We are bubbling over to share these selections with you! The world is full of Sparkling Wines that don’t get as much love as Champagne, Cava and Prosecco. As a traveling community, we are always looking to broaden our horizons, so consider trying a new kind of bubbly this year. 

The classics are classic for a reason so let’s start out by exploring exciting products within the three well-known types.

The Classics

Champagne

Champagne isn’t going anywhere—its complexity and the tradition involved are known the world over. Made with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, this classic Sparkling Wine is made in the Methode Champenoise style which gives it unparalleled autolytic character—notes of brioche and caked bread—and an ultra-creamy mousse. Since Champagne is the highest echelon of Sparkling Wines, we are giving you two options with exciting products on the market.

Besserat de Bellefon has been distributed for 20 years but is only now available in the United States. Called BB for short, the wines have been approved by Champagne loving BB herself—Brigitte Bardot! BB recently launched the Brigitte Bardot Cuvée, which they describe as being, “like the bombshell, has an audacious and magnetic combination of finesse and nonchalance: its quality and charm are tied to its relaxed rebelliousness.” It retails for about $300.

Not looking to spend $300? The Bruno Paillard Premiere Cuvee retails at $50 and is a classic Champagne that wine connoisseurs love for its extended lees contact and blend of 25 vintages. Going all the way back to 1985!


Sparkling Wine (Cava) vineyards in Aiguaviva del Penedes, Catalunya, Spain. | Winetraveler.com
Aiguaviva del Penedes, Catalunya, Spain.

Cava

Cava is Spain’s bubbly offering to the world. It is typically made in the Penedes region with native grapes. Mas Fi Brut NV is a classic Cava blend of Xarello, Macabeo and Parellada. Made in the Methode Tradicional style, this lively bottle is full of stone fruits and bright citrus. It’s fresh and approachable and so is the price, which is around $11.


Prosecco

Italy’s well-known bubbly hails from the steep hills of Northeastern Italy in Valdobbiadene. It’s made with the Glera grape in the Charmat Method—this method is attributed to preserving the fresh fruit and floral aromatics. Mionetto Prosecco DOC Organic Extra Dry exemplifies the fruit-driven and fresh style sought after. This extra dry Prosecco is made with organic grapes that are vinified separately.

Let’s Explore! Sparkling Wines To Try from Different Countries Around the World

Cremant

There are other options for Sparkling Wine in France outside of Champagne. Cremant is a style of sparkling wine that is made in many other regions of France, including the Loire, Bordeaux, Alsace and the Limoux in the Languedoc. It is made in the same way as Champagne but uses grapes typically grown in the region it comes from. The price point is usually much more approachable as well. Prosper Maufoux makes a Cremant de Bourgogne Brut NV that is made with a blend similar to most Champagnes (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) but adds in 20% Gamay for added lush fruit and floral notes. 


Fizz

In England, the cool climate is a prime location for cultivating grapes for Sparkling Wine. Most wines are made with Champagne grapes—Pinot Noir and Chardonnay—but they also use hybrid grapes that are cold-hardy. England is swiftly becoming an important spot for sparkling wines! Chapel Down is a brand that is easy to find in the states. The Brut NV is a great example of a classic English Fizz.


Franciacorta Sparkling Wine is made in the Méthode Champenoise from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc.
Franciacorta, Italy.

Franciacorta

Franciacorta is an area in Lombardy, Italy, that produces Sparkling Wines that couldn’t be more different from Prosecco. It is made in the Méthode Champenoise from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc. Considered a luxury product, it has the elegance and complexity of Champagne. Bellavista is a Franciacorta producer that consistently puts out lovely bottlings. The NV Cuvee Brut Franciacorta DOCG is predominantly Chardonnay with a lush mouthfeel and notes of ripe pear and white flowers.


Australia 

Cooler regions of Australia such as the Margaret River and Tasmania are producing lovely Sparkling Wines in classic styles. Strieker Blanc de Blancs Brut is an Aussie sparkler made from 100% Chardonnay in the Champenois Methode. It has creamy mousse, delicate floral aromas, lemon curd and apple skins flavors.


Sekt is a Sparkling Wine of Germany and Austria
Pfalz, Germany.

Sekt

Sekt is a Sparkling Wine of Germany and Austria that is on an upward trajectory. In the past, there was a lot of low-quality Sekt being made so not a lot of it wasn’t being exported. These days, there are top-notch wineries making serious Sekt and we are lucky enough to be able to get it here! Fitz Ritter in the Pfalz region is one such top-notch producer. Their Riesling Extra Trocken Sekt NV is bright with citric acidity and lush with honey and ginger spice.


The U.S.

