The holidays are upon us but they feel pretty different this year. With COVID-19, we’ve scaled down or canceled our seasonal traditions. We are all suffering from pandemic fatigue, and it may seem that there are few reasons to celebrate.
All of this being said, let’s push beyond the hum-drum feelings and inject a little light and sparkle. It’s easy to do. Just open a bottle of bubbles!
Sparkling wine (also referred to here as bubbles, fizz and Champagne if speaking about the world-famous wine from a specific region in France) has long been held as the ultimate celebratory beverage. Historically, the choice of kings, Champagne and other bubbles have marked momentous occasions, treaty signings, ringing in the new year and important gatherings for hundreds of years.
Many of us tuck away that special bottle of fizz for a notable event, never considering it for a mid-week casual sip. The truth, however, is that this effervescent elixir can inspire joy any time and can elevate any day to a holiday worthy of celebration! Feeling blue on a Tuesday because you’re stuck in quarantine again? No problem! Break out the potato chips, buttered popcorn and fried chicken and pop the cork for a magical marriage of food and wine—and an immediate mood elevator!
Bubbles and Holiday Fare
Sparkling wines are incredibly versatile and pair beautifully with a wide range of flavors and with any meal. Breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or dessert can all be enhanced with the addition of something bubbly. As we enter the season of overindulging, where rich and heavy foods reign supreme, a light and sparkly beverage is the perfect antidote. Bright acidity and delicate flavors offer a refreshing lift. (I can almost feel my traditional turkey day nap coming on.)
Below you’ll find a list of some of our favorite sparklers from wineries in the Sacramento region. All wines shown are sourced locally and made in the traditional method where the secondary fermentation, which produces the bubbles, takes place in the bottle. Cheers!
Skinner 2018 El Dorado Blanc de Blancs – $32
Made from 60% marsanne and 40% roussanne grapes that were sourced from three vineyards in El Dorado County: Starfield, Sumu Kaw and Green Valley Ranch. The base wine was aged in neutral French oak barrels for 8 months, sur lees. The resulting wine is dry (extra brut), silky, elegant and creamy with tiny bubbles. This is an outstanding first effort from Skinner Vineyards, named as one of Wine & Spirits Top 100 Wineries of 2017.
E16 2019 Baby Rattlesnake Vineyard Fair Play AVA Sparkling Rose – $35
Made from 60% grenache noir and 40% grenache blanc. Pink in color, this fresh, dry, medium-bodied sparkler offers up aromas of strawberries and a faint note of herbs followed by refreshing flavors of crisp cranberry and bing cherry.
Peltier 2018 Lodi “The Gala” Sparkling Wine – $45
Made from 50% chardonnay and 50% pinot noir (both are traditional Champagne varieties) from Peltier’s estate vineyards. A pale salmon color, it’s got notes of stone fruits, apple and hints of nuttiness. Medium-bodied, this delicately styled wine offers a richness in the mid-palate and a lingering finish.
Lone Buffalo 2017 Dreamcatcher Sparkling Rose – $38
Made from chardonnay and pinot noir from the Clements Hills AVA, which is a cooler pocket in the larger Lodi region. Pink in hue, this vibrant bubbly bursts forward with red fruit character. Raspberry and strawberry dominate this brut (dry) style wine.
Gwinllan 2017 El Dorado Blanc de Noirs – $40
Made from two clones of pinot noir. This small, hidden winery in Fair Play makes sparkling wines in-house and sources from their own estate vineyards. Earning double gold at the San Francisco Chronicle’s 2020 Wine Competition, this bottle of bubbles is brut in style and offers up lovely richness and roundness, backed by bright acidity.
Starfield 2018 Estate El Dorado Blanc de Blancs – $35
Made from 54% viognier and 46% marsanne from the Starfield Estate Vineyard that sits at an elevation of 2300 feet. This brut-style wine offers a lush mid-palate, showcasing pear, almond and sweet toasty notes lifted by an elegant stream of bubbles.
Wise Villa Winery 2017 Blanc de Blancs – $39.97
A unique blend of 85% chardonnay (Clarksburg AVA) and 15% torrontes (Alta Mesa AVA in Lodi), this medium-bodied wine offers a nose of baked pear and citrus, followed by appetizing flavors of apple tart and lemon cream.