South End wine buyer, Julie Cappellano, and Cambridge wine buyer, Gemma Iannoni, offer their top picks for bubbly to celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year! Their selections subscribe to our philosophy of selecting authentic, terroir-driven wines from producers using organic, sustainable, or biodynamic viticultural practices.
– Julie’s Champagne Picks –
Aubry Fils Brut Champagne N.V. (Jouy-les-Reims, France)
Made by twin brothers Pierre and Philippe on their estate in Jouy-les-Reims, this staff favorite Premier Cru blend has fresh green apple notes and a rich minerality. Sophisticated and complex but still lovable and approachable. Fantastic with panettone.
Billiot Fils Brut Rosé N.V. (Champagne, France)
Perfect pink Pinot Noir based Champagne from grower Henri Billiot’s tiny, 5-hectare estate. This rich, dense Grand Cru Champagne has a lovely floral nose, fine strawberry fruit and a pink grapefruit zestiness with a long, lingering almost salty finish. Simply marvelous with (or without) food.
– Gemma’s Sparkling Wine Picks –
I Clivi ’10 Ribolla Spumante (Friuli, Italy)
This bright, electric, citrusy sparkler is based on 100% organically cultivated Ribolla Gialla. The grapes are sourced from a vineyard just fifteen minutes northeast of our friends’ Mario and Ferdinando Zanusso’s home in Corno di Rosazzo, crossing into Slovenia’s portion of the Collio growing region. The Zanussos press the grapes at Champagne levels, meaning very gently, so as to extract only the fior di fiori, or the highest quality juice. This ensures that the finest, most delicate aromas are expressed in the finished wine. Gentle pressing is used for all of the Zanussos’ grapes, which is why their wine is several notches above their peers. The only difference between this bubbly and their white wine, Gialla, is that the Spumante is made into a sparkling wine using the Charmat method. It is also perfect for brunch as it is low in alcohol and finely effervescent. Only 1,500 bottles produced and exclusive to Formaggio Kitchen.
Domaine des Vignes du Maynes Ste. Geneviève Blanc (Burgundy, France)
Drinking this with eyes closed, you might think that you’re drinking a Grand Cru Blanc de Blanc! This 100% biodynamically farmed Chardonnay-based sparkler comes from the Guillot family’s small clos just outside the village of Cruzille in southern Burgundy’s Mâcon region. Utmost care and attention to detail are what make this wine stand out, since everything is done by hand from the vineyard to wine cellar. This wine is a unique expression of stony/limestone soils, showing marked minerality and acidity as well as richness and creaminess on the palate. Ste. Geneviève is the patron saint of hail and her statue is visible above this vineyard, intended to protect the vines from the flash hailstorms that are typical of Burgundy’s steeper sites. This wine is Méthode Champenoise and is produced in-house. Roughly 1,200 bottles are made each year. This is a rare wine – don’t miss it.