Although I personally believe that every day is a good day to drink sparkling wine, most people tend to drink more sparklers at this time of year. Oh, if we could all look as glamorous as Marilyn sipping from our coupes. Secretly, that's what I hope every time I pop that cork.
The sound of a popping cork from a bottle of sparkling wine or champagne is such a happy sound. It signals, "This is a special moment!" And I believe that life should be a series of special moments--some of which we create ourselves, if for no reason other than the fact that it's Tuesday.
Below are three of my favorite sparklers (paired with recipe links) in case you're without an idea when you're standing in the champagne aisle at the liquor store this holiday season.
Tastes great and can't beat the price:
Hands down, this is the sparkler I offer for parties and as an opener for other events. Jaume Serra Cristalino is a Spanish cava that sells for well under $10 and is light, clean, dry and citrusy. Technically, I serve it with almost anything you can dip, dunk, spread on a cracker or pick up with your fingers. But I really like it with gougeres, those lovely, hot cheese puffs that smell tantalizingly, insanely good. Try David Lebovitz's recipe here.
Elegant and tastes like a million bucks:
This classy sparkler (expect to pay between $20 and $25) is mostly made from the pinot blanc grape with a little pinot noir for substance and body. Pierre Sparr Cremant d'Alsace is carefully made in the same way real champagne is made: method traditionelle. This delightful bubbly is minerally, light and crisp with citrus and herbs. It has fine bubbles and a creamy mouthfeel. It is lovely with radishes, butter, dark bread and fleur de sel. It also pairs finely with creamy, rich cheeses and this delish nibble made with aged gouda, prosciutto and honey.
I love a dessert wine, and a sparkling dessert wine doubles my pleasure. Reymos Valencia Espumoso de Moscatel Selección (about $12) is a simple, gorgeous wine that is slightly sweet and redolent of apples and figs. It is rich and has just enough acid to balance rich cheeses such as Stilton, triple crèmes and Camembert. If you want to serve it with a knockout dessert, try this tiramisu recipe from Giada de Laurentiis.
There are many, many more sparklers I could tell you about, but space here is limited. I've got an idea--give me a shout and we'll crack open a bottle and talk more about it...