Nothing gets the party started like sparkling wine - the sound of a popping cork is music to everyone's ears and a cue to celebrate! While Champagne may be the most familiar and iconic bubbly, wonderful sparkling wines are made around the globe. Many sparkling wines are made in the Champagne method, via a second fermentation in the bottle, but only those from the Champagne region of France can legally be classified as Champagne. The holiday season is the perfect time to explore sparkling wines from different regions. Your tastebuds and your wallet will thank you - these wines are generally less expensive than Champagne but deliver tremendous quality. My picks include sparkling white and rosé wines from Italy, New Zealand, France, and the USA. Cheers!
McBride Sisters Sparkling Brut Rosé ($19.99)
Each bottle of McBride Sisters wine has something no other winery in the world can compete with - the heartwarming, dramatic, and true story of two sisters who grew up on different continents, completely unaware of each other's existence for nearly half their lives. After many twists & turns that merit a major motion picture, Robin (the California sister) and Andréa (from New Zealand) finally connected in 1999. In addition to their shared DNA, they discovered a mutual love and expert knowledge of wine and were inspired to create their namesake business. McBride Sisters Sparkling Rosé from New Zealand is crafted from mostly Pinot Noir and a kiss of Chardonnay from the acclaimed Marlborough region where Andréa grew up. Stunning to the eye, it dances across the palate with lively strawberry, rose petal, and cranberry flavors with hints of spice and a creamy finish. A wonderful wine with plenty of heart!
Ferrari Brut Trentodoc ($25)
This stellar sparkling wine from the mountains of Italy shows that there's more to Italian bubbles than Prosecco. Combining the words Trento (the city of origin) and the appellation indicator DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata/controlled designation of origin), Trentodoc refers exclusively to sparkling wines produced in the Metodo Classico (like Champagne) from grapes grown in Trentino, in northeast Italy. For Italians, and others in the know, Ferrari Trentodoc is synonymous with excellence and the winery has the prestigious awards to prove it. 100% Chardonnay, Ferrari Brut dazzles with tremendous nuance and balance between refreshing citrus flavors and hints of brioche. Absolutely elegant!
Willm Cremant d'Alsace Blanc de Noirs Brut ($15)
This beauty from the Alsace region in northeast France delivers plenty of panache at a very pretty price. 100% Pinot Noir, this sparkling white wine retains satisfying hints of the grape's flirty red berry flavors. Delicate but well-structured, it is a real pleasure to sip and a great wine to pair with some creamy French cheeses! To get some expert tips on the best pairings, visit the French Cheese Board!
Martini & Rossi Sparkling Rosé ($12)
Let go of any pre-conceived notions that you may have about the iconic brand Martini & Rossi. I was absolutely surprised at the utter deliciousness of this wine! A sparkling rosé should be fun and Martini & Rossi captures joy in a wine that is fruity and refreshing, but not too sweet, with mouthwatering flavors of strawberries and raspberries. Winemaker Giorgio Castagnotti describes the beguiling shade as "Disco Pink." A true party in a bottle!
Sterling Vineyards Blanc de Blancs 2016 ($35)
A chic sparkling wine with great American style - this snazzy silver bottle is ready to party! Inside is a beautifully crafted bubbly made from 100% Chardonnay grapes from a single vineyard in Napa Valley. With exuberant fresh citrus flavors, luscious creamy texture, and fine persistent bubbles; this California charmer is precise and playful.