There is no better time to pop a cork or two than New Year’s Eve! I’ve assembled a mixed case of personal favourite bottles of bubble that can be found on local shelves, for any budget you may be adhering to. This is a good time to stock up for the New Year, too, as many of these selections are being discounted at B.C. Liquor Stores through Saturday (December 28).
Jaume Serra Cristalino Cava Brut NV
Spain; $13.99, B.C. Liquor Stores
Any time my wife and I sidle up to the bar at Campagnolo Upstairs, she’ll confidently say: “I’ll have a glass of your cheapest bubbles,” as she knows this perennial pour of theirs is a killer value, fizzy and fun with lemon, lime, and a good bite of Granny Smith apple. A helluva deal on liquor-store shelves, too.
Veuve du Vernay Brut Rosé NV
France; $16.99 [$15.99 through December 28], B.C. Liquor Stores
A charmer that’s pretty in pink, with redcurrants, pink grapefruit, and a couple of cherries in there, too. I love the peppery finish.
Cono Sur Brut Rosé NV
Chile; $18.99 [$15.99 through December 28], B.C. Liquor Stores
This organic Pinot Noir from the cool-climate Bio Bio region in southern Chile exudes perfumed cherries and Italian plums with juicy acidity and vibrant rhubarb notes throughout.
Medici Ermete Concerto Lambrusco Reggiano 2017
Italy; $19.99, B.C. Liquor Stores
Dark red fruit, black pepper, and cloves for days makes this a fun sipper to go along with cheese, charcuterie, and assorted salty snacks.
Gruet Blanc De Noirs NV
U.S.A.; $30.99 [$24.97 through December 28], B.C. Liquor Stores
With 75 percent Pinot Noir, 25 percent Chardonnay, and 100 percent of the fruit from New Mexico, this wine rewards those willing to wander off the beaten path. Fresh-baked sourdough, marmalade, and Tahitian vanilla bean are all woven together well. Creamy, elegant, damn tasty.
Calmel & Joseph Blanquette de Limoux Brut NV
France; $28.99, B.C. Liquor Stores
From the Languedoc region in southern France comes this stunner of a wine, predominantly made from Mauzac. What? Nope, not that cheesy elevator music but a grape indigenous to the region, carrying zippy notes of Granny Smith apple, guava, and quince. Steeped in clay and limestone, the vines produce gorgeous fruit that goes well with the lovely hazelnut and marzipan notes coming from the time spent on lees.
Road 13 Sparkling Chenin Blanc 2015
B.C.; $39.99, B.C. Liquor Stores
From vines planted in 1968 (!) this unicorn of a local wine used to only be available at the winery or the odd restaurant around town. A cult favourite with British Columbian wine enthusiasts, I love the toasty brioche notes, Asian pear, and kiss of buckwheat honey.
Kitsch Blanc De Blancs 2016
B.C.; $39, kitschwines.ca
Winemaker Grant Biggs’s first foray into sparkling wine is a winner. Aged on the lees for two years, this Chardonnay exhibits a fine toasty character, with plenty of fresh lime, lemon, jasmine, and a nice hunk of young pineapple. Available winery-direct but also at local shops like Firefly Fine Wines and Ales for a few bucks more.
Dames Brut 2017
B.C.; $44 to $49, private wine stores
Drink for a cause! This combo of organic Pinot Blanc and Riesling bursts with peaches, apples, and plenty of fresh lime. Proceeds go to the B.C. chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier, which supports food and beverage education through scholarships for women in B.C. Available at Liberty Wine Merchants on Commercial Drive, Viti Wine and Lager, and other private stores.
Benjamin Bridge Méthode Classique Brut 2013
Nova Scotia; $47.99, B.C. Liquor Stores
East Coast represent! This blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir spends four years on the lees, so fans of that fresh-baked-bread/croissanty thing in their sparklings will no doubt adore this wine. Along with orchard and citrus fruit; a really dig the good dose of fresh jasmine in here, too.
Pierre Paillard “Les Parcelles” Bouzy Grand Cru Extra Brut NV
France; $67.99 [$62.99 through December 28], B.C. Liquor Stores
This is one of those value-comes-at-any-price scenarios; holy shit, I love this wine! Ticks all the boxes for what we want in fine Champagne. Toasty? Check. Nutty? Check. Bright fruit? Check. Fine bubbles? Check. Tasty? Hell, yeah!
Krug Grande Cuvée NV
France; $285.99, B.C. Liquor Stores
Yep, the splurge. The scoop they share on their website says it all: “A blend of more than 120 wines from ten or more different years. Its exceptional finesse is the result of a stay of at least another six years in the cellars. Around twenty years are needed to craft each bottle of Krug grande cuvée.” So, yeah, it’s gonna be pricey. Think gardenia flowers, marzipan, nougat, Honeycrisp apples, starfruit, Meyer lemon, mango, pizazz, and celebration.