Here are five outstanding sparkling wines for your holiday celebrations, including two delicious champagnes and a standout California bubbly.
For more budget-conscious celebrants, we add two Spanish cavas that deliver the fizz at a comfier price.
(Ratings: three stars, exceptional; two stars, excellent; one star, very good)
Goutorbe Bouillot Reflets de Rivière Brut
Champagne, France, $54
This seductive wine comes from vineyards along the Marne River and its tributaries, thus the name. The blend is 60 percent pinot meunier, with the rest equal parts chardonnay and pinot noir.
I could happily sit and contemplate this wine, perhaps with light snacks or seafood. Alcohol by volume: 12%.
Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve
Beautifully ripe and toasty, this lovely champagne seems to speak of sunnier harvests than this northerly wine region is typically known for. It shows impressive depth and length as well, and provides some freshness dating on the label.
The bottle I tasted was cellared in 2011 and disgorged in 2018 — that extended aging in the house’s chalk cellars indicates quality, while the fairly recent disgorgement gives confidence that the wine hasn’t been kicking around for years in a warehouse or store. ABV: 12%.
Roederer Estate Brut L’Ermitage 2012
Anderson Valley, Calif., $54
Here’s a last-chance wine: L’Ermitage 2012 nearly sold out after Wine Spectator magazine ranked it No. 5 on its top 100 wines of the year list last month. This is the tête de cuvée from Roederer Estate, the California outpost of the Louis Roederer champagne house.
The company farms its vineyards biodynamically, and the care shows in this sophisticated, stylish bubbly.
The new vintage will be reaching stores soon, but you should be able to find some of the 2012 still available.
The Roederer Estate Brut is also consistently good, at a much lower price. ABV: 12.5%.
1+1=3 Cygnus Brut Nature
Cava, Spain, $20
This lovely cava comes from one of my favorite producers for bargain bubbly. Made from organically grown grapes, the wine is remarkably sophisticated, with baked apple and quince flavors kissed with citrus and pastry crust. It is not sweet, yet I’m craving apple pie. ABV: 11.5%.
Here’s a cava with bright flavors of red currant and raspberries, and a persistent finish. A fun, delightful quaff. ABV: 11.5%.
Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability.