3 bubbly picks for your New Year’s toast

Phil Masturzo
Akron Beacon Journal

Ah, bubbles.

No, not the pesky little guys that scrub your shower walls clean. I’m in love with the ones Dom Perignon was poetically pouring when he said, “Come quickly, I am drinking the stars.”

People tend to associate bubbly with New Year’s Eve, although it’s great to drink all year and pairs well with food. There’s a seemingly infinite number of stars available for us to choose. I found my happy place toasting with these three. (For the record, true Champagne comes only from the Champagne region of France. Everything else is technically sparkling wine.)

Franciacorta Rose Brut “CJW Passione”: A relative newcomer to the bubble scene, having been elevated to DOCG status in 1995 (DOCG is a certification of quality from the Italian government). Franciacorta is like an Italian version of Champagne, since it’s made using the same traditional method that’s used to produce French Champagne. CJW Passione is 100 percent pinot noir.

It’s a spectacular find at $29.99 – an Italian masterpiece. This bottle will pop your socks off. It has exciting aromas of Fuji apple and berry along with exceptional balance. It lends itself to an endless array of food pairings. It was exceptional with chicken cordon bleu bites.

Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Cava: This has been one of the affordable shining stars in my little galaxy of bubbles. Known as the “Spanish champagne,” I dare you to find a brighter star at this price point. At $9.99-$10.99, it says “make me into a mimosa.” I say it’s way too good to waste on one of those.

Wine and Spirits magazine has named this a value brand for three years running. I agree. It went great with sushi, walnut-stuffed dates and pistachios.

Pierre Legras Grand Cru Brut: I finally found a Champagne I really, really like. I guess the 7 hectares of Grand Cru chardonnay grapes that went into this wine had something to do with it. This beauty with true Champagne taste sparked my attention at $49.99.

These tiny bubbles caused quite the commotion with patrons at a recent tasting of 20 sparklers. The quality and price raised more than a few eyebrows. I’ve tasted quite a few French sparklers with very limited satisfaction; I’m not a huge fan of the yeasty, bread dough characteristics that come with them. But this shooting star came my way and made me happy.