, have some productions standards more strict than in Champagne, so it’s similarly high in quality without hurting the bubbly budget.
“From Franciacorta, Berlucchi’s Satèn Brut, a 100% Chardonnay sparkler, is elegant, full of bright acid and delicate—a great wine to introduce to people who think Italian sparklers are all Prosecco. Meanwhile, my newly discovered MCC favorite is Boschendal NV Le Grand Pavillon Brut Rosé ($24, 87 points), made from mostly red grapes. It’s a little tangy (think cranberry), and bit leesy so you can start toasting with this and take it all the way through dinner.” —Lana Bortolot, Senior Editor
Mas de Daumas Gassac NV Frizant Rosé (Pays d’Hérault), $23. “Difficult to pronounce, easy to imbibe, even your humbuggiest relative will crack a smile when drinking this rosé. It’s mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, delightfully fresh and impressive enough to bring to the party or serve at your own.” —Angela Kahn, Tasting Coordinator
Jansz 2010 Vintage Cuvée (Tasmania); $44, 93 points. “In technique, style and varieties of grapes used, this bottling mimics Champagne, but at a price that ensures you can buy enough for the whole celebratory crowd. It’s appropriately toasty, nutty and rich, balanced by bright citrus notes to remind us that better weather is on the horizon.” —Joe Czerwinski, Managing Editor
Billecart-Salmon NV Brut Sous Bois (Champagne); $80, 95 points. “For me, the phrase ‘go big or go home’ doesn’t have any truer application than when selecting Champagne for a special occasion—though it still must be within ‘reasonable’ means for my one-splurge-a-year budget (sorry Cristal, Dom and Salon Le Mesnil). I’m a big fan of Billecart-Salmon. Its nonvintage Brut Sous Bois is a stunningly complex and sophisticated sparkler for under $100. Layers of flavor unfold with each sip, with bright citrus and tart fruit notes harmoniously coupled with woody spice, lingering long on the close.” —Lauren Buzzeo, Senior Editor and Tasting Director
Laurent-Perrier NV LP Brut (Champagne); $45, 90 points. “I’m going with two classics here: Laurent-Perrier and Bollinger, because they represent different ends of the spectrum. If your year-end bonus is small, get a few bottles of L-P’s Brut, made with Champagne’s classic grapes. It’s Chardonnay driven, so it’s fresh and elegant without being too fussy. If your bonus is more generous, celebrate with with L-P’s Cuvée Rosé ($100, 92 points), a super bright red-berry pop in the mouth that never abandons the underlying dry streak.
“If it’s a beyond-all-expectation holiday bonus, go all out with Bollinger R.D. (Recently Disgorged) 2002 for a creamy, rich, nutty, toasty powerful bottle of deliciousness that says you’ve earned it!” —Lana Bortolot, Senior Editor