The end is NYE, my friends.
Tomorrow night, you're going to have to make some tough decisions. It's never easy to choose which warehouse party to attend, which sequined article of clothing to build your outfit around, or if you should just stay home. But no matter where you go or what you wear, one question will always remain: what bottle should I pop?
Your brain probably immediately went to Champagne. Champagne is a timeless tradition that royalty believed to "have positive effects on women's beauty and man's wit." But personally, I think all sparkling wines have that effect, and many of them don't have price tags that sound like they could be rap lyrics. Whereas a dece, entry level Champagne will cost you at least $40, the following wines come in under $25.
Cava Explaining Cava sounds like one of those sketchy men in a high tourist area of Europe claiming to sell you a designer handbag out of an alley, but I swear! It's legit! Cava is a sparkling wine from Spain that is made the exact same way as Champagne (method traditionale), but at a fraction of the cost. Made of indigenous grapes you won't find in any other sparkler, Macabeo, Xarel-lo and Parellada, Cavas are bright with tons of lemon and melon. Although they are comparable to Champagne, Cavas stand on their own with elegant acidity, dryness, and delicate citrus.
Crémant The rough translation of "Crémant" is "chill bubbles from France." Also made in the method traditionale, what sets these wines apart from Champagne aside from their location is that they have less atmospheric pressure. These mild sparklers drink like white wine but still taste like a party. Their flavor profiles vary from AOC to AOC, but all seven of the regulated Crémant AOC's require grapes to be hand harvested. A hand-harvested wine assures that the wine is made with the best grapes possible, rather than a mishmash of unripe grapes, rotten grapes, rats, and a bunch of sugar to hide all the unripe rotting rats up in your wine. Crémant D'Alsace makes up over 50 percent of Crémant, and it is crisp with apples, pears, and baked lemon bars.
Prosecco Prosecco doesn't fuck around. It's not a blend, it's not aged on yeast, and it wants to be drunk now. These Veneto wines are made and bottled quickly using large, pressure fermentation tanks. This method, called Charmat, preserves the grapes freshness and floral aromatics, and creates a youthful wine full of sudsy carbonation. Made of the Glera grape, Prosecco is straight-forward with creamy notes of apple, honeydew, and tropical fruits.
Pétillant Naturel Pétillant Naturel, otherwise known by its pet name Pét-Nat, is the garage band of sparkling wines. Pét-nats are naturally carbonated by capping the bottles before fermentation is fully finished, producing unpolished but poppy releases resembling Best Coast's early seven inches. Although this style of wine comes in varietals ranging from Chardonnay to Gamay, they are all funky and mostly unfiltered. These wines are exciting and buzzy enough for wine lovers, but juicy enough for that friend who swears she only drinks Barefoot Moscato. Also: help her please.
Cider Cider is having a moment right now, and that moment reaches beyond canned ciders from big beer companies. Many small produced ciders drink more like sparkling wines, with subtle and complex flavor profiles that showcase expressive apple varietals and thoughtful aging processes. They are dry and tart and sweet and earthy all at once, and extremely chuggable. It's perfect for people who aren't huge wine fans but still want bottles of something delicious to pop.
Champagne Who are we kidding? Champagne is delicious and sometimes you just want to splurge. It's only the end of this year once, right? Just don't go to a grocery store and hand over your left arm for a bottle of basic shit. If something's worth doing, it's worth doing right. When buying Champagne, go to a wine store and opt for a Grower Champagne. Grower Champagnes are Champagnes that are made and farmed by the same person on the same plot of land, whereas most Champagne is made of grapes from all over the region. Grower Champagnes have more distinct flavor profiles with more expressive terroir, so your money is going to a better quality product made with more craft, consideration, and love than whatever is the top shelf at Big Mac's Liquor.
Whatever Dude, it's a celebration. Drink what you like with people you like. Whether you're ringing in the New Year with Dom Perignon or Cran-Beer-Ritas, all that matters is that you have a good time doing it.