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.

Bollinger Brut Special Cuvée
A.C., Champagne, France
Love it! Muscular, rich, toasty and full-bodied… just like James Bond who loved this bubbly. Spectacularly well-made… you will never, ever be disappointed with it… or will I if you give it as a gift. Alcohol: 12%  Sweetness: Extra Dry  750 ml  Drink: 2011‐2016  Top Rated Sparkling Wine  Price: $69.95 Score: 95/100

This wine was reviewed October 15, 2011 by Natalie MacLean

LCBO: 384529  62 in stock
BC: 384529  366 in stock
SAQ: 384529  Check Stock
 

Piper-Heidieck Champagne Brut 2007
Champagne, France
Won the gold medal for the Mondial de Bruxelles, Belgium in 2006. The majority of the blend of Piper-Heidsieck's signature Cuvee Brut is composed of Pinot Noir. Hand-selected parcels of Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay also play important roles in the elaboration of this well-balanced cuvee. selected reserve wines from preceding years are incorporatedinto the blend to ensure consistency of style year after year. The blend is aged for minimum of 24 months on the lees before release. A toasty, well-crafted bubbly with notes of green apples. Champagne Brut food pairings: oysters, crab, lobster, nuts, creamy cheese. Alcohol: 12%  Sweetness: Extra Dry  750 ml  Drink: 2009‐2012  Price: $57.65 Score: 90/100

This Champagne Brut was reviewed October 7, 2008 by Natalie MacLean

LCBO: 462432  Check Stock
BC: 462432  Check Stock
SAQ: 462432  Check Stock
 

Roederer Estate Brut
Anderson Valley, Mendocino, California, United States
One of my favourite California sparkling wines that's consistently great year after year. The price of this zesty and refreshing sparkling wine is incredibly low, especially for the quality. Terrific toasty aromas with full-bodied weight and lift on the finish. Keep some in stock throughout the holidays. Alcohol: 12%  Sweetness: Extra Dry  750 ml  Drink: 2013‐2015  Charming Grilled Chicken Wine  Best Value Sparkling Wine  Price: $24.90 Score: 91/100

This wine was reviewed December 7, 2013 by Natalie MacLean

LCBO: 294181  442 in stock
SAQ: 294181  Check Stock
 

Segura Viudas Cava Sparkling Wine Parellada Malcabeo Xarel-Lo
Spain
An astonishing bubbly for the money! Deep, toasty and burnished bronze with lovely almond and baked bread aromas. Full-bodied and long-lasting. A blend of 35% Parellada, 50% Macabeo and 15% Xarel-lo grapes. Aged 24-36 months in the bottle. You will be thought brilliant for serving this wine at any celebration, small or large. Alcohol: 12%  Sweetness: Extra Dry  750 ml  Price: $14.65 Score: 88/100

This Parellada Malcabeo Xarel-Lo was reviewed June 12, 2009 by Natalie MacLean

LCBO: 158493  Check Stock
 

Boschendal Grand Cuvee Brut Sparkling Wine 2006
Stellenbosch, South Africa
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes go into this lovely bubbly made from the method cap classique (Champagne method). Toasty, crisp, refreshing with lovely green apple notes and a biscuity finish. Alcohol: 12.5%  Sweetness: Extra Dry  750 ml  Price: $15.00 Score: 88/100

This Sparkling Wine was reviewed May 13, 2010 by Natalie MacLean

 


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Sparkling

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.