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ADVERTISING: Advertorial — The biggest 'bubbles' day of the year

by GEORGE BALLING
| December 30, 2020 1:00 AM

While many of us enjoy Champagne and other sparkling wines throughout the year, New Year’s Day is the time when even those of us who aren’t crazy about the bubbly will indulge a bit, just for its celebratory nature. This is never more true than this year when we get to leave 2020 behind and welcome in 2021. It’s got to be better, right? We hear many friends and customers say they don’t like sparkling wine or they get a headache from the sugar. Truth be told though; most times it may be the caliber of the wine you are consuming that causes some of these issues.

Most Champagne and sparkling wine is fermented dry; there is no sugar left in the wine. The designation on the bottle will help you determine that. Brut and Extra Brut wines are fermented dry. Demi-Sec and those further up the sweetness scale have some residual sugar in them, so if sugar is your perceived issue you should avoid those. We also find that bubble size has much to do with the quality of the wine. A small tight bubble is not only more pleasing, it seems to treat most of us better. As a friend of ours says, “Small bubbles — no troubles.” So here is a rundown of some of our favorites for you to enjoy this coming Thursday evening.

One of the very newest to the shop is the Calvet Crémant de Bourgogne. Only wines from the Champagne region in France can be called Champagne. For the rest of France, including Burgundy, if a wine is designated as Crémant it means it is made in the same way Champagne is produced with secondary fermentation in the bottle. The Calvet ($25, Wine Club Price $22.50) is a brut rosѐ so it is fermented bone dry. The light pink color comes from skin contact with the Pinot Noir grapes used in the blend. The wine shows berry flavors and tiny bubbles, delicious and perfect for your New Year’s toast.

We recently lost access to one of our best sellers, a Cava from Spain. Cava is made like Champagne as well, and it certainly left a void when the importer dropped our previous favorite. We just recently found the replacement in the Vina Palenciaga ($16, Wine Club Price $14.40). This Spanish sparkling shows light aromas of biscuit along with citrus notes; it is fermented dry and has the fine, tight bubbles we crave. We are featuring the wine this week in our weekly wine special, the Friday Night Flights, although the flights take off Thursday this week to accommodate all the New Year’s celebrations so we will have plenty around.

If you are hosting an intimate gathering for Thursday evening, you absolutely can’t go wrong with the Billecart Salmon Brut Rosѐ ($150, Wine Club Price $135). It is our absolute favorite for a special occasion, with the tightest of bubbles and a clean sleek palette that is absolutely lovely. Flavors of berry, citrus and light biscuit notes are delicious through and through, and you will know pretty quickly what all the excitement is about with true Champagne!

If you do like your wine with a touch of sweetness to it the Laurent Perrier Demi-Sec Champagne ($60, Wine Club Price $54) may be the wine for you. Like with our other favorites, the bubbles are small and fine and the wine shows just the slightest sweetness balanced by perfect acid to keep the wine light and fresh. The Laurent Perrier also comes in half-bottles for $30, (Wine Club Price $27) for those who may just want a smaller taste to ring in the New Year.

Finally, we are down to our last six-pack of the yearlong favorite, Casina Bric Brut Rosѐ Spumante, of Nebbiolo, from Northern Italy ($38, Wine Club Price $34.20). This wine is just fabulous and offers all we want in sparkling, with that perfect bubble size and lovely fruit across the palate. The wine is the palest of pinks, enhancing the clean and crisp presentation.

If you have yet to try good bubbly stop by the shop and give one of these a shot. When you first discover really great sparkling wine it will forever alter your perception of the not so good ones. You may just find a new way to celebrate all of life’s events including ringing in 2021.

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George Balling is co-owner with his wife, Mary Lancaster, of the dinner party, a wine and gift shop in Coeur d’Alene by Costco. The dinner party has won the award for best wine shop in North Idaho twice, including for 2018. George is also published in several other publications around the country. After working in wineries in California and judging many wine competitions, he moved to Coeur d’Alene with Mary more than 10 years ago to open the shop. You can also follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/#!/dinnerpartyshop.