Light up more than your candles this year! These bubbly wines add flair to the table and will make you blush (in more ways than one). This Hanukkah, here are eight sparkling wines to light up your nights!

1.  Cremant de Loire Saumur Chevalier de Loire Brut (Magnum)

Size matters. A magnum bottle (1.5 liters) not only serves more party goers, but often times tastes fresher and brighter since there is a greater wine-to-oxygen ratio. This is particularly evident in bright sparklers. The appellation Cremant de Loire dictates basically that wines be produced in the Champenoise method (second fermentation in the bottle). They’re most often produced with local grape Chenin Blanc and a small percentage of other local grapes at the winemaker’s discretion. The beautiful bottle also contains some Chardonnay, and is incredibly bright and smooth when it hits the palate. It encompasses all of the freshness, but none of the dryness or chalkiness that can sometimes come from too much Champagne. This magnum (or rather what’s inside) can go for hours.

 2.  Sparkling Pointe Brut

For the East Coast circuit, here’s a local selection to accompany your Blue Point oysters and Atlantic Salmon. Long Island Winery Sparkling Pointe was founded by Tom and Cynthia Rosicki, who met over glasses of Champagne and kept finding themselves with flutes in hand all throughout their relationship. They took on renowned Champagne producer Gilles Martin and planted Champagne varieties of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. They produce a selection of sparkling wines – all made in the traditional method – that are refreshingly dry and clean.

3.  Tenute Mazzolino Brut

Another fantastic alternative to Champagne, this brut Metodo Classico wine is made exclusively from Chardonnay grapes, grown on the sunny slopes blanketing the Po River valley. The stainless steel and a touch of barrique aging add complexity of flavor in northern Italy. The wine undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle and ages for a minimum of 18 months.  The bouquet is plentiful with floral and citrus notes and a touch of toast. A great opener and a perfect companion for crispy fried latkes!

divino logo4.  Laurent-Perrier, Cuvee Rose Brut NV

This Champagne always says “celebration” to me. It’s from the finest selection of Pinot Noir, hand-picked and delicately macerated under rigorously temperature-controlled conditions. It undergoes a secondary fermentation and ages in the bottle for a minimum of four years. The result is an almost ethereal foamy top, and notes of ripe strawberry and wet earth. It’s extremely spring-like and works well with raw and marinated seafood, especially salmon. The bolder flavor is also great with any roasted meats you might have around the table, or (one of my favorites) savory sage-spiked latkes.  You might even go so far as to pair it with a cheese-and-berry blintze.

5.  Castellroig, Cava Brut

This Spanish sparkler comes from a small family producer in Penedes, the heart of Cava country. It’s made from local grapes Macabeo and Xarel-lo – and bursts with bright notes of citrus, as well as elegant toasty notes. Definitely try with potato pancakes or simply get the evening started with an aperitif.

6.  Schramsberg Blanc de Noir NV

West coasters are no strangers to Schramsberg’s exquisite champenoise style wines. The Blanc de Noir is made with a blend that includes select Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from cool-climate vineyards located in Carneros and Anderson Valley as well as Marin and Sonoma County. The variety lends this wine a depth of flavor and aroma, and a very long finish.  Two years on the lees and additional bottle aging will give this wine a subtle caramel note along with very clean acidity. It’s a wonderful pairing with lamb or brisket and rich earthy main courses.

7.  Brut Cuvée Sparkling Kosher 2012

For Kosher bubbles, you can count on Hagafen for a classic! Their Brut Cuvée Sparkling Kosher 2012 is made from a Chardonnay-and-Pinot-Noir blend, and makes for a light and lively sparkler with a pale pink hue and hints of fresh citrus.

8.  Ca’ Del Baio, Moscato D’Asti

Moscato has been much maligned lately due to its ubiquity on the market and an unfortunate wave of careless mass production. That being said, popularity has its purpose, and there’s a reason Moscato has so many fans. There’s no denying the luscious aromas and piquant sweetness of the right bottle.  When it’s done as the Italians intended the wine is sweet but not cloying, with a full range of fragrances including peach, apricot and roses.  This bottle is ever so slightly sparkling with a low alcohol content, which means you can drink a lot of it. Try it with creamy white cheese and dessert.  It’s also the perfect companion for some after-dinner downtime with your latest flame. Lip-licking and luscious, if anyone is shy about a goodnight kiss they won’t be after a flute or two of this!

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