Are you looking for something to toast in the new year with? We may not produce champagne in North Carolina (to call it champagne, it must be produced in the Champagne region of France), but we do produce some really great sparkling wines.
Champagne became popular with European royalty and was originally expensive and seen as a status symbol. We’re lucky to have several great, affordable sparkling wines to choose from made similarly to how champagne is made in France. American sparkling wines are typically made in two methods, méthode champenoise and the charmat method. The first is more expensive because the wine is fermented a second time in the bottle to produce the bubbles. The second method is less expensive because it fermented the second time in a bulk tank and then bottled.
The Best Sparkling Wine in the 2015 N.C. State Fair Wine Competition was awarded to the Biltmore Estate Wine Company for Estate Chateau Reserve Sparkling Blanc de Blancs, which is made using the méthode champenoise. (For more about blanc de blancs, read last year’s blog post.) Biltmore has taken the top spot for five of the last six years. Shelton Vineyards‘ Blanc de Blanc beat them out in 2011.
Other notable sparkling wines from North Carolina wineries are:
Raffaldini Vineyards and Winery – La Dolce Vita (has won gold and double gold and best in category awards from the State Fair competition)
St. Paul Mountain Vineyards – Wallace (an apple cider that won gold in the 2015 State Fair sparkling category)
Childress Vineyards – Victory Cuvée (Blanc de Blanc)
Raylen Vineyards – Sparkling Brut
So if you’re gonna head to the store, look for one of these great North Carolina sparkling wines. And as always, if you’re going to drink, please drink responsibly. We wish all of you a safe and happy new year!