There’s a lot to celebrate this month as we wind down another year. I hope your 2014 was as wonderful as mine; however, if it didn’t turn out exactly the way you may have wished, there’s always looking forward to 2015. But before we do that, there are countless celebrations and numerous other holiday events we’re bound to have on our calendars this month, all of which call for some celebration bubbles.
Below are five wines listed by price. And in support of our local wine-growing regions, all of these sparklings are from either Napa, Sonoma, or Mendocino Counties.
$10: Korbel Brut Rose, $10.99
Before you roll your eyes, this sparkling is one of Korbel’s most award-winning wines, including the prestigious Sweepstakes Award in the 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. (The Sweepstakes Award is awarded to just eight of nearly 6,000 entries and selected from the Double Gold, Gold, Silver, and Bronze subcategories that are reevaluated to determine the Sweepstakes winners). But back to the sparkling: It’s refreshing and off-dry with berry flavors, and its lovely blush color comes from the blend of Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, and Gamay. A portion of Chenin Blanc is added for delicacy.
$20: Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut NV, $22
This signature house blend and consistent gold-medal-winner rating 90 points and above is made mostly of Pinot Noir ( 91.2 percent) with a relatively small amount of Chardonnay (8.8 percent) from the 340-acre estate grapes in Sonoma’s Carneros appellation. This versatile sparkling has floral, pear, and almond notes and citrus and apple flavors with a creamy mouth feel and toasty finish.
$30: Roederer Brut Rosé Multivintage, $28.99
Blending estate-grown 60 percent Chardonnay for “elegance and austerity” to balance the “delicate fruitiness” of the 40 percent Pinot Noir produces this elegant and crisp sparkling with nutty citrus flavors and hints of berry with creamy undertones, which the San Francisco Chronicle says, “continues to impress for the price.” Oak-aged reserve wine is added for depth and complexity, and the Pinot Noir added in the secondary fermentation process produces its pale, coppery-salmon color.
$40: Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs 2011, $38
This flagship wine, first produced in 1965, was the first commercially produced Chardonnay-based brut in the United States (Nixon and Chinese Premiere Zhou Enlai sipped the 1969 vintage in their 1972 “Toast to Peace”). The Chardonnay grapes from Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, and Marin Counties in this blanc de blancs (“white” sparkling from “white” grapes) produce a vibrant, crisp, dry sparkling, with apple, pear, and citrus aromas. Small amounts of both barrel- and malolactic-fermented wines are added for complexity.
$50: Iron Horse Ocean Reserve Blanc de Blanc 2010, $50
Four dollars of every bottle of this limited edition bubbly is donated to National Geographic’s Ocean Initiative, which establishes marine-protected areas and supports worldwide sustainable fishing. This small-case (1,000) production is a blend of two Chardonnay clones on the winery’s estate in Sonoma’s Green Valley appellation, which produces mineral-citrus aromas and flavors and a yeasty finish. In the spirit of ocean conservancy, it is recommended this sparkling be paired with seafood considered by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program as “best choice” alternatives.