Let’s pop some bubbly! It’s that time of year folks. The time of year where store shelves are stocked high with sparkling wines the same way they are inundated with rosé in the summertime.
And while I drink bubbles year-round (heck yeah, even in a blizzard!), I do recognize that it’s this time of year when sparkling sales are at their peak, and the options are endless. It can even be a little daunting to chose the right bottle of bubbly in a sea of unfamiliar bottles on the shelves. So what to chose for your occasion?
Below are nine lovely examples I tasted recently. These would be good for those of you looking for some bubbly for a holiday party, New Years Eve toast, or just your average Thursday night sipper while catching up on Scandal. At the end you’ll find some additional resources on sparkling wines, because I just love bubbles and can’t get enough of them in my life.
Sparkling Wine from the U.S.
J Vineyards & Winery “Cuvée 20″ Brut Rosé NV (Russian River Valley, California)
Grapes: 66% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay, 1% Pinot Meunier
12.5% abv ~ $38 (media sample)
I loved this wine! Fresh and vibrant aromas of strawberry and sweet brioche lead the way into a creamy mouthfeel with some mandarin orange zest, more berries, with a lingering savoriness on the palate. This wine is bright, well-balanced, and elegant through the very last sip. At $38 many might consider this a splurge wine, but it’s certainly worth it for the quality. This is a great one to have on hand for upcoming holiday celebrations, or just a quiet night cuddling by the fire (and yes, I absolutely drink bubbly while cuddling by a fire!). First reviewed here.
J Vineyards & Winery “Cuvée 20″ Brut NV (Sonoma County, California)
Grapes: 54% Chardonnay, 44% Pinot Noir, 2% Pinot Meunier
12% abv ~ $28 (media sample)
Lively and crisp on the nose, full of lemon, orange peel, sweet pears and juicy apricots. Nice and creamy on the mouth this would be a nice all around bubbly, good for appetizers or main courses like roast chicken. Though it retails for $28 I’ve seen it as low as $20.
Dr. Konstantin Frank ‘Chateau Frank’ Célèbre Rosé (Finger Lakes, New York)
Grapes: 100% Pinot Meunier
11% abv ~ $20 (purchased)
Dr. Konstantin Frank, the well-known producer out of the Finger Lakes Region of New York, has a sister label with some lovely sparkling wines, including this Chateau Frank Célèbre Rosé. Hubs bought this last time he was visiting family in Rochester, and I’m so glad he did, since it’s hard to come by New York wines in Oregon.
A fruity nose with fresh strawberry, raspberry, and even watermelon aromas. Vibrant and expressive berry fruit flavors in the mouth, and a touch of sweetness on the finish. This would be a great host gift if you want to bring someone a wine from a region that’s hard to come by on the west coast.
Sparkling Wine from France
Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé NV (Alsace, France)
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir
12% abv ~ $20 (media sample)
This has been one of my favorite go-to bubblies since I can remember. It never fails to impress, you can find it nearly everywhere, and is priced just right. Elegant strawberry and raspberry aromas lead to a lively mouth full of savory, herbal, and berry fruit flavors, and just the slightest hint of sweetness. Definitely a crowd pleasing party wine.
Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut NV (Alsace, France)
Grapes: 50% Pinot Blanc, 25% Pinot Gris & 25% Riesling
12% ~ $20 (media sample)
Less widely available than it’s rosé sibling above, but it’s indeed another fantastic example from Lucien Albrecht. Fresh, vibrant, and slightly tart with some green apple and lemon peel. Very fine bubbles last long on this clean, dry, and elegant wine, leaving you with a lingering savoriness. There’s nothing over the top on this balanced bubbly. This is a nice sipper to enjoy with a small group of friends or to begin your dinner party with.
Other Crémant d’Alsace wines I’ve enjoyed this year:
- Charles Baur Crémant d’Alsace Rosé ($19)
- Gustave Lorentz Crémant d’Alsace Brut ($24)
Sparkling Wine from Italy
Berlucchi Cuvée 61 Rosé Brut NV (Franciacorta DOCG, Italy)
Grapes: 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay
12.5% abv ~ $35 (media sample)
The first thing I noticed is that this wine is not shy, as evident by it’s intense salmon color and lively bright strawberry and cranberry aromas. A little tangy on the mouth with a delicious savoriness that lingers on long after you sip the wine. This wine is lively and spirited, kinda like a toddler (but without the temper tantrums!).
A great celebratory wine, but would be great with food too. It’s a full-flavored bubbly that would stand up to big flavored foods. Try with appetizers at your next holiday party, or cheese and charcuterie plates. It retails for $35 but you can find it as low as $25. First reviewed here.
Valdo ‘Oro Puro’ Brut Prosecco Superiore NV (Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, Italy)
Grapes: 100% Glera
11.5% ~ abv $20 (media sample)
Prosecco often gets lumped into the category of cheap and sweet. However, there are plenty of quality high-end bubbles being produced in this region and this is one of them. With bright pear aromas, apple, tropical pineapple and a touch of banana, this wine is clean and crisp with more lively pear flavors on the palate and finish. The bubbles are remarkably fine and palate is smooth. Would be lovely with food, but has the umph to stand alone as an aperitif.
Bubbly from Spain
Anna de Codorníu Brut Rosé Cava NV (Penedès, Spain)
Grapes: 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay
12%abv ~ $15 (media sample)
Vibrant, bright, and bold with lots of cherry, strawberry, and cranberry aromas filling the glass, with more cranberry flavors that burst on the palate. This is a lively wine that holds its bold flavors through the final sip. Would be a good choice for your New Years midnight toast, as it would awaken the palate after a night of celebrating.
Paul Cheneau ‘Lady of Spain’ Cava Brut NV (Penedès, Spain)
Grapes: 45% Macabeo, 40% Xarel·lo and 15% Parellada Alcohol: 12.0%
12% abv ~ $14 (media sample)
Dry, with citrus notes of lemon and grapefruit. The bubbles dissipate faster than I like, but for the price, this makes for a nice value Cava. Though the suggested retail for this wine is $14, you can find it as low as $10, making it a great option for mimosas of your favorite sparkling wine cocktails. Try it in this Pomegranate Mimosa.
More Sparkling Wine Resources
- For some sparkling examples under $10 for your larger parties, check out this post.
- Or if you’re really looking to impress someone this holiday season, check out two of my all time favorite sparkling wines in this post on Splurge Worthy Wines.
- For more on Champagne and other sparkling wines check out these two posts:
- And see my sparkling wine recommendations from last year in this article I wrote for Serious Eats — Perfect Party Wine: Sparkling Wine Under $20