Cross borders – France and Italy boast champagne and Prosecco, but other countries also effervesce. “Germany and Austria are producing some beautiful sparkling wines,” says Springrose, who also recommends Chandon Reserve Brut as a Californian that borrows Champagne varietals and techniques.
Try sample sizes – “Good-quality half- and single-serving bottles are increasingly available in our market, especially for a bottle of sparkling wine,” Springrose says. “Bring a few home and experiment.”
Think pink – Springrose loves a good rosé for celebrating, such as a Jean Bouillot Crémant de Bourgogne Rose. “It’s made from pinot noir and gamay; the fruit and bright acidity with a touch of that Burgundian earthiness make for a splendid balanced wine.”
Pair to please – Springrose says he’s taken local inspiration for pairings, picking a Wisconsin goat Brie to go along with a bright Champagne. “If you’re pairing something with sweet dessert, you just need a touch of sweet in your wine, too.” He also recommends extra dry or demi-sec to couple with a nut or fruit tart.
Serve in style – Champagne flutes aren’t always best. “I recommend a normal tulip-shaped wine glass, or for vintage and true Champagnes, a large balloon glass in which one might serve pinot noir. These glasses help to capture the delicate aromas of the wine.”
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Consider the cocktail – Sparkling wine plays the “supporting role” in any cocktail appearance, so a nice neutral Cava is just right. Substitute fresh cranberry juice for the lemon juice in the French 75 (gin, lemon, sugar syrup, sparkling wine) and you’re left with a refreshing, holiday-inspired Cranberry 75.