More sparkling wine is sold and consumed in the U.S. during the year-end holidays than the rest of the year combined, largely because that’s when we celebrate, and sparkling wines are our favorite beverages of celebration. But while you are celebrating, give some thought as to how well these wines also match with food: Champagne and other types of sparkling wine have the flavors and acidity that make them excellent table wines throughout the year. (Some interesting choices are available from a new wine club called Pop Culture, dedicated exclusively to small-volume sparkling wines.) Here are 20 sparkling wines — 11 of them Champagne, and the rest from Alsace, California, Italy, and Greece — that can help you enjoy the holidays, or maybe just dinner.
The White Knight Prosecco NV ($15). A serviceable, entry-level bubbly with creamy, candied flavors.
Meyer-Fonné Crémant d’Alsace Brut Extra NV ($20). At first, soft flavors on the palate, followed by a pleasantly tart, green-fruit finish.
Dopff & Irion Crémant d’Alsace Blanc de Blancs NV ($22). A delicately spun flavor of cotton candy, with more savory notes in the finish — quite enjoyable, if a bit different.
Mumm Napa Brut Prestige NV ($22). From one of the earliest bubbly producers in Napa Valley, this release has creamy, candied flavors followed by a firm, lightly savory finish.
Sterling Vineyards Napa Valley Sparkling Rosé NV ($23). Very frothy, with pleasant light-cherry flavors that disappear a little too quickly.
Albert Mann Crémant d’Alsace Extra Brut NV ($24). Pleasant garden aromas of dried geranium leaf (really!) with lots of green fruit and green herbal flavors and a crisp finish.
Mumm Napa Brut Rosé NV ($24). Clean and crisp, with light strawberry and cherry flavors.
Sterling Vineyards Napa Valley Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine NV ($24). This is about as close as you will get to a prosecco-style bubbly from Napa — very creamy and lightly fruity-sweet.
Collet Art Déco Champagne Brut NV ($42). From one of Champagne’s best coops, this aged Collet is rich and fulfilling with a mild coda of crisp sherry flavors at the finish.
Eric Taillet Bansionensi Champagne Extra Brut NV ($42). Pinot meunier has always been a secondary grape in Champagne — the third wheel to the dominant chardonnay and pinot noir — but now there is a group of producers who want to make it sparkle on its own. This one is 100 percent meunier, and in many ways it has the flavors of a table wine, with a light, red-berry glaze hovering above the acidity of the bubbles, adding up to a wine that would go well with dinner.
Laurent-Perrier Harmony Demi-Sec Champagne NV ($43). Very pleasant if not awe-inspiring, with the light sweetness of tea cookies and lots of foaming bubbles.
Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée Champagne Brut NV ($45). Elegant yet assertive, with a very light lemon flavor; still somewhat tightly wound, but with great structure.
Besserat de Bellefon Cuvée Les Moines Brut Champagne NV ($50). A very good prelude to a nice meal, with tart, crisp apple flavors and appealing freshness.
Bruno Paillard Champagne Première Cuvée Brut NV ($50). Paillard’s wines always stand out; this one is rich and bold yet refined, with mature citrus notes and a touch of creaminess.
Moët & Chandon Champagne Brut Imperial NV ($53). A bold bubbly with bready, yeasty notes and a dollop of light custard — excellent with mellow cheeses.
Pol Roger Champagne Brut NV ($55). Creamy, rich, and full-bodied.
Laurent-Perrier Champagne Ultra-Brut NV ($58). Lively, tart, green-fruit flavors, but also some notes of the reserve wines included in the blend, with brioche yeastiness and light tannins.
Taittinger Champagne Brut 2012 ($75). Superb — rich, intense, and flavorful, with a tangy, appetite-inducing, mineral finish.
Boizel Grand Vintage Champagne 2007 ($81). Delightfully young for its age — still very fresh, with great intensity and rich citrus flavors.
Want something a little stronger? Here are 13 spirited gift bottles.