Nothing says Happy New Year like popping a bottle of bubbly. Champagne is usually the go-to selection for the special occasion, and for good reason. “Champagne has the magical ability to turn any moment—however humble or extraordinary—into an occasion, even if that occasion is simply enjoying the bottle itself,” says Paula Salinas, a premium wine specialist for Republic National Distributing Company.
For this year’s celebrations, Salinas recommends a new addition to the Texas market: Champagne Palmer & Co. Brut Reserve NV (around $45, at Houston Wine Merchant, Austin Wine Merchant, and Dallas Fine Wine) is a budget-conscious choice that offers notes of juicy nectarine and hazelnut. Want to splurge? She suggests the 2008 Philipponnat Champagne Brut Clos des Goisses (around $175, at Central Market), a rich, heady, memorable experience that will certainly set the tone for the coming year.
Don’t limit yourself to Champagne. These days, quality sparkling wine is made across all parts of the wine-producing world, from France and Italy to England, New Zealand, and even Texas. If you’re looking for something close to Champagne but just a few steps off the beaten path, try Crémant from the French regions of Alsace, the Loire Valley, or Limoux. It’s produced the exact same way as Champagne, only without the higher sticker price. We love the Pinot Noir–based Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé (around $21, at Spec’s) for its luscious red fruit character.
For other excellent budget-savvy choices, try high-quality Italian sparklers such as Bisole Crede Prosecco Superiore (around $22, at Total Wine & More) and Ferghettina Franciacorta Cuvée Brut ($23, at Austin Wine Merchant); tasty Spanish bubbles such as Calixo Rosé Cava (around $13 at Whole Foods Market); or Sonoma-based favorite Iron Horse Wedding Cuvée (around $33, at Total Wine & More).
Want to stay true to Texas as you ring in 2019? Give McPherson Cellars Sparkling Chenin Blanc a try. It’s crisp, with a broad body brimming with notes of stone fruit and fleshy lemon. You can find it for around $20 at Central Market or $18 from the winery’s website—and if you’re in the Lubbock area this holiday, stop by McPherson’s tasting room.