The Holiday Season is the time for toasts and family gatherings. To make your event special, try a sparkling wine to start or a dessert wine to end the meal. I have listed below wines carried at the Harvard General Store.

Normally when we think of sparkling wine, we think of Champagne, but there are many delicious alternatives that are less expensive. Champagne is the name for wine grown, vinified and bottled in the Champagne Region (AOC) of France by the “Traditional Method,” fermented in the bottle. Crémants are wines grown, vinified and bottled by the “Traditional Method” elsewhere in France. Cavas are the Spanish equivalent of Crémants. Prosecco and Moscato d’Asti are Italian sparkling wines that are normally fermented in large steel tanks, not in the bottle as in the “Traditional Method”. For the price, some of these alternative wines can be a great value.

Champagne

Marie Hanze, Brut Elegance, by Nicolas Maillart –$44. 92 Points. Honeysuckle, green apples and biscuits.

Jean Vesselle, Brut Reserve — $39.95. 100% Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, delicate and soft, the aperitif Champagne.  Magnums for $99.95, three or more only.

Nicolas Feuillatte — $40. One of the largest selling Champagnes in France.  White fruits, pear and apple, well balanced; 20% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 40% Pinot Meunier.  The Meunier is a traditional Champagne varietal that adds a soft fruitiness.

Crémant (Traditional Method)

Lucien Albrecht, Crémant d’Alsace, Brut Rosé — $19.95 100% Pinot Noir.

La Rossée, 100% Malbec Rosé — $15.95.   Loire Valley.  Perfect as an aperitif or with dessert.  Flavors of crushed raspberries.

Cuvée Jean Louis, Charles de Fère, Loire Valley Blanc de Blancs — $11.95.  87 Points Wine Enthusiast . 40% Chenin Blanc and 20% Ugni Blanc, 40% other Loire Valley white grapes.  An incredible value!

Cava (Traditional Method)

Dibon, Brut Reserve — $12.95. ORGANIC. Delicious, pear and apple flavors.

Prosecco

Mionetto, Prosecco DOC Treviso, Brut –$14.95. 100% Prosecco. Golden apples, refreshing.

Adami, Garbel, Prosecco, Brut — $16.95. 90 Points from Wine and Spirits magazine.  Very dry between Brut and Extra Brut.  Versatile as an aperititf and for celebrations.

Dessert Wine (Not necessarily sparkling)

La Rossée, 100% Malbec Rosé — $15.95.   Loire Valley.  Perfect as an aperitif or with dessert, flavors of crushed raspberries.

Borgo Maragliano, La Caliera, Moscato d’Asti —  $13.95. Considered in the top three of Moscato wines from Asti.  Try with fruit salads, confectionary and nut cakes.

Casa Lola, Albana Passito, Tre Monti 2008 (500ml) — $30.  92 Points Wine Enthusiast.  A smooth sweet white Vin Santo styled wine with flavors of citrus zest and candied apricot.

Massa Vecchia Passito Rosso (350ml) — $30. 91Points Wine Enthusiast. Most commonly known as Vin Santo, this wine is a tradition in Tuscany and is sometimes compared to Spanish Sherries.  It is made by drying the grapes before pressing.

Apfel Eis Wine, Still River Winery — $25.  The sweet crisp flavor of apples.

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