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Sparkling wine basics for NYE

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The night of drinking bubbly is upon us: make sure you ring in 2014 with a drink that suits your taste! The following is a brief Sparkling wine 101 to help you while purchasing beverages for your New Year's celebration.

Before we begin, remember that "sparkling wine" is a term applied to any wine that is bubbly,and there are many different processes to incorporate bubbles into a wine. (Check out this post on Champagne and Sparkling Wine to learn more about the processes involved.) The following are several wines with designations that are, in my humble opinion, worth getting to know.

Spain's sparkling wine is made in the Penedes region outside of Barcelona. It is made from several different grapes (some with slightly obscure Catalan names, like Xarel-lo and Macabeu). Cava tends to be light and lively, and many Catalans will tell you that it pairs well with anything. I have to agree. (Click here for more info on Cava and why I love it so much!)

Champagne can only be made in the Champagne region of France, but the name has come to be used with any sparkling wine. Champagne can only be made with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, or Pinot Meunier grapes and can be white or rosé, depending on if the wine is left in contact with the red grape skins.

Italy's lesser known sparkling wine is a great conversation starter: guests at any party might not be familiar with this wine! Check out this post on Franciacorta to learn all about this wine and its style.

The most famous of Italy's sparkling wines is made in the north of Italy. It is typically very lively and can be quite dry, which makes it a great complement to many dishes. The best part? It is typically much more affordable than other sparkling wines.

Wherever you are, and whatever you choose to drink (alcoholic or not) this New Year, have a happy and safe holiday! I hope that 2014 brings you much happiness and success.



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