Columns by John

John Brown has been a wine and food columnist in West Virginia since the 1980’s. His regular columns appear in the Charleston (WV) Gazette-Mail under the title Vines & Vittles and in The State Journal - a statewide business weekly

Bubbles for the New Year!

It’s almost 2010 wine lovers! As you get ready to toast the New Year, I have some last minute sparkling suggestions to help you celebrate the end of the first decade of the new millennium in style.

Sparkling wine and Champagne are delicious and appropriate wines to sip as you bring in the New Year and today I’ll share with you some of my favorite bubbly picks. While many sparkling wines are made in the Champagne method, none can be called by that famous moniker unless they are produced from grapes grown in region of Champagne in northern France.
If you recall, the Champagne method (or methode champenoise) is a process where still wines (traditionally pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier) are blended and then put in a bottle to which yeast and a small amount of sugar are added. This causes the wine to go through a secondary fermentation and the result  is a bubbly wine like Champagne.While Champagne is regarded as the gold standard, many other countries produce excellent sparkling wine using this method.
So here are a few of my favorites you might consider sipping New Year’s Eve and any time you get a hankering for a little bubbly:
Champagne under $40:  Perrier Jouet Grand Brut; Moet & Chandon Imperial; Veuve Clicquot Brut; and Michel Arnould Grand Cru Brut.
Sparkling wines under $25: 2005 Domaine Carneros Brut; Vigna Dogarina Prosecco; Roderer Anderson Valley Brut; 2005 Vilarnau Brut Nature (Spain); Parxet Cuvee 21; Domaine Chandon Brut Rose; and Gloria Ferrer Brut.

Happy New Year!!

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