Sparkling Wine for Thanksgiving
and Christmas Gifts

It's the time of year when we think about what to drink with that Thanksgiving dinner and, then, what to buy a special friend for Christmas. Some time ago I read an article about a host who served bubbly for Thanksgiving dinner -- before, during and after. So when my customers ask me this year what to have with their Thanksgiving dinner, that will be my suggestion. But since Thanksgiving is an American celebration, I will recommend an American bubbly over Champagne (bubbly only from Champagne, France).

Most of the bubblies made in America are made in the Methode Champenoise, or produced as the wines in Champagne. Many of the U.S. wineries are producing a little bit of bubbly, often made just for fun and often sold only at the winery or in a limited number of stores or restaurants. Many of the winemakers make sparkling wine just for the love of it. Committed vintners are making small batches of handcrafted, highly personal and often excellent bubbly. Explore your local wineries, wine shops or stores to find these hidden gems because American sparklers are perfect for Thanksgiving.

For Christmas, I recommend a Global Sparkler Sampler. Imports of sparkling wine increased 60 percent between 1996 and 2006, according to government reports. With good sparkling wines readily available, a six- or 12-pack of imported sparkling wine would be the perfect gift for the person who is special to us. Not only does sparkling wine help the worries of everyday life fade away but many bubblies also pair well with all kinds of food, from sushi to just about anything with a cream sauce.

Here are a few suggestions for bubbly from all over the world:

  • From Italy... a Prosecco
    (A lightly sparkling, mellow bubbly from the Veneto region.)

  • From Spain... a Cava
    (Like Champagne, ranges from very dry to sweet.)

  • From the U.S... Gruet Brut
    (From New Mexico -- a very fine American bubbly.)

  • From Germany or Austria... a Sekt

  • From France: a sparkling Vouvray or a Cremant d'Alsace
    (Vouvray is made from Chenin Blanc grapes; Cremant is great with food.)

  • From Australia... a sparkling Shiraz
    (It's deep red with firm blackberry core and a lovely finish.)

Last, enclose a note that says something like: "These are everyday bubblies for the special occasions that happen every day. Drink up!!"

To make the holiday season truly sparkle... mend a quarrel, seek out a forgotten friend, share some treasure, give a soft answer, encourage youth, keep a promise, find the time, listen, apologize if you were wrong, be gentle, laugh a little, laugh a little more, express your gratitude, welcome a stranger, gladden the heart of a child, take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth, speak your love, speak it again and speak it still once again.

Durella DeGrasse
Certified Wine Professional

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