Writing about bubbly around this time of year is such a cliché, isn't it? It's true that sparkling wine sales spike around the holidays, as people prepare to toast the incoming year—and, perhaps, bid a festive good-riddance to the outgoing one. But, before we dance on 2010's grave, it's time to talk fizzy wine.
Instead of simply suggesting what to fill your flute with New Year's Eve, I'd like to take this time to offer a different outlook on bubbles. Sure, they're great for toasting major events, like the end of a year filled with Tea Partiers and spilled oil. But they're also great for sipping—with snacks or without—year-round. So, with this requisite roundup of sparklers comes a resolution to pop a cork not only on the 31st, but maybe again on some random Tuesday in January or movie night in March. After all, what else can you pair with popcorn?
Champagne is still the most recognizable of the sparkling wines. But, if bubbly is going to become your new go-to aperitif, you'll want to look further than northern France to keep yourself quenched. For an everyday, food-friendly fizzy wine, it's best to err on the dry side. Because bubbles, like spicy food, zap the taste buds (the effect is what we perceive as cleansing the palate), most sparklers are dosed with sugar, which is referred to as dosage. Dry (brut) wines have less dosage; Brut Nature has no dosage at all. And not to make you self-conscious during this caloric time of year, but lower dosage can mean less sugar, which may or may not address one of your other resolutions.