Making an informed decision on what sparkling wine to buy for New Year’s Eve can quickly become a paralyzing one when you walk into the store and see the overwhelming number of options. Not to mention the confusion with labels and naming regulations.
The more you know, the more you realize you still have to learn – what’s the difference between Champagne and Cremant? Are Prosecco and Cava the same, and if they are, how do they compare to Champagne? Even if you are able to sort out all the distinctions, there’s still the actual choosing: what price range are you looking at? What occasion are you planning for? Are you a Champagne fan, or do you usually stay far away?
Fortunately, you don’t have to make these decisions alone. We’ve found five local wine sellers where you can learn which bottle will best fit your occasion. Whether the place is small or large, the wine buyers at these locations are more than happy to help you navigate the tricky path to your ideal bubbly for the holidays.
Owner Janea Boyles at the Mercantile can help you find quality wine for every day for under $20. For the holidays, Janea has a small, thoughtful selection of sparkling and dessert wines available. The Jacques Pelvas from Provence in southern France, Janea’s bubbly choice, is $14.99. For an elegant wine for holiday meals, she suggests the Valpolicella a feminine and fruity red from Italy. As the holidays approach, she will be adding to her seasonal selections. To stay updated, visit themercantileatl.com. 1660 Dekalb Ave., Suite 150, (404) 378-0096.
Ansley Wine Merchant
Ansley Wine Merchants has been family owned and run for 25 years and has an extensive selection of champagne and other sparkling wines, but they concentrate on growers’ champagne around the holidays. Wine purchaser, Amber Bradshaw is happy to educate buyers on these smaller sellers that provide wines with a more complex taste at a less expensive price. Her top choices for New Years are H. Billiot ($53) and Roger Coulon ($59), and her favorite under $50, Claude Genet ($39.99). For under $20, the store has several Cavas (Spanish sparkling) and Cremants (French sparkling). 1544 Piedmont Road, (404) 876-6790 or ansleywine.com.
Perrine’s Wines focuses on French wines, but they do offer a selection of bubbly choices from all over the world, and during the holidays, they will be looking into more grower’s champagnes to fill the shelves. For anyone looking to take French and fancy to the extreme this New Year’s, Perrine has Champagne S de Salon Grand cru Le Mesnil 1999, $499.99 on sale for $349.99. On the other end of the price spectrum, she suggests Charles de Fere Cuvee at $10 with fresh and fruity tasting notes. The store offers 10% off 12 bottles and 5% off 6, and they will be offering a few sparkling tastings in the coming weeks. 1168 Howell Mill Road, Suite B, (404) 254 5077 or perrineswines.com.
While the Wine Shoe provides two excellent champagne choices—a Jean Pierre Laloelle brut, $50, and Krug’s Brut Grande Cuvee, $185— and will order other varieties on request from customers, their real focus is on European sparklings without the Champagne designation. Owner and wine purchaser, Nova Wiley’s number one selection is their Spanish Cava, Saniger, a $17 brut. For a different and adventurous selection, she recommends the Portuguese Sottel, which is slightly sweeter than an Italian prosecco and has a lighter fizz than sparklings made in the Champagne style. Another choice that’s less tradition is the Italian Brachetto by Giribaldi, a sweet, sparkling red. Wine Shoe provides wine tasting classes year-round, but in December they have special “Bubbly” classes. The classes are $35 per person, but they often have Groupons and discounts running. For more information on dates and times, visit their website, wineshoeatlanta.com. 339 Nelson St., (404) 577-2000.
Mac’s Beer and Wine
Located in Midtown, Mac’s offers a wide selection of champagnes and sparkling wines from all over the world. With prices ranging from $4.99 to $500, you can go as upscale or low scale as you’d like. Dom Perignon, well-known and popular, is available for $140, but for something more affordable with the same Champagne seal, try the store selections like Nicholas Feuillatte at $30. Another top pick made in the champagne style is Gruett’s dry rose for $14. 21 Peachtree Place, (404) 872-4897 or macsbeerandwine.com.
This Atlanta staple has a formidable spread of choices for your New Year’s gathering, whether it’s a small party or large party. Green’s will be featuring Piper Sonoma, a California sparkling, this holiday season. Usually selling for around $15, Green’s will offer the label for $10 with a 15% case discount. If you’re still looking to stick with classic champagne, Green’s has them starting at $26.98. For a nice and economical choice, wine purchaser Len Iris suggests Perrier Jouet at $29.99. 737 Ponce de Leon Ave., (404) 872-1109 or greensbeverages.com.