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Which bubbly is best? Wichita wine experts offer New Year’s Eve tips

How to open a bottle of champagne

Jamie Stratton, wine director at Jacob Liquor, shows how to properly open a bottle of champagne.
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Jamie Stratton, wine director at Jacob Liquor, shows how to properly open a bottle of champagne.

In less than a week, it’ll be time to raise a glass to 2016.

But what should you pour into that glass?

Not all civilians are prepared to choose a good bubbly or sparkling wine to drink or serve on New Year’s Eve. This list of recommendations from Wichita wine experts will help solve that problem.

NV Kenwood Yulupa Cuvee Brut, $10

“This California bubbly is a super wine for non-snob folks who like taste and value. It’s a blend of Chenin Blanc, French Colombard, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, whole-cluster-pressed and fermented in stainless steel. The Cuvee, or blend, is then put in the bottle along with a small amount of sugar and special champagne yeast. Secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle (Methode Champenoise) just like in the Champagne region of France. The finished product features aromas and flavors of bright citrus and crisp green apple loaded with fine bubbles to tickle the tongue. Note: This is designed for on-premise or restaurant wine lists, but you can still find it locally or have your wine merchant order you some.” – Guy Bower, “The Good Life” radio show

Huber “Hugo” Sparkling Rose, $13.99

“This is a blend of Pinot Noir and native Austrian Zweigelt grape. It has a light pink color with strawberry and caramel hints. It finishes with light spice and cranberry juiciness. Great way to ring in the new year – a light, crunchy and juicy wine that goes great with brunch foods as well.” – Bobby Lane, chef-owner at Chester’s Chophouse & Wine Bar

NV Domaine St. Michelle Brut, $14.99

“My sparkler is from Washington and has nice flavor and good bubbles in an affordable package. It’s a good choice for those who can’t afford the top of the line and will let others mix it with orange juice. It was also the winner of the Wine Trials over Dom Perignon. It has good flavors of yeast and citrus with a nice spritz of acidity.” – Michael Lemanski, “Dr. Wineaux” wine and food blogger

Cleto Chiarli e Figli “Vecchia Modena” Lambrusco Secco, $15.99

“This isn’t your parents’ Lambrusco – pink, off-dry, a wonderful mousse of tiny bubbles with loads of bright berry flavor. Great to pair with something spicy like jerk chicken.” – Matthew Coleman, CSW, director of wine at Auburn Spirits

 

Jamie Stratton, wine director at Jacob Liquor, shows how to properly open a bottle of champagne.

 

Gruet Blanc de Noirs, $18.99

“This is a wonderful choice for all types of celebrations. The founder of Gruet Winery, Gilbert Gruet, is from Bethon, France, where his Champagne house Gruet et Fils began producing Champagne in 1952. His children relocated to the United States in 1984 to continue the family tradition in New Mexico. Gruet Blance de Noirs is 75 percent Pinot Noir and 25 percent Chardonnay.” – Ruthanne Timm-Siedhoff, owner of Beyond Napa at Rock Island Studios

NV Scarpetta Vino Spumante Brut Rose, $19.99

“This blend of 60 percent Franconia and 40 percent Pinot Noir is a fantastic alternative to the French version. The light red trout hue sets this off in the glass, and aromas and flavors of light strawberry and faint sweet raspberry are perfect in the dry rose.” – Jamie Stratton, Jacob Liquor Exchange, CSW, CWE

Von Buhl Riesling Brut, $20.99

“A light, refreshing way to kick off your holiday event. The nose is citrus with mild fruit and white flower. The taste is tart with just a touch of sweetness. Pairs well with scallops or as an aperitif.” – John Paladino, West Wichita Wine Connection

Gloria Ferrer Brut Royal Cuvee, $26.99

“This California blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay never disappoints. Furthermore, it has two of my favorite attributes: It’s locally available and affordable.” – Greg Rowe, Wichita Chapter of the American Institute of Wine & Food

Champagne Petit & Bajan Ambroise, $53.99

“Produced by a relatively young Champagne house run by a husband-and-wife team, this is a crowd-pleasing Champagne – 70 percent Pinot Noir, 30 percent Chardonnay – at a great price. Very lively with strong aromas of peach and apricot up front with more floral and fruit notes on the back. A delicious Champagne that may be enjoyed on its own or with food.” – Mike Chaloud, Standard Beverage

Taittinger Brut “La Francaise” Champagne, $54.99

“To start the new year with this great Champagne is a must. New Year’s Eve is a time to celebrate new beginnings, and what better way than real Champagne from a family-owned house? A blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier creates an elegant and crisp Champagne. The four years, yes four years, of aging on the lees adds a bit of richness and complexity. Treat yourself to something truly special.” – Drew Hendricks, master sommelier, vice president for wine divisions, Standard Beverage

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