Sparkling wines are wines of the world — they are made everywhere, it seems — and their effervescence has made them favorites for life’s large moments. Here are 29 of them, half priced under $20, to finish off 2016 and start 2017.
Sparkling wines don’t just have to be just for celebration if your year has been a joyous one, though. We also need a wine to drink when we’re melancholy — auld lang syne — and sparkling wines also serve that purpose.
It might be well to remember the famous maxim of Madame Bollinger, doyenne of one of the grandest Champagne houses: “I drink Champagne when I'm happy and when I'm sad. Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I'm not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it — unless I'm thirsty.”
Boschendal South Africa Brut Rosé NV ($10). Good combo of dried red fruits and refreshing tartness.
François Montand Blanc de Blancs Brut NV ($12). Full on the palate with some stone fruit flavors and good minerality.
Zardetto “Z” Prosecco Brut NV ($14). Earthier flavors than in most proseccos.
The Other Guys “The White Knight” Treviso Prosecco NV ($15). Not delicate but interesting, offering candied, creamy flavors with metallic notes in the finish.
Côté Mas Crémant de Limoux Brut NV ($16). Smooth and creamy with a savory finish and a touch of yeastiness.
Côté Mas Vin de France Blanc de Blancs Brut NV ($16). Lots of bubbles, but the flavors are like those of a table wine (not a bad thing, really) with savory fruitiness and some refreshing bitterness.
Juvé y Camps “Essential” Xarel.lo Cava Reserva 2013 ($16). Cavas sometimes have a pleasant whiff of dried geranium leaf to them — spicy and enjoyable — and this one has it from the beginning with plump red fruits followed by a savory crispness.
Lafleur de François Crémant de Bordeaux Brut Rosé NV ($16). Lovely peach flavors (and colors) with medium weight, lots of effervescence, and a touch of tanginess in finish.
Tommasi “Tenuta Filodora” Prosecco Brut NV ($16). Plenty of fluffy prosecco fruitiness with vegetal notes in the finish.
Valdo Prosecco Brut NV ($16). Prosecco producers don’t like their wine to be compared with Champagne, but here it’s a plus: Minerality and crispness accompany the typical floral prosecco traits. A good value.
Fitz-Ritter Pfalz Riesling Sekt Extra Trocken NV ($19). Not a great sparkler, but yet somehow a seductive one, with creamy, pastel notes and some dusty tannins.
Louis Bouillot Édition Limitée Crémant de Bourgogne Extra Brut NV ($19). Very enjoyable and well-structured with rich creaminess and some apple flavors.
Mumm Napa North Coast Brut Rosé NV ($19). Good flavors of dark cherries and ripe strawberries, providing very enjoyable sipping.
Mumm Napa Napa Valley Prestige Brut NV ($19). Soft and creamy at first but with tart minerality in its finish.
Szigeti Burgenland Pinot Noir Rosé Brut NV ($21). Aromas of buttered popcorn with tightly knit structure; a little gamy — definitely a food wine.
Valdo “Oro Puro” Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore NV ($21). Just think of soft bubbles, good acidity, and pure pear flavors.
Ceretto Moscato d’Asti 2015 ($22). Fizzy more than sparkling (it demands a corkscrew) with delicious, exotic fruitiness and lots of sweetness, but also lots of acidity — a sparkling bonbon with a very low alcohol (5.5 percent), good for the designated driver.
Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut NV ($22). Creamy, pastel fruit with lots of volume on the palate and pleasant pungency in the finish.
Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé NV ($22). Good structure with dried red fruits and savory, vegetal notes.
Colmant Western Cape Brut Reserve NV ($24). Very nice with fresh-cut apple flavors and some creaminess.
Loimer Austria Extra Brut NV ($25). Made mainly from grüner veltliner and zweigelt grapes, this is more a food wine than a charmer with dried fruit flavors and closing crispness.
Domaine Carneros by Taittinger Carneros Brut 2012 ($33). Very rich, a little gamy, and long on the palate with brioche flavors in the finish.
Domaine Carneros by Taitiinger Cuvée de la Pompadour Carneros Brut Rosé NV ($37). Creamy, lots of bubbles, hints of fresh apple, and good minerality.
Arlaux Grande Cuvée Premier Cru Brut NV ($38). Rich and creamy but very fresh with notes of dark vanilla; unusual, as it is made with 60 percent pinot meunier, Champagne’s “other” grape, but quite enjoyable.
Collet “Art Deco” Brut NV ($42). Fresh and lemony, yet with some enticing toasty brioche flavors.
Arlaux Premier Cru Brut Rosé NV ($46). A big mouthful of bubbles, creamy with flavors of dried cherries and cranberries.
Charles Heidsieck Rosé Brut Reserve NV ($71). Delicious — a great combination of fruit and minerality with some light brioche notes added for richness.
Louis Roederer and Philippe Starck Brut Nature 2009 ($84). Nice meaty aromas; tightly knit, earthy, and savory with a crisp, tart finish — ideal with good caviar.
Collet “Esprit Couture” Brut NV ($120). Quite enjoyable with crisp minerality and lots of rich brioche from reserve wines — a great way to end the year.