This time last year we were all making plans for holidays at home and New Year’s Eve parties via Zoom. This year we’re inching our way back to normalcy, which means getting out of our bubble a bit more, or at least making it a wee bigger.
Speaking of bubbles… it’s the one thing everyone can agree on at this time of year. Bubbles we can sip, that is. Think: Champagnes for every budget, sparkling wines from near and far, and even some naturally fizzy wines that can make any evening fun. Here are some interesting sparklers to bring to any party, to sip before hitting New Year’s Eve events around town — especially those not far from 1133 Hope, like parties at the Belasco Theatre or the Ace Hotel — take to a friend’s house to watch the ball drop, or send to loved ones across town just to let them know you’re thinking of them during the holidays. Whatever it is you’re doing to celebrate the season or ring in 2022, we’ve got you covered.
Go Classic: J Lassalle Cachet D’Or Brut Reserve
Sometimes you just want Champagne, but it doesn’t mean you have to drop serious coin to get the good stuff. Silverlake Wine features this bubbly, among many for this year’s celebrations, made from equal parts Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Munier from female winemaker Angeline Templier in Chigny-Les-Roses. Impress your wine geek friends with this: The grapes are hand-harvested and it’s made with native yeast fermentation. The result is pear, fennel, citrus acidity, dry, clean and crisp. Remember: SLW delivers to the 90015! Average price: $42.
Go Yayoi: Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame
It’s not everyday you see a bottle of Champagne you want to keep around just for the label. Celebrated artist Yayoi Kusama’s iconic polka dots grace the 2012 vintage of Veuve Clicquot’s La Grand Dame Champagne, making this something as great to give as to receive. It’s crisp on the palate with great minerality and toasty citrus and berry notes. It’s like a winter celebration in a glass. Find it at K&L Wines in Hollywood, or order via Reserve Bar. Average price: $200.
Go Pink: Mumm Napa Sparkling Rosé
Don’t overlook this Napa sparkler on the grocery and big box store shelves. Just because it’s widely available everywhere doesn’t mean it isn’t good. In fact, it’s very good, and a great price for the quality. VinePair says it’s full of fruit like raspberries and pears, the bubbles are soft, and it’s super refreshing. Great picnic wine for the summer, sure; really great bottle for holiday festivities, too. Average price: $19.
Go California: 2018 Schramsberg Vineyards Blanc de Blancs North Coast
Out of all the sparkling wines The Spruce Eats liked in 2021, the Calistoga winery gets high marks for making consistently good sparkling wine year after year. Made from 100% Chardonnay grapes, it’s a classic bubbly that goes great with everyday meals — everything from oysters and chilled shellfish to Thai curries, says the winery — or blowout celebrations. You can find it at many fine wine shops, even some grocery stores and big-box spots like BevMo! or Total Wine. Or shop indie at places like The Wine House (it’s Westside but curbside pickup makes it easier to deal with). Average price: $35.
Go Italian: Porta del Vento, “Voria” Bianco
Of course there’s Prosecco, Italy’s answer to French Champagne. But don’t stop there when thinking about Italian bubbles. Helen’s Wines on Fairfax, in Brentwood, and the new shop in South L.A. has a really great selection of Italian sparklers (among many others!), like this limited-production Sicilian bottling that’s natural, organic, unfiltered and vegan. Those are a lot of words to describe the fun you’ll have sipping this low-ABV bubbly. Shop online to pickup in person or have delivered. Average price: $24.
Go Spanish: Aranleon Solo Cava
This certified organic sparkling wine is priced for everyday drinking, but it’s beautiful floral and citrus notes, plus balance and complexity, make it taste special. You don’t have to make paella to enjoy this, but wow would that be one hell of a NYE celebration. Find it at The Wine Stop in the Arts District or Silver Lake. Average price: $15.
Go For the Hugs: Jumbo Time Wines “Group Hug”
Like Helen’s, DomaineLA on Melrose specializes in natural, biodynamic, and organic wines. This is one of those sparklers that makes you rethink what a sparkling wine — or is a cider? — can be. Made with Gravenstein apple cider that’s fermented with a splash of Zinfandel, it’s tart with a bit of strawberry, citrusy, and frizzy that can be enjoyed any time of day. The name alone means, yes, you need this for pre-gaming with your besties before a big night out. Average price: $25.
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