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In the early years of this column I’d do a semi-regular feature called, ‘What I’ve Been Drinking Lately.’  Let’s bring that back in 2018. We’ll recommend specific wines that, in a way, become generic recommendations for easy-to-find wine picks.

grape-sense-logoMore and more bubbles are turning up on my wine rack. It’s taken too much time but after awhile any wine drinker will learn sparking wines aren’t just for New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, or a wedding reception.

Good sparkling wine is a marvelous aperitif. A cold sparkler is a phenomenal porch pounder. Bubbles pair well with salads, lighter style seafood, and even fresh fruit.

Sparkling wine sales are growing around the globe. Whether its Cava from Spain, Cremant from Burgundy or Loire, Italian Prosecco, American bubbles, or the grand daddy of them all – Champagne from Champagne, France, bubbles are hot.

If you’re not a big bubbles drinker now, let’s find an easy place to start. Prosecco might be the easiest entry point for most wine fans. Prosecco comes from Northern Italy, largely made from the glera grape, and is very affordable. Most Prosecco wines are made dry like a tart brut. But the typical pear, honeysuckle flavors trick the palate into thinking it’s a bit sweeter.

MionettoAn easy starting point is Mionetto Prosecco. It’s fresh mouthful of fruit with light bubbles. Mionetto can be found at the entry level of $13-$16 and is widely distributed. Other entry level Prosecco include Bisol and Rebuli, among others.

I prefer my bubbles with a good chill. It won’t take you long to figure out where you like the temperature of your sparklers.

Like any other grape in the wine world, you’ll notice new layers of flavor and satisfaction as you climb the price ladder. Prices are quite modest for Prosecco and Cava starting at under $10. Consumers can find outstanding sparking wine’s in the $30 range.

There’s nothing like French Champagne but you won’t find one for 13 bucks. Good champagne starts in the $40-$50 range.

Let’s add its not a bad time to stock up. Most fine wine shops and liquor stores pack the shelves for the holidays through Valentines day. Look for prices to be discounted in the next few weeks.

And a final note for today, most all sparkling wine producers produce a sparkling rose’. In a brut you get a dry, and sometimes yeast hint, that isn’t pleasant to all palates. Sparkling Rose is a personal favorite. Rose’ is still dry, bubbly, but with a bit more fruit.

You won’t regret keeping bubbles on your wine rack.