woman toasts with Champagne

SommWine's

Guide

Your Sparkling Wine and Wine Glass Guide for a New Year's Eve Party

You’re hosting a New Year’s Eve party. What bubbles should you buy and which wine glasses should you use?

Here is SommWine’s Sparkling Wine Guide to three of the most popular sparkling styles; Prosecco, Cava, and Champagne. We’ll share what they taste like, what budget you will spend, and a couple of suggestions for awe-inspiring wines within the category to impress your friends!

Scroll down further for our sparkling glassware guide. We’ll tell you why some choose the flute, the vintage flute, a regular white wine glass or the old-fashioned coupe for sparkling wine.

 

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Styles

Prosecco

Flavour Profile: lightly fruity showing honeydew melon and white flowers.

Budget: inexpensive basic Prosecco from small family producers such as Vaporetto’s Prosecco Brut No. 8 or spend a few more dollars to buy wine from the hillside appellation of Valdobiaddene such as Valdo’s Valdobiaddene Superiore Marca Oro Prosecco Brut.

For the wine savvy: These more expensive Proseccos come from the esteemed ‘Grand Cru’ of Conegliano Valdobbiadene in particular, the Cartizze hillside.  These wines show less fruitiness and exude a distinctive volcanic minerality. Try the Nina Franco Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Cartizze DOCG.

Cava

Flavour Profile: lemon peel, overripe apple, biscuit and matchsticks.

Budget: start at the inexpensive basic and delicious Cava from Jaume Serra to more depthy and still reasonably priced Riserva Sigura Viudas.

For the wine savvy: Spend a little more for the Brut Heredad Riserva bottling of Sigura Viudas which is plated with silver. The wine is not my style but the bottle will indeed impress your friends and is aged 36 months on lees. For a much richer and cleaner bubbles with apple, toast, brioche and earthy yumminess try the Torelló Gran Torelló ‘Vinyes de Can Marti’ vineyard. This is one of only 12 wines that made the new ‘Grand Cru’ list in the recently formed ‘Cava de Paraje Calificado’

Champagne

Flavour Profile: tart lemon juice and lemon curd with brioche, light toast and matchsticks

Budget: Premium bottlings only. Lesser known Champagnes from Ployez Jacquemart will save you a few dollars. But the Grand Marques houses of Möet Chandon and Louis Roederer, for example, will cost a little more. The Grand Marques Champagne houses are the generally the most well-known among consumers and will be labelled as ‘Coopérative Manipulant’ on the back.

For the wine savvy: Impress your friends with a lesser-known grower-producer such as Pierre Paillard or Gimmonet et Fils. You can recognize these bottles as they will say RM or Récoltant Manipulant’ on the back label. Otherwise, pick up a ‘Prestige Cuvee’ or top bottling of a Champagne house (Dom Pérignon, Cristal, Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill etc). Ask at your favourite wine shop for their selection

[If you would like more sparkling wine suggestions, you can check out our post here.]

[If you want to understand a French wine label, you should read our series on the History of French Wine Law that starts here.

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Glassware

SommWine's Tip:

Make sure your glasses are rinsed with hot water and free from dishwasher soap residue. The soap residue can prevent bubbles from forming, prevent them from floating to the top and leave you without that wonderful visual.

The flute

Photo of a flute glass for sparkling wine

 

The flute is a narrow glass designed to keep your bubbles active for the longest. This is the most popular choice for serving sparkling wine on New Year’s Eve.

Pros: A flute’s form is tall, lean and simple. It maintains the bubbles in your wine the longest due to its slender shape. This is a recognizable, functional and elegant crystal glass.

Cons: This style is not great for wine aromatics. The glass provides only a small wine surface and therefore little exposure to oxygen for releasing wine aromas.

But, ask yourself this, ‘It’s New Year’s Eve, do I care?’

 

The vintage flute

Photo of a vintage sparkling wine flute

 

Vintage flutes are a crystal glasses that are quite tapered at the top and have a wider bulge in the middle. They are fashioned exclusively for vintage sparkling wine and Champagne.

Vintage sparkling wines are most likely wines made in the ‘traditional method’ and aged on their lees (this is the way that both Cava and Champagne are made). However, they are generally aged much longer in the cellar before release than their Non-Vintage (NV) counterparts. The vintage (year) will be listed on the front label of the wine.

Because they are aged, they show developed aromas and flavours that reflect this time spent on their lees – lemon peel oxidative aromas, créme brûlée, lemon custard, and toast characteristics – and are really meant to be sniffed slowly and reflected on.

Pros: This glass makes you look cool. It’s slim enough to maintain the bubbles in your wine and the slightly wider girth will allow you to smell some of the developed aromatics of an aged wine.

Cons: None

 

The white wine glass

Photo of a white wine glass that tapers at the top

It’s now de riguer to serve sparkling wine in a white wine glass. Make sure the glass slightly tapers at the top.

Pros: A wider glass exposes a larger wine surface to oxygen for optimal aromatics while the tapered top funnels the aromas towards your nose when you take a sip. Wine savvy people will adore you for this.

Cons: The bubbles won’t last as long in this glass so pour only a little at a time. Most people will think you just don’t have any ‘proper’ slim Champagne glasses, so make sure you let them know why you are serving their bubbles this way – to experience the aromas best!

 

The coupe

Photo of an old fashioned coupe glass
 
These are the Champagne glasses my mother has in the China cabinet and are generally associated with the baby-boomer era. Legend has it that the coupe was designed from a mold of Marie Antoinette’s breast!
 
Pros: None. These are now being used for classic cocktails where they belong. Only bring these out on New Year’s Eve if you want to laugh at people spilling their wine (not recommended)
 

Cons: The bubbles won’t last as long. Because you can’t walk or move without spilling the contents, these glasses are only good for sitting at a bar. Despite the wide surface area exposure, they are not great for enjoying the aromatics of the wine. Sparkling wine aromatics are delicate, they will escape your nose with this ultra wide top. Better glasses guide the aromas in a funnel towards your nose.

 

Thanks for reading SommWine’s sparkling wine guide. Happy New Year! If you would like to host a private wine tasting look here. Or if you are interested in our upcoming online wine courses click here.

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