Regardless of where you are in the world, the New Year is typically cause for celebration.
The prevailing weather, on the other hand, might be quite different. In two of the major wine-producing countries I cover, it’s the heart of summer. Days are long and warm, and gatherings are often informal, even if the events and settings can be spectacular, such as the fireworks over Sydney Harbor.
The time calls for lightweight sparkling wines that are equal parts celebration and refreshment. Fortunately, Tasmania and New Zealand offer plenty of cool-climate options that fit this precise description. Here are five of my favorites.
Under the same ownership as Yalumba, this may be the easiest of these wines to track down outside Australia. It’s pale coppery in hue, with toast and citrus notes that finish on a crisp note.
This 60/40 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay spent five years on the yeast and received a small 5 grams per liter dosage, making it especially crisp and clean on the lingering finish.
Despite being partly barrel-fermented, this blend of 55% Chardonnay and 45% Pinot Noir remains crisp, clean and fresh, with lemon and ginger notes.
A 70/30 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, aged at least three years on the lees to develop nutty, toasty notes that perfectly complement the citrusy fruit.
From Central Otago, winemaker Rudi Bauer has been making this cuvée for decades and it remains one of New Zealand’s most reliable bottlings, crisp, intense and refreshing.