To drink on New Year’s Day | When it pops!

With over 600 different sparkling wines available at the SAQ, choosing the perfect bottle to celebrate the New Year can be difficult. Our collaborator Karyne Duplessis Piché demystifies three production methods, five terroirs and offers you the perfect glasses to enjoy them.

Divine Champagne


Champagne Nominé-Renard Brut

Champagne winegrowers did not invent the traditional method of fermenting the wine a second time in the bottle to create effervescence. However, the French wine region has managed to stand out thanks to its unique terroir and the quality of its products.

Three varieties of grapes make up the DNA of Champagne: chardonnay, pinot noir and meunier. The first brings tension and freshness, the second, structure and fruit aromas and the third, roundness. This trio is found in our suggestion, the Brut cuvée from the Nominé-Renard family estate.

Another essential aspect of the quality of champagnes: aging. Once the wine is in the bottle, the region requires winegrowers to keep it for at least 15 months in the cellar, including 12 months on the lees, in order to add complexity and finesse to the bubbles. Nominé-Renard keeps its Brut vintage for a total of 36 months, including 30 on lees. From the opening, the bouquet with aromas of buttered brioche is typical. These aromas integrate into a mouth with creamy, fruity and very persistent bubbles.

Champagne Nominé-Renard Brut, $47.50

Drink from: Zalto champagne glass, $100

Mouth-blown in Austria, Zalto stands out for their lightness, finesse and shape. Despite their high price, they are in demand.

The strength of prosecco


Salatin Carattere Prosecco Brut

Champagne and prosecco have only one thing in common: both are sparkling. Prosecco is made in Veneto, Italy, where the climate is more temperate than in Champagne. Prosecco is not produced using the traditional method, but using the so-called “charmat” method. Its bubbles are created thanks to a second fermentation in a stainless steel tank kept under pressure, rather than in a bottle. Its aging time is also shorter. Result: its price is more advantageous. This asset allowed sales of prosecco to surpass those of Champagne in 2013 and rise to the top of the best-selling bubbles in the world.

Apart from its affordable price, prosecco has more expressive fruity and floral aromas. They are the signature of the most widespread grape variety in the region: glera. Fragrant, this sparkling wine also tends to be sweeter.

In the prosecco hills, the Salatin family produces its Carattere vintage according to the rules of organic farming. His wine contains only 7 grams of sugar, which is low for a prosecco. It opens with citrus notes and its bubbles are invigorating. A great novelty!

Salatin Carattere Prosecco Brut, $22.35

Drink from: Stölzle Vinea champagne flute, $9.95

This cup from the Stölzle brand has a smaller capacity. However, customers love it, notes Julie Montreuil, director of Vinum Grappa. “We serve small portions and refill more often to maximize the fresh bubbles! »

Champagne from Spain


Raventós i Blanc De Nit Conca del Riu Anoia 2021

During the phylloxera crisis, an aphid which ravaged European vines in the 19th centurye century, Catalan producer Josep Raventós Fatjó traveled to Champagne to sell wine. His trip allowed him to discover the method of making sparkling wine. Back home, he reproduced the second fermentation in the bottle using local grape varieties: xarello, parellada and macabeo. More than 150 years later, the traditional method is practiced throughout Spain to make cava. We can therefore describe it as “the champagne of Spain”.

However, some producers contest the cava designation. They claim that the grapes come exclusively from the Penedès region, near Barcelona, ​​that only local grape varieties are used and that the aging time on the lees is extended from 9 to 18 months. This is why the Raventós family uses the name Conca del Riu Anoia, rather than cava, on its labels. To make her rosé, she adds monastrell. The scents of wildflowers fill the glass. On the palate, the texture and creamy bubbles highlight the 18 months of aging. The lingering and refreshing finish opens with aromas of violet and raspberry. A great wine at a reasonable price.

Raventós i Blanc De Nit Conca del Riu Anoia 2021, $31.25

Drink from: Superleggero champagne glass, Riedel, $79

Cuts as fine as those of Zalto, but at a more competitive price, this is the challenge that all glassmakers try to meet. The Riedel brand is trying to achieve this with its new Superleggero range. Handmade, this cup has a very long stem and a voluminous cup to highlight the bubbles.

Local excitement


Domaine St-Jacques Brut 2020

All methods of making sparkling wine are practiced in Quebec. However, with the cool continental climate, the province’s wines have less alcohol and more acidity. These characteristics are advantages for using the same method as the Champagnes, since during the second fermentation in the bottle, the wine gains one to two additional degrees of alcohol. This is why great sparkling wines are often made in cool regions where the grapes are less sweet and more acidic. However, one issue discourages Quebec winegrowers from systematically using this method: the price. Although there are no imposed rules, the waiting time in the cellar necessary to bring finesse to the wine is expensive.

In Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, on the South Shore of Montreal, the Quirion family is betting on quality. It keeps its sparkling wine for 24 months before disgorging – that is, removing the lees. She also created a bold blend composed of a European variety, Chardonnay, and a hybrid, Vidal. Everything is delicious! The biscuit scents are complemented by notes of flowers and ripe fruit. The bubbles melt into a mouth with texture and volume. With 6 grams of sugar, this extra brut has a lively finish reminiscent of Quebec terroir.

Domaine St-Jacques Brut 2020, $34.75

Drink from: Willsberger champagne glass, Spiegelau, $29.95

The Spiegelau brand offers a compromise between the elongated shape of the classic flute and a more pronounced opening which allows the aromas to be highlighted.

Heading for the “pet nat”


Terraquilia Terrebianche “Zero” Vegan Brut Nature 2021

The latest sparkling wine, natural sparkling also called “pét nat” or ancestral method, is in fact the oldest way of producing sparkling wine. The wine is simply bottled before the end of fermentation. The sugar from the grape must not transformed into alcohol in the vat thus completes its change in the bottle. Unable to escape, the carbon dioxide produced at the end of fermentation remains trapped in the wine. The winemaker can remove the lees before marketing or not. Sparkling wines made this way are less effervescent, and often lower in alcohol. Producers around the world are adopting this technique because the bottles are quicker to market, among other things.

In this region known for its sparkling red, Lambrusco, Terraquilia produces a sparkling white to the south of Modena, Italy, made from two varieties of white grape, Grechetto and Trebbiano. It keeps the wine on its lees, “col fondo” as the Italians say, for 15 months and does not filter the liquid before marketing. This is why her dress is slightly muddled. The bouquet is filled with pear, peach and white flowers. The bubbles are subtle on the palate. It’s refreshing and fruity. With no added sugar or sulphite, it’s delicious!

Terraquilia Terrebianche “Zero” Vegan Brut Nature 2021, $26.10

Drink in: Champus champagne glass, Ritzenhoff, $45

The German company Ritzenhoff markets new designs on its champagne flutes every year. The elongated shape may not be ideal for tasting, but we love the festive look.

Thanks to Vinum Grappa for the loan of the glasses used for the photos.


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