Is it just us or is the pop of a cork on sparkling wine the universal call for celebration? It has its roots, as many delicious things do, in France.
After the French Revolution, where cavalry officers commonly celebrated battle victories by opening bottles of bubbly on the battlefield, drinking Champagne to celebrate secular and religious events became the norm, and the tradition spread across the world.
Sparkling wine has also likely become a symbol of celebration because of its effervescent nature, and its tendency to literally overflow bottles and glasses with seemingly exuberant joy.
The populace of the Garden State knows how to have a good time, so it should come as no surprise that vintners here are particularly adept at crafting party-worthy sparklers. Read on for celebration-ready wines, and what you should plan on pairing with them!
For a Fun Family Feast
Tomasello Winery has been cultivating great wine from 70 acres of estate vineyards in the Outer Coastal Plain since 1933. The Blanc de Blanc Sparkling Wine is an iconic example of what New Jersey terroir is capable of. Made in the methode champenoise, the Vidal Blanc cuvée is pleasantly dry, with notes of orange marmalade and toasted brioche.
Pair With: This wine is extraordinarily food-friendly, and will pair beautifully with Paella, and roasted or fried chicken, anything on the raw bar, spicy noodles and a range of cheeses.
For a Portable Party
Hawk Haven Vineyard was founded in 2008 by husband and wife duo Todd and Kenna Wuerker, and ever since then, the pair have been growing their line of wines, which now includes award-winning Merlots, Cabernet Sauvignon, Méthode Chamepenoise Brut and … canned sparkling rosé. Each can is 250 ml, which is equal to a glass and a half of wine, and ideal for a mobile party vibe. The Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache blend is fun and exuberant, with notes of white peaches, grapefruit, strawberries and vanilla.
Pair With: This off-dry rosé works with classic party snacks, from BBQ to lightly spiced dishes and fried anything.
For Italy Lovers
If you can’t choose between popping a Prosecco and a Garden State wine, have it both ways with the Villa Neri Spumante Secco. Hopewell Valley Vineyards is located at the base of Sourland Mountains, close to the Delaware Valley, with clay loam soils. This sparkler is crafted from the Glera grape, which is traditionally used to make Prosecco in Italy’s Veneto region, and Moscato.
Pair With: Cured meats, especially Italian classics like Prosciutto di Parma, Salami and Capicola. Also works with hearty, salty and rich pastas, from Bolognese to Fettuccine Alfredo.
For a Sip of Summer
New Jersey’s classic wines are toast worthy year-round, but don’t forget about the Garden State’s “other” fruit wines. Old York Cellars crafts fruit wines from New Jersey-grown grapes that are delicious, surprisingly complex sips of summer. The Sparkling Blueberry weighs in at just 10.5% alcohol too, which helps if you have a long night of revelry ahead.
Pair With: This sweet and tart sip is a great accompaniment to the dessert course. Cheesecake, macarons, holiday cookies, cannolis … all excellent companions.
If you love a fantastically dry, classically made sparkling wine, step right up. Wine Enthusiast, James Suckling and Robert Parker have all given William Heritage’s sparkling wines enthusiastic thumbs up, and we’re guessing you’ll approve too. The 2019 Blanc de Noirs delivers notes of brioche, lemon zest, oyster shell, saline.
Pair With: This Blanc de Noirs is flexible. Delicious with plain old French fries, snacky foods like nuts and popcorn, a range of aged and funky cheeses, but also duck and venison.
For Something Different
Beneduce Vineyards has set out to prove that world-class wines can be grown in Hunterdon County terroir. The small-batch wines are made by fourth-generation farmers who first planted vines in 2009, and since their first vines rolled out the door, the wines have impressed with their premium quality and ingenuity. The 2022 Chambrusco is a perfect example of their commitment to excellence and fun: a dry frizzante-style Chambourcin with notes of black plum, roasted herbs and citrus zest.
Pair With: Like a lot of the sparklers we feature, the Chambourcin is flexible, but Italian cured meats, hard aged cheeses and meaty or Margherita pizzas are some of our favorite ways to go.