There’s something about bubbles that makes things seem more festive. Especially around the holidays. When gathering with friends and family to toast the season, grab a glass of bubbly!
Washington state is home to over 1,000 wineries, and many of them produce amazing red and white wines. Cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, merlot, riesling and syrah make up 80% of the state’s wine production, but there are more than 80 varieties planted around Washington and many of them end up in a bottle of bubbly.
Sparkling wine can be made with a wide variety of grapes, but chardonnay is the traditional grape used in Champagne. Chardonnay is the only white grape used in Champagne production, along with two other reds, pinot noir and pinot meunier. A wine can only be called Champagne if it’s produced in the Champagne region of France; anything else made outside of that area is just sparkling wine.
Treveri is a widely recognized Washington sparkling wine, made outside of Yakima in Wapato. This winery only produces sparkling and makes many different types and flavors out of various grapes, like gewürztraminer, sauvignon blanc and syrah, producing a red sparkling wine. They’re available in most West Sound stores, making them easy to find.
The Treveri Blanc de Blancs Brut is definitely a holiday party pleaser. Treveri describes this 100% chardonnay sparkling wine as “green apple and a hint of brioche, balanced by bright acid and a touch of yeast on the palate for a cool, crisp finish.” This is a great wine that goes with many holiday foods. Sparkling wine is a fabulous wine to pair with many different types of food because it’s so versatile and the bubbles act like a palate cleanser, standing up to different rich, winter foods and flavors.
Another local Washington winery making sparkling wine that’s easy to find is Chateau Ste. Michelle (the state’s oldest winery). The Domain Ste. Michelle Brut has a lot of effervescence, and is crisp and fruity, but not sweet. This is another versatile bottle that’s very balanced. The winery describes this wine as having “delicate aromas of green apple, bright citrus notes with a persistent bubble and balanced acidity.”
Most cava wines are dry, lean and zesty and are not sweet. Cava is a sparkling wine from Spain. The wine we tasted, Campo Viejo, is brut and made from a blend of Spanish grapes — xarello, macabeo and parellada. The winery describes this wine as “very pleasant, fine and powerful aromas of fruit with hints of yeast. Round and pleasant palate with sweet spots and final reminders of apple. Balanced and open, harmonious and with a lingering finish.” Fun fact to wow your holiday party guests — Campo Viejo has an all-women winemaking team.
Prosecco is a sparkling wine from Italy. La Marca Prosecco is described as “aromas of citrus and honeysuckle blossoms and a crisp, clean palate bring notes of green apple, juicy peach and ripe lemon, framed by hints of minerality” with the end result of “a light and refreshing finish with a delectable hint of sweetness.” Because of this light and refreshing flavor that isn’t too complex, prosecco goes great in sparkling cocktails. Try this holiday sangria recipe (from La Marca) at your holiday party.
It can be hard to tell what a bottle will taste like based on the label, but some key words can provide an indicator. The sweetness of wine is measured by the amount of residual sugar in the wine. When you see the word “brut” on a sparkling wine label, that means the wine is dry or made with very little added sugar. Dry in wine terms means the absence of sweetness or sugar.
Another word you might see on a sparkling label is “extra dry,” which is the opposite of what you would think. It’s not actually extra dry; it means the wine has a bit more sweetness to it and is less dry or sweet than a bottle of brut. If you don’t like sweet wines, go with brut; if you like a touch of sweetness, go with extra dry.
Like all wine, sparkling doesn’t have to be complicated. Just drink what you enjoy, add to a flute and cheer to the holidays.
Courtesy La Marca
- 1 cup cranberries
- 1 green apple, sliced
- 1 orange, sliced
- 1 lime, sliced
- 4 sticks of cinnamon
- 4 ounces of orange juice
- 4 ounces of brandy
- 1 bottle of La Marca Prosecco
If you like a sweeter sangria, you can add simple or honey syrup to adjust the balance. Add chopped fruit, orange juice and brandy to a pitcher. Top with a splash of La Marca Prosecco. Pour over ice into serving glasses.