‘Tis the season of celebration and often the first thing that comes to people’s minds (at least in our world) is opening a nice bottle of bubbles! Whether it’s New Years Eve or Christmas morning, there’s nothing like the sound of a cork popping to liven up the occasion. Often people assume that most sparkling wines taste the same. The truth is however that sparkling wine can be as diverse as any other category, with styles ranging from rich and decadent (think freshly baked brioche covered in candied nuts) to clean and fresh (think aromas of fresh linen and crisp apples). Sparkling wines also come in all levels of sweetness and in many different colours. There really is a sparkling wine for every taste, and here are six of our favourites:
Budget Bubbles – Gazela Sparkling Vinho Verde – $15.50 including tax + deposit
For those looking for a sparkling option that won’t break the bank, this refreshing bubbly from north-east Portugal is a great value. A great alternative for prosecco drinkers, the reasonable price tag also makes it a guilt free mimosa option as well!
Think Pink – Pares Balta Rose Cava – $32.50
For those who prefer to think pink, this rose Cava is a great choice. Produced from organically grown Pinot Noir in the Spanish region of Penedes, this dry rose shows intense flavours of strawberry, black pepper and rhubarb. Amazing on its own, this is also a great pairing with smoked salmon or even a simple bruschetta.
Bubbles for Red Wine Drinkers – Pronto Lambrusco – $22
While a sparkling red might seem like an odd concept, the Italians have been producing vibrant sparkling reds from the Lambrusco family of grapes for some time. Unfortunately Lambrusco earned a dubious reputation (much like rose wines in North America) due to some sickly sweet, poor quality examples that flooded the market in the 70’s and 80’s. Thankfully Lambrusco has been making a come back thanks to stellar examples such as this. The Pronto has a gorgeous deep purple colour and displays complex flavours of red berry, cured meat, tobacco and spice. A perfect match for a pre-meal charcuterie/cheese selection!
The Wine Geek’s Delight – Sea Smoke Sea Spray – $125
Only five cases of this extremely rare gem made their way to Alberta, and we were lucky enough to snag one of them. Sea Smoke is one of California’s top cult producers of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Sea Spray is sourced from select lots in their famous Sea Smoke Estate Vineyard in the cool Santa Rita Hills appellation. The first fermentation takes place in neutral French oak barrels where the wine ages for 6 months sur lie, followed by an additional 16 months bottle aging “en tirage” in the traditional Champagne method. Crazy stuff. Crazy rare. Crazy good!
The Splurge – Krug Grande Cuvee Magnum – $460
What’s better than a bottle of one of the world’s greatest Champagnes? A giant bottle of a world class Champagne! Krug Grande Cuvee is a true masterpiece. A non-vintage cuvee, the Grande Cuvee is always a blend of 100+ wines with 10 or more vintages included. Once the blend is made, the Champagne is aged for an additional 6 years in bottle before being released. Truly one of the most powerful and complex wines in Champagne, this is a stunning example of one of the world’s great wine styles. A sure bet if you’re looking to ratchet things up a notch!