There's a lot of advice that gets tossed around during the holiday season when it comes to wine, but this year I'm thinking a lot about sparkling wines. They're fun, they're tasty, and the format encourages the group to finish off the bottle. Plus, they match with just about everything.
Consider bringing two or three chilled bottles of bubbly to your next gathering, and let novices practice opening them (with proper instruction and supervision, of course). Enjoy them with food. Lay waste to the myth that you can only drink fizzy wine when the clock strikes midnight or someone gets married or a new ship needs launching.
Here I've got two tasty examples from Mumm Napa, an American offshoot of the well-known French Champagne house.
NV Mumm Napa Brut Prestige
$22, 12.5% abv.
51% Pinot Noir, 46% Chardonnay, 2% Pinot Meunier, 1% Pinot Gris
The splash of Pinot Gris is interesting, though I cannot admit to detecting its presence on my own. However, I love méthode champenoise wines with a big dose of Pinot Noir. This is dry and crisp with a light nose and a refreshing flavor on the palate. A great all-purpose sparkler that looks classy on the table.
NV Mumm Napa Brut Rosé
$22, 12.5% abv.
85% Pinot Noir, 15% Chardonnay
I've had this one several times, and it's a favorite to serve at the beginning of dinner parties. Wild strawberries and just a hint of lemony acidity on the tongue. Beautiful salmon color along with small bubbles. Dry but fruit-forward with excellent balance. I've typically had this with appetizers, but I think it could work well with dinner if you're able to wait that long.
Note: These wines were received as samples.