Hard as it is to believe, Christmas and Hanukkah arrive this week, with New Years Eve not far behind. It’s time, in other words, to start popping the cork on all those bottles of bubbly you’ve been saving for the occasions.
The good news is that there are more excellent sparkling options right now than most people are familiar with. And often, it’s the less-famous regions and appellations that offer some of the best value.
Today, then, I recommend finding the two bottles below, both from Jaillance. Not only are they both fresh, gulpable, food-friendly wines, but the pricing is just about perfect--less than $19 each. In other words, ideal for both quiet nights in and rowdy holiday-themed parties with the co-workers. They also serve as particularly tasty, effective medicine when in-laws and extended family decide to overstay their welcome.
Jaillance Cremant de Bordeaux “Cuvee de l’Abbaye”
Aromas of grapefruit juice and subtle toast make this wine reminiscent of a nice springtime breakfast--light and comforting all at once. There are also, if you look for it, aromas hinting at white chocolate, which complicates this wine beautifully and unexpectedly. On the palate, flavors of white grapefruit and peaches, with a touch of marcona almond and a hint of flowers, are carried on a silky texture and balanced by bright acidity. This is an elegant, well-crafted wine that more than delivers on its price tag. 70% Semillon, 30% Cabernet Franc.
Jaillance Clairette de Die “Cuvee Imperiale”
Sweet, exuberantly blooming summertime flowers define this wine’s otherwise subtly spicy nose. Those expressions come through on the palate, buttressed by the sweet perfume of everything from superripe white peaches, crunchy-sweet green apple, and lychee to rose water. For all those aromatics, however, it remains almost defiantly fresh, making this a nice food wine, especially with cheeses or even spice cake after a heavy holiday meal. 90% Muscat, 10% Clairette.