NEW YEAR’S EVE SPARKLE AT ANY PRICE

sparklers
Big taste in sparkling wines comes in different sizes–and at appealing prices.

By Wini Moranville

After tasting through hundreds of sparkling wines over the past decade and a half as a food and wine writer, I’ve landed on my go-to, easy-to-find favorites in the moderately priced vein. Yes, we can spend a lot more, and yes, I could send you on a wild-goose chase for my favorite hard-to-find French crémant d’Alsace, but the great thing about sparkling wines these days is that you don’t have to spend much or look too far afield for a bottle that’s filled with finesse. Prices shown are from Ingersoll Wine and Spirits (3500 Ingersoll Ave.; 515-255-3191), but my picks are widely available at many well-stocked stores.

* J Cuvée 20 (Russian River Valley; $29.99): The delicate froth. The bright citrus notes. And those orchard fruits mingling with that telltale brioche-toast backdrop. Yes, the hallmarks of a nuanced sparkling wine are all here at a price that belies its elegance.

* Chandon Blanc de Noir (California; $20.99): Its lively sparkle will kick off the evening in style, but keep pouring it through dinner. The red-fruit flavors and rich creamy qualities will play nice with just about anything you bring to the table. Pink bubblies with steak? I’ve done it many a time and enjoyed it thoroughly.

* La Marca Prosecco (Italy; $14.99): Looking for a little more fruity approachability in your sparkling wine? This one brings bright citrus and orchard-fruit flavors, but with a clean, crisp finish. Find handy split-size bottles ($5.99) at World Market (4100 University Ave., West Des Moines; 515-267-9666). They’re perfect if you need just a little sparkle at the stroke of midnight.

Wini Moranville is a freelance writer who covers the food and dining scene for dsm. Follow her at All Things Food – DSM Wini Moranville.

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