New Year’s Eve is one of the busiest dining and drinking nights of the year every year, even if you’re not going out to celebrate. Dinner parties, college football parties, and family get-togethers are just as frequent as reservations at our best restaurants that night. So if you’re staying in to celebrate, we have 10 bottles of sparkling wine — from affordable to indulgent — to add zip to your New Year’s celebrations, and that includes a zero-proof for your nondrinkers and designated drivers.
Almacita Brut. Argentinian sparkling wine isn’t common in Oklahoma, so this $15 bottle is a great starting point to explore this area. The wine is fruit forward with stone fruit and tropical fruit in abundance. It’s the perfect balance between fun and serious.
Gruet. This New Mexico line of sparkling wine is made in the traditional method, and in a perfect world, it would be in every bar where wine is served. From the brut to the rosé to the sauvage, you simply can’t go wrong with Gruet, and it’s always in the just above or below $20 range.
Kuentz-Bas Cremant d’Alsace. A remarkable value, this Alsatian sparkler is also French like its cousin Champagne, but local laws allow for a wider range of varietals including Riesling and Auxerrois. The wine tends to be creamier than other bottles of bubbles, and the price point is very hard to beat for this quality: $22 to $26.
Leitz Zero. The German Riesling producer is synonymous with high-quality wines, so it’s a rare treat to have access to their zero-proof line. Rather than just sparkling grape juice, the product begins as wine and is then dealcoholized via a proprietary process. The result is a delicious sparkling wine that tastes like wine, not something you put in a sippy cup.
Champalou Vouvray. The region is famous for its Chenin Blanc, still and sparkling, and this is the best introduction to the style. Crisp with a touch of sweetness that leads to a lime custard-driven flavor profile, it’s easy to drink, and the $25 price makes it an easy yes to buy.
Schramsberg. The California winery produces one of the country’s best lines of sparkling wines, including the phenomenal J Schram, which has been the choice of U.S. Presidents for entertaining VIPs for decades. The J Schram is just over $100, but you can get Mirabelle for under $30 and their Brut Rosé at just over $30.
Caraccioli Brut and Rosé. This is the last year Oklahoma will receive any of this fantastic domestic sparkling wine. It’s easily one of the best produced in the U.S., and it’s comparable to premium Champagne. The brut comes in at under $60, and the rosé is just over $70.
Raptor Ridge Brut Rosé. From the Chehalem Mountains of Oregon comes this single vineyard (Harbinger Vineyard) expression of pinot noir. Scott and Annie Schull have been longtime supporters of the Oklahoma market, and fortunately for us, they make brilliant wines. The brut rosé offers strawberry, herbs and toasty notes in a well-balanced sparkling wine.
Paul Barra Rosé. Grower Champagnes are those produced by the same farmers who grow the grapes, so you’re getting family-owned, boutique wines that show the care and attention to detail that goes with smaller production. The Paul Barra was one of the first grower Champagnes in the state, and it’s a stunner. Price point is about $80.
Champagne Doyard Brut Vendemiare. This Premiere Cru Champagne is 100% Chardonnay, and absolutely beautiful. At about $80, it’s underpriced for the quality and taste. A truly remarkable bottle that’s in Oklahoma in limited supply.
Good bottle shops will have some of these. It would be the rare shop that had them all. Good selections are available at Spirit Shop in Norman, Edmond Wine Shop and 2nd Street Wine Company in Edmond, Freeman’s on N. Western Ave. in OKC and George’s downtown.