Sponsored: ’Tis the season for “Sparkling”

“All Champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is Champagne.”

Many only pop open a bottle or enjoy a glass of “Sparkling” once per year, on New Year’s Eve. But “Sparkling” is a cultural icon associated closely with many special occasions.

There’s the first toast at a wedding; breaking open a bottle of bubbly in celebration of a birth; buying a house; celebrating a job promotion. Perhaps that’s exactly why “Sparkling” is so intertwined with New Year’s Eve celebrations – because that first toast of the year leads us, or reminds us, of every other celebration that’s going to take place over the next year.

“It’s symbolic,” Brian Price, a wine expert who helps curate the wine selection at Liquor Barn and Party Mart stores, said of the time-honored “Sparkling” toast. “It’s a very powerful celebration ritual; everybody knows it is a celebration when you have that nice cork in the cage.”

Because none of these rituals is as iconic as the launch of a new year – when friends and families gather together to say goodbye to the year that was and to toast the promise of the year that lies ahead – the overwhelming question becomes: Which “Sparkling” should I buy?

That’s where stores like Liquor Barn and Party Mart come in. At any given Liquor Barn or Party Mart store, there may be more than 300 different sparkling wines, ensuring there’s something for everyone.

If you’re looking for a true high-end kickoff to 2019, Liquor Barn has a limited-release Dom Perignon Chef de Cave Legacy Edition. At a little more than $200, the special edition bottles are certainly a treat. And Price made sure that every case available in Kentucky went to Liquor Barn.

“It’s great for collectors and awesome for gifts,” he said.

Of course, the spirits experts at Liquor Barn know not everyone wants to drop more than $200 for a bottle of wine, sparkling or otherwise. That’s where fellow wine expert Amy McIntosh comes in – her specialty is to scour the market for the best sparkling wines for a more conservative New Year’s Eve budget.

Most know that true Champagne comes from a specific region in France, a few miles outside Paris. But sparkling wines produced in the nearby Burgundy region are made with some of the same grapes. And those Burgundy sparkling wines can offer the same quality at a much more affordable price – some in the $12-$18 per bottle range, according to McIntosh.

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“It’s aged almost as long as Champagne,” she said. “You still get the great quality at a great price.”

If planning to host your own New Year get-together or looking for the right bottle and/or gifts to take to a party, Liquor Barn and Party Mart also stock all the “Sparkling” accessories you need. 

Hosting or attending a party and not sure what everyone in attendance will want to sip? Liquor Barn has pre-packaged groups of six wines for $50 for those who may not know quite what to look for. Each bag has various sparkling, white, red and sweet wines.

“Something for everyone,” McIntosh said, to which Price adds, “Just go in and grab it. Grab and go.”

All year long you can create custom gift baskets or collections of your own, choosing from the vast selection curated by Liquor Barn’s wine experts. With more than 3,000 wines in their inventory, there is never a shortage of all levels of quality and price ranges to suit your needs. For McIntosh and Price, creating that selection is arguably the most fulfilling part of their roles.

“We spend our days tirelessly trying to find these wines that are under-valued,” Price said. 

“That’s one of the fun things about wine, you always find something new and different,” added McIntosh.

And if you find yourself about to host a New Year party and aren’t sure you bought enough bubbly, you can always call your nearest Liquor Barn or Party Mart store or use the Liquor Barn app to order delivery. For a service charge of just $5 – and always free for orders over $75 – you can have anything and everything you need delivered right to your door.

And let’s face it, you don’t want to celebrate New Year’s Eve without the celebration icon that is “Sparkling”. No matter what other beverages are being served at the party, you know everyone will opt for a glass of bubbly when the clock strikes midnight. It’s a can’t miss.

“You don’t have to know what people like, because if you come with a bottle of bubbly it’s the perfect gift,” Price said.

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