Wine Not?

New Years Bubbly From All Over
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Champagne or not, these bottles will keep the party popping on New Years Eve

New Year’s is nothing much without Champagne. But if you really want to wow your friends on Dec. 31, read our quick guide to sparkling wine: There’s a good chance that what you’re all drinking isn’t Champagne after all, although of course, it’s all good. 

Sparkling wine did start life in the Champagne region in Northern France, which is how lay people come to think of all sparkling wines as Champagne. In fact, only wines produced in the Champagne region and made according to the traditional method can be labeled as that way. Benedictine monk Dom Perignon, also the region’s most notable vintner, perfected the method in the 17th century. Since then, his notions and variations on them have spread, fortunately for all of us.

This New Year, the excellent range of imported kosher wines means that you are spoiled for choice when picking one. Traditional champagnes tend to be the most expensive option. If you’re looking for the real champagne-from-France experience, then try excellent Brut Premier Cru from the Champagne Bonnet-Ponson winery, who have been making champagne for six generations.

For an equally exquisite drinking experience, at half the price, Yarden’s Blanc de Blancs is made using the traditional champagne method entirely from chardonnay grapes grown in the northern Golan Heights in Israel. The cool climate in the Golan makes it the prime Israeli region for growing the grape varieties needed to make high-class champagne style wines. Another great Israeli option is Gilgal Brut, which is made from equal parts of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, and strictly according to the traditional method. Gamla Brut is a fantastic option for the price conscious, giving great value for money. 

If you’d like to venture away from traditional champagne style, then Les Floreaes imports a range of Lambrusco wines directly from northern Italy. They offer both traditional red sparkling Lambrusco, as well as a sparkling Lambrusco Rose. If the idea of ‘pink champagne’ appeals to you, Yarden also offers a sparkling Rose. This elegant sparkling wine has good acidity with nice length of flavor (hints of strawberry and orange if you want to show off your wine tasting skills.)

For many people, the go-to sparkling wine is a Moscato. With a low alcohol content, typically around 6 percent, and readily available anywhere from the local supermarket to quality wine shops, Moscato has become a firm favorite. Bartenura Moscato with its distinctive bright blue bottle is by far the most famous Moscato. There are some other excellent options on the market. Hermon Muscato is an great choice for fans of Israeli wines. With a light sweetness, this well-priced wine is perfect to accompany dessert. Golan Moscato also is made in the style of Moscato d’Asti by using the Muscat Canelli variety grown in the Southern Golan. Exuberantly aromatic, its gentle sparkle and low alcohol content (6 percent) make it perfect for toasting the New Year.

L’Chaim!

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