Corks+Forks: A Toast to Sparkling Wine

A guide to bubbles that will brighten your spirit on New Year’s Eve.

Drinking sparkling wine on New Year’s Eve is a little played out — but regardless, everyone will do it. Most bars include a toast with cover charge, while retailers hammer home their inventory. Realistically, you won’t be focused on pairing your meal this Saturday night — so I’ll throw my hat into the ring for bubbly recommendations, instead.

Champagne: Voirin Jumel NV Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut Zero ($32)

Fact: Champagne is a province in France, and wine must be produced in this region to take its name. Voirin Jumel plays nice with the law (and our pockets) by making theirs from a Grand Cru (top notch) vineyard with 100 percent Chardonnay. Dry and complex with minerality, cashews and honey, this wine is fresh and friendly.

Back-up plans: Nicolas Feuillatte NV Brut, Gosset NV Brut Excellence

Pink: Louis Bouillot NV Cremant de Bourgogne Rose ($14)

Think of Cremant as Champagne’s little sister: not as elegant or complex, but charming and full of vim and vigor. It also works almost as well in a pinch. This wine is 80 percent Pinot Noir and 20 percent Gamay Noir, with a rich, fruity palate and an off-dry finish.

Back-up plans: Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace, Roederer Estate Rose

Local Bubbly: Ecosse NV Brut ($25)

This Willamette Valley sparkler is a tribute to both classical Champagne production and the winemaker’s homeland, Scotland (“ecosse” is French for “Scotland”).  The wine is 70 percent Chardonnay, blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. It exudes ripe apples and citrus aromas with a classically creamy texture of toastiness, spice and vanilla.

Back-up plans: Argyle, Domaine Ste. Michelle Luxe

Cava: Castillo Perelada NV Brut ($10)

Spain’s answer to sparkling wine is Cava. The wines’ sales have escalated due to its consumer-friendly cost; meanwhile, higher price points have suffered. Cava is made from a number of particularly difficult to pronounce varietals, such as Macabeu, Parellad and Xarel-lo. This bubbler brings vanilla, biscuit and sharp apple fruit to the table with a brisk, dry finish.

Back-up plans: Kila 2009 Brut, Sigura Viudas NV Brut Aria

Prosecco: Nino Franco Rustico NV Brut ($15)

Jubilant, bouncy and lively, this dependable sparkler is equivalent to a less-annoying cheerleader. Produced from the Prosecco grape, aromas of pear, peach and green apple are rounded out with a refreshing, lip-smacking glass end.

Back-up plans: Fantinel NV Extra Dry, Sorelle Bronca NV Brut