Celebrate New Year's with Israeli Bubbly

Yonatan Sternberg explains what’s what for celebrating New Year’s Eve with local sparklers!

For years, Champagne and its sparkling siblings have been and are still considered celebration wines the world over, and as such are usually uncorked to mark special occasions. It doesn't matter if you're celebrating a birthday, wedding anniversary, graduation or simply a romantic dinner. The hollow clout and the aromas released when one opens a bottle of sparkling wine serve as a signal to let the festivities begin. Though I am unsure as to when or where the tradition began, it seems to me that come New Year’s Eve most people just have to have a bottle of the bubbly.

Following is a listing of several Israeli sparkling wines to keep things local this New Year’s Eve:

Yarden, Blanc de Blancs 2001 - Blanc de Blanc or white of white, means that the sparkling wine is made exclusively from white grapes and in this case 100% Chardonnay. Considered by many as Israel’s top champagne style wine, the Yarden, Blanc de Blanc, 2001 offers pleasant yeasty aromas along with tropical fruits and citrus peel. The bubbles are sharp and follow through to a long and clean finish. If you are lucky enough to find a bottle on the shelf, this would be an excellent way to start off the New Year.

Pelter, Blanc de Blancs Non Vintage (NV) - Again made from 100% Chardonnay grapes, Pelter's sparkling wine is produced in the traditional Champagne method, allowing a second fermentation in the bottle. Overall a very good bubbly (though a bit pricey) suggesting hints of yeast, lemon zest, citrus and peaches all leading to a long and pleasant finish.

Gamla, Brut NV - Another bubbly from the Golan Heights winery, the Gamla Brut is a very dry and refreshing sparkling wine. Produced from 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay grapes, light gold in color, the wine suggests aromas of flowers, red berry fruits and citrus. The winery recommends serving the Gamla Brut as an aperitif or alongside sushi and light fish dishes.

This year Golan Heights Winery will also be offering the Gamla Brut in a small bottle (375 Ml.). This is an ideal solution for couples who want to celebrate New Year's Eve intimately and avoid the crowds.

Tishbi, Brut, 2008 - Tishbi Brut is produced using French Colombard grapes grown in vineyards surrounding Zichron Ya'acov. Pale straw with gold reflections in color and with rather pleasant bubbles, this is a light sparkling wine, showing mild aromas of lemon zest and green apples. Serve chilled in a tall flute glass as an aperitif or with light starters.

Private Collection, Brut NV - A blend of French Colombard, Chardonnay and Viognier, the Private Collection NV is produced by the Carmel Winery. The wine offers generous aromas of green apples, flowers, lemon zest and hints of yeast all leading to a clean and refreshing finish.

Happy New Year!