Where to Get a Bottle of Bubbly Before Your New Year’s Celebration

We asked local wine shop experts for their sparkling wine recommendations.

Whether you’re staying in or heading out on the last day of 2021, it’s likely a cool, crisp glass of sparkling wine will be part of the festivities. And who better to offer suggestions than the owners of wine shops who stock only the best of the best at a variety of price points and from around the world? While Champagne from the villages of Reims and Epernay, France, in the country’s Champagne region, are traditional picks, options are available from nearly every wine-making region around the world. 

“While New Year’s Eve is a time of festivity and breaking out the bubbles, they don’t have to be crazy expensive to be a delicious complement to your meal, add to the life of the party, and provide in hope of a more normal year ahead,” says Phil Bilodeau, owner of Thief Wine Shop & Bar, inside the Milwaukee Public Market.


Phil Bilodeau, of Thief Wine Shop & Bar

Wine: Jansz NV “Premium Cuvée”

Region: Tasmania, Australia

Price: $22.95

Why: “Made in the traditional method by one of the pioneers of Australian sparkling wine, this Pinot Noir/Chardonnay blend is crisp, creamy and toasty, with great length,” says Bilodeau. “A nice alternative to true Champagne at a fraction of the price.”

Wine: De Saint-Gall NV “Le Selection” Brut

Region: Champagne, France

Price: $44.95

Why: “The Saint-Gall is a true Champagne that drinks well above its price, with notes of brioche, lemon curd from the Chardonnay, subtle red berry from the Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, vibrant acidity and wonderful persistence,” says Bilodeau.

Wine: Paul Chollet NV Brut Rosé, Cremant d’Bourgogne 

Region: Burgundy, France

Price: $19.95

Why: “This Brut rosé of Pinot Noir is nuanced and delicious, featuring wild strawberry, bright Rainier cherry, and a rounded mouthfeel,” says Bilodeau. “We’re currently pouring this by the glass at our wine bar, and it’s been a customer favorite, for good reason.”


Jake Hansen, of Scout Wine Merchants

Wine: Adriano Adami “Vigneto Giardino Rive di Colbertaldo” Prosecco Superiore di Valdobbiadene DOCG, 2020 

Region: Veneto, Italy

Price: $24.99

Why: “Three things set this wine apart,” says Hansen. “It’s a single-vineyard Prosecco; this vineyard is in Valdobbiadene, a ‘Superiore,’ or more prestigious, part of the area; and it’s a vintage Prosecco, so all of the grapes were harvested in 2020, which is uncommon. It’s light and elegant, almost evaporating on your tongue, but crammed full of green orchard fruits, apricot, peach and lemon. Drink this before a meal to get your taste buds fired up, or enjoy with appetizers such as fresh fruits, salad or prosciutto-wrapped melon.” 

Wine: Charles Heidsieck “Brut Réserve”

Region: Champagne, France

Price: $49.99

Why: “The Brut Réserve is a big, complex Champagne,” says Hansen. “Forty percent of this bubbly’s base is reserve wines that are an average of 10 years old. This adds a nutty, roasted hazelnut quality. It’s an amazing Champagne, exuding fresh pastry, lemon meringue and roasted almonds. Enjoy it with rich seafood preparations, caviar, or, if you’re on a budget, fried chicken.” 

Wine: Schramsberg “J. Schram” Brut, 2012

Region: North Coast, California

Price: $99.99

Why: “This is Schramsberg’s tête de cuvee—their best of the best, top-end sparkling wine,” says Hansen. “For the amount of time and love that goes into this wine, it outdrinks the price. It has the lovely smell of a bakery when you start to pour it, followed with waves of dried tropical fruits, green apple, orange peel, lemon meringue, roasted nuts and candied ginger. I don’t pay too much attention to critic scores, but when Wine Spectator gives a wine 98 points, I pay attention. Have this with lobster rolls, smoked salmon, veal piccata, or—and trust me on this one—a bag of potato chips.”


Allie and Brad Kruse, of Nonfiction Natural Wines

Wine: Milan Nestarec Danger 380 Volts

Region: Moravia, Czech Republic

Price: $35

Why: “Danger is certainly not shy, with punchy acidity, hits of kiwi and mango, and strong (but not perfume-y or overpowering) floral notes. An electric pet-nat that will wow your food- and wine-loving friends, without breaking the bank like true Champagne. This would play nicely with takeout Chinese or Thai fare, soft cheeses and shrimp cocktail.”

Wine: Bichi Pet-Mex

Region: Tecate, Mexico

Price: $33

Why: “With a mysterious, unidentified grape variety, from a region we don’t see a whole lot of wines from. Bursting with ripe strawberries and tart grapefruit, it’s also absolutely perfect for New Year’s Day brunch—no added juice required. Pairing wine with Mexican food can be a huge challenge, especially when the perfect cocktail (the margarita) exists, but this wine can complement spicier fare with its refreshingly fruity character and subtle hint of sweetness.”   


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A seasoned writer, and a former editor at Milwaukee Home & Fine Living, Kristine Hansen launched her wine-writing career in 2003, covering wine tourism, wine and food pairings, wine trends and quirky winemakers. Her wine-related articles have published in Wine Enthusiast, Sommelier Journal, Uncorked (an iPad-only magazine), FoodRepublic.com, CNN.com and Whole Living (a Martha Stewart publication). She's trekked through vineyards and chatted up winemakers in many regions, including Chile, Portugal, California (Napa, Sonoma and Central Coast), Canada, Oregon and France (Bordeaux and Burgundy). While picking out her favorite wine is kind of like asking which child you like best, she will admit to being a fan of Oregon Pinot Noir and even on a sub-zero winter day won't turn down a glass of zippy Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.