In addition to doling out a kiss to your sweetie on New Year’s Eve, it’s practically a requirement to sip from a flute of sparkling wine. Here are four solid picks from Italy, where Prosecco – with a sweeter palate – is the predominant bubbly. All cost under $18 a bottle.
Cupcake Vineyards Prosecco (Italy, $11) features creamy lemon notes, along with honeydew-melon flavors and nicely balanced acidity that leads to a brioche finish, with 100 percent Glera grapes. (www.cupcakevineyards.com)
Enza Prosecco (Italy, $15) is a drier-style Prosecco with delicate notes of green apples and a clean finish. (www.enzoprosecco.com)
Berlucchi Cuvee ’61 Brut (Italy, $18) is an easy-to-drink, approachable Brut – but with layers of complexity, with notes of nectarine and toasty brioche on a dry palate. (www.berlucchi.it)
2012 Vietti “Cascinetta Vietti” Moscato d’Asti (Langhe, Piedmont, Italy, $15) is marked by white-peach notes and a nose of ginger, yet the wine doesn’t tip over into a highly acidic palate; instead, its apricot finish is refreshing. (www.vietti.com)
WINE DEAL OF THE WEEK
Chiselled Grape Winery is closing out 2012 – also capping off the Grafton winery’s first 18 months in business – with an offer to buy its Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc for $3 off. Normally $17.50 it’s now slashed to $14.50. If you’re still looking for a dessert wine to pull out at a dinner party, or pair with a fabulous dessert, this is a good one to try. Bonus: the winery is offering another deal with the purchase of three bottles. Sealed envelopes containing cards with special offers are good for your next visit to the winery.
WINE EVENT OF THE WEEK
Wine often needs a pairing – and it isn’t always food. Vino 100’s Milwaukee location is hosting a New Year’s Eve party with a comedy show and wine. The party kicks off at 9 p.m. For $10 you get access to lots of laughs and a Champagne toast at midnight. Five-dollar glasses of wine are also part of the fun. Comedians scheduled to dish out the giggles include Andy Erickson, Collin Klug and Alex Stein, with Bryon Schmear as host.
WINE OF THE WEEK
Remember the film “Bottle Shock,” the 2008 film which tells the story of how California wines were put on the map after the famous 1976 tasting in Paris (dubbed “Judgment in Paris”) in which, via a blind tasting, they surpassed their French counterparts? In the Chardonnay tasting, Chateau Montelena Winery’s 1973 Chardonnay stole the show.
I recently uncorked 2009 Chateau Montelena Winery Cabernet Sauvignon (Calistoga, Napa Valley, California, $50) and its just as much a winner as its Chardonnay sibling with smooth, concentrated black-cherry notes (which begin on the front of the palate as bright-red cherry flavors, effortlessly easing into darker fruit) and some layers of smoke and vanilla. (www.montelena.com)