Best Sparkling Wine

The sparkling wine Champagne is named after the northern region of France where it’s produced. Other regions of France, as well as other countries, make sparkling wine, but only those from Champagne may be called Champagne.

Supposedly the eighteenth-century blind Benedictine monk, Dom Pérignon, accidentally discovered how to put the bubbles in Champagne when his wines started fermenting again in the spring after the cold winter had stopped them. Other records attribute this discovery to the British scientist Christopher Merret thirty years before Pérignon.

Pérignon is credited widely with improving the techniques of blending wines from different years as well as the three principle grapes used: the white grape Chardonnay and two red grapes, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.

My reviews of these best value Sparkling wines are updated weekly. These Sparkling wines offer great taste at a good price. You'll find a definition of Sparkling at the bottom of this page as well as food pairings for Sparkling in my wine matcher. This is just a sampling of my reviews, but you can get all of them when you join my wine community.

Georges Gardet Brut Cuvée Saint Flavy Champagne
A.C., Champagne, France
Toasty and complex with layers of fresh orchard fruit yet a robust depth as well. Alcohol: 12%  Sweetness: Extra Dry  750 ml  Drink: 2012‐2017  Top Rated Sparkling Wine  Price: $39.95 Score: 92/100

This Champagne was reviewed October 13, 2012 by Natalie MacLean

LCBO: 924654  Check Stock

Henriot Brut Souverain
Champagne, France
Classic! Bring me back to champagne always. Toasty, elegant, refined, with gorgeous aromas of fresh brioche and green apple. Great aperitif for the holidays, especially to bring in the New Year. Cheers! Alcohol: 12.5%  Sweetness: Extra Dry  750 ml  Drink: 2013‐2016  Gorgeous Gift Wine  Top Rated Sparkling Wine  Price: $59.95 Score: 92/100

This wine was reviewed December 7, 2013 by Natalie MacLean

LCBO: 959643  472 in stock

Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut Méthode Traditionnelle Rosé
California, United States
Gorgeous aromas of cherry and toast. This wine won't benefit from aging, so enjoy now: carpe diem and top me up! Alcohol: 13.1%  Sweetness: Dry  750 ml  Drink: 2013‐2015  Terrific Turkey Wine  Top Rated Sparkling Wine  Price: $38.95 Score: 91/100

This Rosé was reviewed October 12, 2013 by Natalie MacLean

LCBO: 329813  512 in stock

Roederer Estate Sparkling Non-Vintage Brut
Anderson Valley, Sonoma, California, United States
A favorite California bubbly that I’ve recommended year after year. This sparkler has notes of yellow apples, toasty oak and a tasty spice finish. Robust and deep so it can handle more flavorful dishes. Sparkling Non-Vintage Brut food pairings: veal, venison, roast meats, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, hard cheeses. Alcohol: 12%  Sweetness: Dry  750 ml  Best Value Sparkling Wine  Price: $28.95 Score: 90/100

This Sparkling Non-Vintage Brut was reviewed December 6, 2008 by Natalie MacLean

LCBO: 294181  392 in stock
SAQ: 294181  Check Stock

Billecart-Salmon Brut Champagne Rosé
A.C., Champagne, France
Gorgeous and full of finesse and elegance. Fleeting fielding raspberry notes. Layered and long. My fav rose champagne hands down. This half bottle size is perfect when you want a glass and half each to start the meal. Alcohol: 12%  Sweetness: Extra Dry  375 ml  Drink: 2013‐2018  Gorgeous Gift Wine  Top Rated Sparkling Wine  Price: $49.95 Score: 94/100

This Rosé was reviewed August 31, 2013 by Natalie MacLean

LCBO: 924670  Check Stock
SAQ: 10866748  Check Stock

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The process today still involves a first fermentation to make the still, acidic wine. Then, before bottling, a small amount of wine, sugar and yeast is added (“liqueur de triage”) to trigger a second fermentation in the bottle, where the carbon dioxide bubbles are trapped. The bottle is gradually tilted upside down (riddling), by hand or machine, and eventually the dead yeast cells gather in the neck and are disgorged so that the wine is clear. Before the final cork seal is affixed, the wine is topped up with a small amount of wine and sugar (liqueur d'expédition). The amount of sugar determines whether the bubbly will be Brut (very dry), Sec (off-dry) or Demi-Sec (medium-sweet).

Rosé bubbly is made either by blending red and white wine or by limiting the skin contact of the red grapes during maceration, when the grapes soak in their own juice before fermentation.

Blanc de blancs Champagne is made only from Chardonnay while blanc de noirs is only from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.

The grapes for vintage Champagne that show a year on the label were harvested from one year only, while non-vintage Champagne are grapes and wines blended from many years. While Vintage Champagnes age well, non-vintage bubblies are meant to be consumed within a year or two of purchase while they still have their fruit freshness. Many producers outside of the Champagne region use this process and grapes to make their bubbly and often put méthode traditionnelle on their label.

The words Champagne and méthode champenoise may not legally be used by producers except those from Champagne itself.

Bubblies made in Burgundy, France, are called Crémants de Bourgogne while those from Alsace are Crémant d'Alsace. Spain makes Cavas (“cave”), Italy makes either Prosecco (lightly sparkling) or Spumante (fully sparkling and sweet), Germany makes Sekt or Deutscher and those from New World regions, such as Canada, California, Australia and elsewhere, are simply called sparkling wine.

Some bubblies outside of Champagne are made from a cheaper and quicker carbonation process, during which bubbles are injected into the tanks of fermenting wines. This method doesn’t create wines with the same refinement and nuance as the Champagne method. The bubbles tend to go flat quickly.

Drink bubbly from a flute glass that preserves its bubbles and concentrates its aromas. (Forget those old coupe glasses molded to the shape of Marie Antoinette’s breasts.)

Signature bubbly aromas include toast, yeast, fresh-baked bread, green apple, lemon, lime and orange zest.

Sparkling wine is one of the most versatile wines with food because of its zesty fruit aromas, mouth-watering acidity and palate-cleaning bubbles.

Pair dry styles with spring rolls, almonds, canapés, brioche bread, cheeses, poultry, sashimi, Thai coconut shrimp, pasta with cheese-based sauce, caviar, shellfish, seafood risotto, snack foods, onion rings, egg dishes, avocado salad, guacamole, pâté, pasta, charcuterie, veal, salads and vegetarian casseroles.

Sweet bubbly (doux or spumante) goes well with curries, fruit flans, cobblers, biscotti, nuts, soft cheeses, Christmas pudding, lemon soufflé, mille feuilles, pavlova and tiramisu.