Houston Bubbles: Your New Year's Eve Champagne and Sparkling Wine Buying Guide
Loredan Gasparini Asolo Prosecco
Photo by Jeremy Parzen Valdobbiadene -- VAHL-doh-BEE-ah-deh-neh -- is the most famous Prosecco village. But more and more Proseccos are finding their way to the U.S. from Asolo -- AH-zoh-loh -- a village that lies just west of its more famous counterpart.
Thanks to its low alcohol and all-around approachability, Prosecco is my New Year's Day go-to. I always avoid "banana candy" Prosecco and reach for the fresher and more savory style, like this one. A surefire winner at around $15.
Taittinger Brut La Française
At just over $40, Taittinger is the No. 1 value Champagne on my list, and it's also one of the most food-friendly. Made mostly from Chardonnay (unusual for entry-tier Champagne cuvées), this wine has all the acidity and minerality that I want in Champagne, and even on the lower end of the price spectrum it delivers the quality of wines that cost $10 and $20 more.
Billecart-Salmon Brut Réserve
Photo by Jeremy Parzen Billecart-Salmon Brut Réserve, my No. 1 pick, stands apart for its intense minerality.
One of my favorite wine blogs is called Rockss [sic] and Fruit. Its title alone captures one of the things that can make wine great: fruit flavors balanced by minerality. Billecart-Salmon is one of the great names of Champagne and its wines are defined by their intense minerality and delicate but focused fruit flavors. When all the Spec's discounts are applied, this bottle will cost you roughly $46 (see the image at the top of this post), making it my top recommendation for both extreme value and superb quality.