FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Gearing up for your New Eve's bash? One can never go wrong with wine, specifically the sparkling varieties that are popular this time of year.
Wilton resident JoAnn LoGiurato is a certified wine specialist at Stew Leonard's Wines of Norwalk and owner of Dancing on Grapes , an educational wine tasting event company that specializes in teaching women about wine. Prosecco, one of the first great affordable alternatives to champagne, offers a more approachable style of wine -- at a better price (think about $15 a bottle), she said. But Prosecco is not the only choice ideal for toasting 2015.
Cava, which comes from Spain and is made in the same style as champagne but with different grapes, is equally popular. Her picks (available at Stew's): Raventos i Blanc “de Nit” Brut Rosé (at $23.99 a bottle) and Bohigas Brut Reserva ($14.99).
Another trend – and an alternative to house-style champagne -- is what's called "Grower Champagne." These are different from traditional houses such as Taittinger and Roederer in that they are made by estate farmers that own the vineyards that are used to make the wine, said LoGiurato.
Pascal Doquet L’Horizon Blanc de Blanc, at about $40, is one of her recommendations under this category.
Just as interesting -- and another way to impress your guests -- are Cremant d'Alsace, a sparkling wine from the Alsace region of France, or Cremant d’Bourgogne from Burgundy.
LoGiurato is also big on sparkling wines from the northern part of Italy. This is not to be confused with Prosecco, but instead is a different, elegant style of wine. Her pick for her own New Year's: Ferrari Rosé, a style of wine from the Trentino region made in the traditional method with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes (about $30 a bottle).
Which leads to another trend she's noticed: Sparkling wines are not just for special occasions anymore.
Other trends for 2015:
- The craft beer movement continues to gain ground with more wine drinkers hopping on board.
- People are more adventurous. "They are going beyond Cabernet and Pinot Grigio to Vermentino from Southern Italy, Chenin Blanc from South Africa, Carmenere from Chile and exploring new regions such as Malbec from Cahors in France or red blends from Languedoc-Roussillon in the south of France," said LoGiurato.
- Rosés are extending their lifetimes beyond spring and summer into fall and winter.
- New wine drinkers, particularly those in their early 20s, are trending toward wines such as Moscato and red sweet blends.
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