You cannot brood over a prosecco.
— Eric Asimov, A Sip, a Smile, a Cheery Fizz, New York Times.
For most of my drinking life, I was a beer man. Oh, I usually had red wine with dinner ( I’ve never been into white wine unless it was truly good), but my go-to drink was beer. I enjoyed a good hopped up pilsner (Tuppers’ Hop Pocket Pils) or a mellower ale like Fuller’s ESB.
Alas, real life intervened to change my drinking habits. It started when I had to do something about my growing belly. Damn, there’s a lot of carbs in beer. I backed off a bit. Then I began to have stomach issues. I haven’t completely given up beer. I still enjoy it once in a while (Sweetwater Tavern’s Pale Ale continues to delight my tastebuds), but too often, after just one, I feel uncomfortably full. What am I going to do? I ain’t givin’ up drinkin’.
The Good Stuff
My wife and I have a tradition of shelling out some bucks for a good bottle of champagne when the occasion calls for it. As I’m sure you know, it’s easy to pay a lot of money for a bottle. While I have tried bottles in the $100+ range (Dom Pérignon most recently) and have found them to be quite good, they’re just not THAT good. I have found that the $40 range is where you’ll find the intersection of quality with value. There are many good choices: Moët & Chandon White Star, Perrier-Jouët Brut, but we find ourselves returning again and again to Veuve Clicquot. It hits our spot on the dry/sweet continuum and the flavor plays out well on the tongue. At that price, though, I cannot afford to drink it regularly.
Every Day Bubbly
My drinking habits changed when my wife bought me a bottle of Cristalino Cava Brut (now called Jaume Serra Cristalino). At first, I admit, I was leery. It’s $7.95 a bottle, how good can that be? Very, actually. And I’ve discovered it at Whole Foods for $6/bottle. It’s a little sweeter than the good stuff (don’t get the extra dry, it’s sweeter than the brut). Cava is now my go-to drink. I still have choices, too. Rondel is another bargain Cava Brut and 1 + 1 = 3 if I want something a little more fancy. You’re far more likely to find a glass of one of these in my hands these days than beer.
There’s a subset of bubbly that’s far sweeter than I usually like, but goes real well with dessert. Prosecco and Moscato d’Asti are excellent with a slice of cake, scoop of ice cream or even some cheese and fruit. They are among my favorite wines, but they’re specialists, not something I’d pour a glass of at the end of a long day.
So, come on over. We’ll pop a bottle and I’ll pour you a glass. The bubbles will take your bad moods away.