Asked to Bring the Wine? Your Bubbly First Step To Buying Sparkling Wine
Been told to “pony up” and provide the adult beverages (the grape kind) for a holiday party? Also, been warned not to mess up? This can be daunting, especially if you believe that you can just walk into a bottle shop and receive much-needed advice on buying sparkling wine.
Most of the time, you will start out by hearing nearly as many opinions as there are bottles of wine. Then, you may end up with you setting half of your purchases aside when the final tally comes up on the cash register. While still not sure what you ended up with.
Of course, if you’re really lucky, you will come in on a day when they’re having a wine tasting, only to get bewildered by the seemingly endless variety of flavors. The trip to the cash register may be more fun this time, but can you really be sure how it will go when your friends try it?
As with anything else, a little up-front planning and thought can make this assignment go a lot smoothly. First, know that the main reason wine is so diverse is that it is designed to follow the food served at an event. And because you can count on things starting out on the lighter side (appetizers), the lighter your first wine choice should be.
So, as it is often said, “Let’s start with the Champagne”. Champagne, generically known as sparkling wine, is the best way to begin. It also one of the easiest choices to get a gathering kicked off. Pick a sparkler, then add it to your list for the store, and the remaining wine picks will be easier.
As to deciding on a reasonably priced sparkling wine, take a look at Mumm’s “Napa Brut Rose” or “Napa Brut Prestige” (both about $15 at the large outlets). The Brut Rose is a little fruitier (strawberries & vanilla) but the pink color is more festive. The Brut Prestige is drier and straw colored (more formal toasty-citrus), but also may marry with the flavors in the appetizers a little better.
Keep in mind that a nicely done sparkling wine will be priced at about the same level and up. From there, move on to white and red wines but stay focused on what food will be served so you can stay on track while asking questions at the bottle shops.