10 Festive Sparkling Beverages for New Year's Eve Not Named Veuve Cliquot

For many New Year's Eve revelers, the holiday is synonymous with Champagne, especially Veuve Cliquot.

Astor Wines, one of the biggest and best stores in New York City, sells so much Veuve on Dec. 31 that it has cases of the stuff stacked near the entrance to the store. And not just the standard 750 milliliter bottles, either; you can also get half-bottles and magnums (double bottles).

But the world of sparkling wine extends well beyond branded Champagne. Below, we offer ten sparklers -- shorthand in the wine world for sparkling wine, Champagne and other bubbly drinks -- (one of them a cider) that will help you ring in 2015. Since most sparklers are a combination of wines from different vintages, they often carry the letters NV (no vintage).

Click through to see which ones you should try as you celebrate New Year's Eve.

Lambrusco, a sparkling red made in northern Italy from the grape of the same name, often get a bad rap, but younger winemakers are producing some excellent renditions, including this dry wine with plum and raspberry notes. The fizz makes the wines perfect for meats and cheeses. If you like the Lini, Osteria Morini, a restaurant with outposts in New York's fashionable Soho neighborhood and northern New Jersey, has about 20 Lambruscos on its wine list.

Lini Lambrusco "Lambrusca" Rosso NV: $15.99
Emilia-Romagna, Italy

 

The Aussie contribution to the sparkling wine party is Shiraz. The Chook is made mostly from Shiraz that's three to five years old and is aged in French oak, with some younger Shiraz to add bright fruit notes to the finished product. It has the robust flavor typical of the grape and a kiss of sweetness.

The Chook Sparkling Shiraz NV: $19.99
McLaren Vale, Australia

 

Cava comes from Catalonia, the region around Barcelona, and is traditionally made from the Macabeo, Xarel-lo and Parellada grapes and vinified in the same was as Champagne is. This very solid budget option has fine bubbles and notes of pear, apple and citrus.

Castellroig Cava Brut NV: $12.99
Catalonia, Spain

 

Sparkling cider is made from apples or pears rather than grapes, but the beverage has half the alcohol of sparkling wine, and the good ones have impressive complexity. Eric Bordelet was a sommelier at L'Arpege, one of the best restaurants in Paris, before returning to his native Normandy in 1992 to made cider, and he has set the standard in the field. His basic apple cider tastes like gently sautéed apples that have just begun to caramelize; his pear is lean and mineral.

Bordelet Sydre Argelette 2012: $19.99
Normany, France

 

Schramsberg is one of the oldest producers of sparkling wine in California. It first produced its Blanc des Blancs, a white wine made entirely from Chardonnay, in 1965, and its toasty style with a slight hint of green apple still pleases drinkers who lean to a richer style.

Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs 2010: $29.99
Napa Valley, California

 

If Schramsberg is emblematic of your parents' vision of California wine, the Salina 25 comes from your hipster cousins' Cali: fresh, funky, individual. The Twenty Five Reasons is one of the few sparkling wines made from Sauvignon Blanc, and winemaker Kevin Kelly ferments the wine for two weeks on its skins, which gives it color and body. The wine from the top of the bottle is clean and light; the wine from the bottom contains lees, or dead yeast, and sediment that makes a richer, herbal drink perfect for pork or poultry. Don't be put off by the lees, which give body to all sorts of white wines including Champagne.

Salinia Wine Company 2012 Mendocino twenty Five Reasons Pétillant Naturel: $21.99
Mendocino, California

 

The Germans love sparkling wine so much that they drink almost everything they produce -- Sekt, they call it -- and import large quantities of the stuff. The Brüder Dr. Becker is made from a grape called Scheurebe and is bright and aromatic. You can pick one up at Astor Wines in New York and then amble a half-mile down the Bowery to Pearl and Ash, a restaurant with an awesome wine list that includes Sekts from Weiser Künstler and Immich-Batterieberg, two young producers in Germany's Mosel Valley.

Brüder Dr. Becker Scheurebe Sekt Extra Trocken 2011: $21.99
Rheinhessen, Germany

 

Southern England is at about the same longitude as Champagne and shares its climate and chalk soils. Producers have seized on these similarities to make sparkling wines from the same grapes that go into Champagne: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. This one from Ridgeview has red fruit on the nose and on the palate the toasted brioche notes typical of Champagne. Brioche? From England? Yes - and it's delicious.

Ridgeview Cavendish Brut: $34.99
South Downs, England

 

Long story short, Crémant is good Champagne on the cheap. More specifically, it's sparkling wine from French regions other than Champagne but made in the same way as the good sparklers from there. This one comes from one of the best producers in Alsace and is made from Pinot Blanc, a typical Alsatian grape. It's dry and citrus-driven with a hint of yellow plum.

Crémant d'Alsace, Albert Mann, 2011: $21.99
Alsace, France

 

This Champagne from a small producer who works organically in the village of Ambonnay, is worth seeking out. It's made from 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Chardonnay and has no dosage, or added sugar. (Most Champagnes, including many excellent ones, do). That gives it a steely dryness balanced by fruit notes from the Pinot Noir and an undertone of biscuit from the vinification process. This would be a wonderful start to a meal and would also work beautifully with fish or poultry.

Marie Noëlle Ledru Grand Cru Ambonnay Extra-Brut NV: $62.99
Champagne, France

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