T he sounds of the holiday season are not just Christmas carols and Salvation Army bells ringing. My favorite sound is the “pop” you hear when you open a bottle of sparkling wine.
Even if you don’t drink sparkling wine all year long (and you really should), chances are you will be drinking bubbly sometime between now and January 1. We all like to celebrate, and there is no better way to celebrate than with a bottle of bubbly.
Nationally, about 40 percent of all sparkling wine is sold in October, November and December, with the bulk of that coming in the last month of the year.
Think about all the sports teams who celebrate winning championships by popping open the Champagne. Of course, they waste it all by spraying it on each other. It would be much better if they just toasted each other and drank it.
I’ve compiled a list of wines that will be perfect for whatever holiday you celebrate during the next six weeks. I’ll be back in a few weeks with more recommendations because right now there is a dizzying array of sparkling wines from which to choose.
You can have Champagne from the Champagne region of France, Cava from Spain, prosecco or Asti from Italy, Sekt from Germany, Cap Classique from South Africa, crements or mousseux from French regions outside Champagne, and other sparkling wines from around the world. You might be tempted to spend $100 or more for a special occasion, or you can get excellent bubbles for as little as $6-7.
I have my favorites, but I always try to find something I haven’t had before because you never know when you will find a new favorite. Most sparkling wines are white or pink, but there are some fantastic red sparklers. The wine can be sweet or dry, and mostly lighter bodied than powerful reds.
Always chill sparkling wines well. Flutes have been popular for serving, but new thinking now says to serve sparkling wines in medium-wide white wine glasses. This allows you to better enjoy the aroma, though the bubbles disappear a little faster.
One of the hottest categories around the world this year is sparkling rosé. That’s not surprising because rosé in general is surging in popularity.
Here are some of my favorite sparkling wines, including the ones that would be a good pairing with your Thanksgiving meal.
Champagne Palmer ($60), complex aromas of citrus, pear and apricot lead to tantalizing citrus and apricot flavors that linger. A buttery brioche flavor, 
Ferrari Brut with chill box ($27), keeps wine cool for up to four hours. All chardonnay grapes from the Trentino mountains in Italy. Golden apple and yeasty notes.
Ferrari Brut Rosé ($36), 60 percent pinot noir, 40 percent chardonnay. The taste is dry, clean and elegant, but with the freshness of wild strawberries and sweetness of almonds. 
Adami Prosecco, four versions, all of which are delicious and bargains. NV “Garbel” Prosecco DOC Treviso Brut ($16), tart with a crisp, fruity finish.
NV “Bosco di Gica” Valdobbiadene DOCG Prosecco Superiore Brut ($20), creamy mousse, balanced and elegant. Great with fish and seafood.
NV “Dei Casel” Valdobbiadene DOCG Prosecco Superiore Extra Dry ($20), smooth, crisp and fruity, perfect for an aperitif.
2018 “Vigneto Giardino” Valdobbiadene DOCG Rive di Colbertaldo Asciutto  ($22), fruit forward with a velvety mouthfeel, good food wine, perfect with a fruit salad or dessert.
Frank Family Rouge ($55), a sparkling pinot noir with great ruby color and robust flavors, aromas of vanilla and black cherry.
Frank Family Blanc de Blancs ($55), soft, creamy texture with intense flavors.
Biltmore Estate Sparkling Blanc de Noir, North Carolina ($25), one of my long-time favorites.
Biltmore Pas de Deux Moscato ($20), a sweeter taste, strawberry and lemon.
Cleto Chiarli Premium Vecchia Modena Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC, Italy (SRP $15), a feasrive fizzy red, ripe fruit with a dry finish.
Nino Franco Prosecco Rustico Valdobbiadene Superiore DOCG ($19), selected as the top wine for Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Wines for 2019.
Willamette Valley 2016 Méthode Champenoise Brut Rosé of Pinot Noir
, with discounts to wine club members), bouquet of mandarin orange, lemon, brioche and bergamot. Attractive green apple, apricot and mineral notes on the palate. Great food wine.
The Ferrari was a great match for rotisserie chicken, mashed potatoes and creamed corn.
Here is a quick primer about sparkling wines and why you should care about them.
The bubbles come from carbon dioxide, which can come from natural fermentation either in a bottle or in a large tank. Some cheaper sparkling wines inject the carbon dioxide directly.
With Champagne and other sparklers made by the traditional method, the bubbles come from a second fermentation in the bottle. This is the result of residual sugar left after the initial fermentation and sometimes extra sugar added at the time of bottling. Yeast eats the sugar and produce carbon dioxide.
The Charmat method uses pressurized stainless steel tanks to inject the carbon dioxide into the wine, much the way soda becomes carbonated. These bubbles are larger and generally don’t last as long as bubbles made from the traditional method.
Although sparkling wines usually have a lower alcohol content, it is thought the bubbles help alcohol reach our bloodstreams faster so you might get drunk faster.
You can determine the sweetness of a sparkling wine by what’s on the label. Wines produced within the European Union must include this level, and wines produced elsewhere usually follow this practice.
What gets confusing is the word “brut,” the word for dry. The driest wine is brut natural or brut zero. Slightly sweeter is extra brut and sweeter still is brut. Brut is still considered a dry wine because there are further levels of sweetness: extra-sec, sec, demi-sec, and doux.
If you have questions about wine you can email Dennis Sodomka at dennis@bottlereport.com

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