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.

Taittinger Champagne Brut Reserve 2006
Champagne, France
Gorgeous bubbly! Toasty goodness with green apples. Alcohol: 12%  Sweetness: Extra Dry  750 ml  Drink: 2008‐2012  Favorite Sparkling Wine  Price: $63.95 Score: 91/100

This Champagne Brut Reserve was reviewed September 27, 2008 by Natalie MacLean

LCBO: 814723  Check Stock
BC: 457713  252 in stock
SAQ: 10968752  Check Stock

Pol Roger  Blanc De Blancs 2000
Champagne, France
Crispy green apple with toasty goodness. Robust and crisp with incredible complexity and elegance. Alcohol: 12.5%  750 ml  Drink: 2009‐2017  Top-Rated Sparkling Wine  Price: $60.00 Score: 94/100

This Blanc De Blancs was reviewed June 11, 2011 by Natalie MacLean


Tarlant Zéro Brut Nature Champagne
A.C., Champagne, France
Aged character rather than fresh: toasted almond with some golden amber aromas. For those who love aged champagne. Alcohol: 12%  Sweetness: Extra Dry  750 ml  Drink: 2012‐2015  Price: $44.95 Score: 90/100

This wine was reviewed October 27, 2012 by Natalie MacLean

LCBO: 996264  Check Stock

Ricossa Moscato D'asti 2007
D.O.C.G., Piedmont, Italy
Vintages Wine Panel: Few wines smell and taste like spring as the lovely, slightly sweet, low alcohol, highly aromatic and frizzante Moscato d’Asti does. Its aromas are reminiscent of spring meadow flowers, grapefruit, table grapes and sweet herbs. Medium sweet, it is nicely balanced out by a seam of youthful acidity. My note: Try this beautiful slightly sweet, slightly bubbly wine as an aperitif or with fruit desserts. Ricossa Moscato D'asti food pairings: mildly spiced Thai or Indian dishes, fruit desserts. Alcohol: 5%  750 ml  Price: $14.95 Score: 90/100

This Ricossa Moscato D'asti was reviewed May 24, 2008 by Natalie MacLean

LCBO: 72272  Check Stock

Paul Clouet Sélection Brut Champagne
A.C., Champagne, France
Lemon citrus with toasty goodness. Good value for the Champagne region. Non-vintage champagnes don't improve dramatically with aging, so enjoy now. Alcohol: 13%  Sweetness: Dry  750 ml  Drink: 2013‐2015  Gorgeous Gift Wine  Price: $47.95 Score: 88/100

This wine was reviewed October 12, 2013 by Natalie MacLean

LCBO: 339903  233 in 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.