#Brilliant Pairings: Fizz the Season!

by Robin Barr Sussman on December 19, 2018 in Food+Drink, Drink,
Cover MoetChandon MCIII e1544638742240

While shopping for holiday gifts, scout out the bubbly for a New Year’s Eve toast or party. You might as well stock up on sales or favorites you discover because Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Here are some tried and true bottles in all price ranges from many beloved regions.

We’ve also included a recipe for decadent Truffle Popcorn, a fun and savory party nibble that pairs magically with Champagne, sparkling wine or prosecco. Happy New Year!


Moet & Chandon, Champagne, France

This sophisticated Champagne house consistently impresses from packaging to flavor. Of the wide variety of styles including the new exclusive MC111 ($650 magnum), Imperial Brut is the most approachable at about $35. Moet also makes mini bottles—think party favors ($15 each).

Buy it: Spec’s, Total Wine & More, The Austin Wine Merchant, most supermarkets.

Nicolas Feuillatte, Champagne, France

Photo courtesy Nicolas Feuillatte

Here’s a big bang for the buck with characteristics that channel some of the finest from the region. Terrific with sushi, fried chicken, cheese soufflé or fruit tarts. Blue label, about $25.

Buy it: Spec’s, Total Wine & More, Houston Wine Merchant.


Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, Italy

Uncork these perfectly dry and deliciously affordable sparkles from the region of Italy’s Prosecco Superiore DOCG (the highest classification Italian wines can be awarded): Cinzia Sommariva; Conte Collalto extra dry; and Bortolomiol. About $13-30.

Buy it: Houston Wine Merchant, Spec’s.


Mumm Napa, Napa Valley

Photo courtesy Mumm Napa

Brut Prestige (crisp with aromas of apple and ginger and flavors of raspberry and spice) and Brut Reserve are solid choices to consider. Brut Prestige, about $15.

Buy it: Spec’s, Total Wine & More, most supermarkets.

Domaine Carneros, Carneros

Photo courtesy Domaine Carneros

Of the many lovely tiers to choose in this portfolio, the tongue-tingling dry Brut combined with fruit-forward Chardonnay and Pinot grapes is best for groups. About $25.

Buy it: Spec’s, Total Wine & More, Houston Wine Merchant.

Chandon, Napa Valley

The first French-owned California sparkling wine company produces a huge and impressive tasting array including reserves, vintage, magnums, minis and artsy limited editions. Easy to get in on the fun! Brut Classic, about $16.

Buy it: Spec’s, Total Wine & More, most supermarkets.

Meiomi Sparkling, North Coast

Photo courtesy Meiomi

Meiomi sparkling wine has flavors of crunchy pears and a honey layer over a slight yeastiness minerality. Rosé or Brut, about $22.

Buy it: Spec’s, Total Wines & More, most supermarkets.


Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut, Columbia Valley

An easy drinking steal with crisp apple and pear notes and a full body reminiscent of the brand’s excellent still wines. About $13.

Buy it: Spec’s, most supermarkets

The Brilliant Pairing

Chandon’s Truffle Popcorn (Click photo for recipe)

Truffle Popcorn is a salty, savory and earthy nibble that marries well with palate-refreshing bubbly. For a party, serve the warm popcorn in a large footed bowl with small serving bowls or festive mini Chinese take-out containers.

Robin Barr Sussman is a freelance culinary and travel writer who studied at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone California. As a chef for Sonoma County wineries, her specialty was food and wine pairing. Sussman’s work appears in Texas Monthly, Fodor’s, and Private Clubs Magazine.