Sometimes you need sparkling wine for a crowd. I mean a bunch of your rowdy friends are coming over and you don’t want to look cheap but you have a budget. Here are some Pacific Northwest Sparkling wines that won’t break the bank for your holiday dinner parties or even larger gatherings. Many are distributed across the country so look at your favorite wine shop or specialty grocer.
Check out my bubbly segment on KGW Portland Today and read on for more info.
Also in this article find service tips: Did you forget to chill enough wine? Did you break a lamp last year popping a cork? Do you have to buy a whole set of flutes for this? How do you know if it is sweet?
Pacific Northwest Sparkling Wines Under $20
I know this is not bargain basement prices, but these wines deliver above their price range. Buy a few and let guests bring their favorite bottle or dish to help share the costs.
Silvan Ridge Semi Sparkling Early Muscat – $16
Fruity and pleasure filled and everything you want in a sophisticated take on this approachable wine style – a little bubble, a little sweet, a whole lot enjoyable. Skip the mimosa and go for this.
Treveri Cellars Blanc de Blancs Brut Methode Champenoise – $15
Treveri wines have been served at the White House over the years (probably not this administration) so they are certainly good enough for my house. You can’t beat this quality for the price. I keep one in my fridge and open my wine tastings and most parties with a pop of this bottle. I am told you can get even better prices at places like Trader Joe’s.
Treveri Cellars Rose Sec Methode Champenoise – $18
Another thing we love about Treveri Cellars is all the sparkling options. Usually 8-9 different styles and grapes. And who does not like pink bubbles? This Syrah/Chardonnay blend delivers a lot for the price. Sweeter than the Blanc de Blancs. Great for dinner – think something spicy or a little sweet, or have with light dessert. Read more about our visit to Treveri Cellars
Pacific Northwest Sparkling Wines $30 (ish)
Granted, these might be pricey for a big party, but one or two bottles for a smaller gathering is sure to impress.
2015 Eola Hills Wine Cellars Methode Champenoise Sparkling Chardonnay $30
Gorgeous, elegant, lots of green notes – pear, grass, green apple, lime blossom. Wonderful for lovers of tart bubbles. Eola has a rose too. We have not tasted, but we want too!
Mellen Meyer Willamette Valley Methode Champenoise Brut Chardonnay/Pinot Noir $33
From a small Willamette Valley producer specializing only in sparkling wine try this traditional Chardonnay and Pinot Noir blend for a dry, crisp elegant sparkling at a good price. Smells of green apples with a salty tart palate.
2010 Roots Wine Company- Art Brut Visionary Cuvee-Methode Champenoise Chardonnay and Pinot Noir $35
We love the texture and the little bit of spice. Tastes way more expensive than it is.
Chilling Sparking Wine FAST
Metal bucket if you have one. Fill it about 2/3 full of ice. Wiggle bottle into place. Pour in salted water (1/4 cup salt to gallon of water) and fill all the way up to the neck. Agitate bottle every few minutes. 10-15 minutes and you are good to go. Keeps chilled during your party too.
Popping Corks -The Sound of Celebration
Believe it or not when you learn to be a sommelier you HAVE to learn to open a sparkling bottle silently. To me this sucks all the joy. Nothing predicts immediate fun like the sound of a cork popping. I say make it as loud as you can, but do it safely. Nothing is worse than the sound of screaming right after the once joyful sound of popping. Once you loosen the cage DO NOT take your hand off the cork. Those bubbles hold as much pressure as a car tire. Aim the business end of the bottle away from breakables and friends. Tilt 45 degrees. Twist the bottle not the cork.
Flutes vs Standard Wine Glasses
If you don’t have a set of flutes, no need to run to the store. Pull out your white wine or all purpose glasses and raise a toast. There are lots of wine folks who prefer a standard glass anyway. In fact it is kind of a big debate. The thinking is that flutes accentuate the bubbles, while a standard glass gives the wine more space to aerate, thus allowing the aromas to open. This has lead to some using flutes for sparkling cocktails and for fruitier wines like Prosecco and standard glasses for complex Champagnes.
All I know for sure is you can miss out on a lot of fun bubbles and complex flavors debating more than you are drinking. Instead, I’ll just have a second glass please, regardless of the shape.
Decoding the Label – Is it Sweet or Dry?
Think of Extra Brut and Brut in the dry range – like a Sauvignon Blanc or unoaked Chardonnay
Think of Sec and Demi Sec in the off-dry to sweeter range – like a fruity Riesling.
Think of Doux in the dessert wine range.