Throughout the U.S. there are a vast array of Sparkling Wine styles being made that don’t fit into one mold, so here are a few different versions to seek out:

Casanel in the Loudoun County area of Virginia makes White Spark, which is 100% Estate Chardonnay made in the Methode Champenoise. It’s crisp and dry with notes of green apple and orange blossom.

Gruet is a New Mexico-based winery that has been producing Champagne-method wines for 25 vintages! Their Brut Rose is made with 100% Pinot Noir and has popping flavors of strawberry, cherry and zesty lemon. 

Sparkling Pointe in the North Fork of Long Island is another U.S. winery making Methode Champenoise bubbles. Their 2010 Brut Seduction is layered in nuance. Made with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, it ages for 8 years on its lees giving it toasty and nutty notes and an ultra-creamy mouthfeel.


Espumante

Portugal’s answer to Sparkling Wine can be made throughout Portugal, but quality Espumante can only be made in DOC Bairrada, located just South of Vinho Verde. Arinto is the most used grape offering high acidity but additional grape varieties are also used. Marques de Marialva Cuvee Brut is a Traditional Method sparkler made with Bical and Arinto, leading to fresh citrus notes and toast alongside a creamy perlage.


Sometimes called Espumante, Argentina makes Sparkling Wine in many styles. 
Mendoza, Argentina.

Argentina

Sometimes also called Espumante, Argentina makes a wide range of bubbly in many styles. 

Santa Julia in Mendoza makes an organic Blanc de Blanc NV made with Chardonnay in the Charmat method. The result is fresh and fruity ripe pear and honeysuckle notes and playful bubbles.


Sparkling Wine from Brazil | Winetraveler.com
Vale dos Vinhedos in Bento Gonçalves, Brazil.

Brazil

Beverage professionals are saying Brazil might be the next best sparkling wine destination. They have been perfecting their bubbly for decades! These wines range in style and can be crafted as fruit-forward and easy-drinking, to toasty and complex. Cave Geisse Brut is made in the Traditional Method and is of the more complex variety. One of the few brands available in the States, it’s worth seeking out!


Moscato D’Asti & Brachetto D’Acqui

Both of these Italian sparklers are light in body, fruit-driven and slightly sweet. Moscato D’Asti is highly perfumed and bursting with ripe fruit. Brachetto Spumante is a Sparkling Red Wine with layers of berries. Saracco is a brand to grab to enjoy intensely-floral wine with flavors of peaches, white grapes and dried herbs.


Lambrusco

Another Sparkling Red Wine from Northern Italy, this style was popular in the ‘70s but got a bad rap for low-quality versions taking over the market. These days, Lambrusco is making a comeback with high-quality wines ranging from sweet to dry. They also range in bubbles from sparkling, semi-sparkling to frizzante. Opera Lambrusco Di Modena Amabile is a certified organic Lambrusco made in the Charmat Method. It’s a drier style that delivers notes of violets, rhubarb and black cherry.


Methode Cap Classique

MCC is a South African Sparkling Wine made in the traditional Champagne style. They are typically made with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but sometimes include Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc. Graham Beck is a master of Methode Cap Classique with many versions under the brand. The Brut NV is a classic blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with light yeasty aromas and an undertone of petrol. You can also expect green pear and lime across a rich palate.


Hungary is not only making beautiful Sparkling Wines called "Pezsgo", their vineyards are gorgeous to boot.
Hungary is not only making beautiful Sparkling Wines called “Pezsgo”, their vineyards are gorgeous to boot. Such as this vineyard located in Pannonhalma.

Pezsgo

The style of this Hungarian Sparkling Wine can vary greatly. Many wineries in Tokaj are making sparklers from Furmint due to its high acidity, but many other grapes can be used. Törley is a Hungarian sparking brand with Champagne roots. József Törley és Társa brought the winemaking style from the Roederer family in Reims to the vineyards near Budapest.


Sovetskoye Shampanskoye

Also called the “Soviet Champagne,” this Sparkling Wine hails from Russia. Sovetskoye Shampanskoye is also produced in Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, and Belarus. All of these countries are producing more and more bubbles each year. Cricova is a winery in Moldova making some delicious bubbly in the traditional method that is worth checking out.


Mexico

Freixenet –a well-known Cava producer — set up shop in the Querétaro area of Mexico in the 1970s and others followed suit. Today, Mexico is becoming known for its bubbles. Cava 57 is a producer in Querétaro with a line of Mexican “Cava” made using the traditional Cava varieties Macabeo, Xarel-lo and Parellada. 

Next time you toast, toast globally!


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    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Carrie Dykes is wine writer and reviewer living in the Hudson Valley region of New York. Her by-line can be also be found in Hudson Valley Wine Magazine, InCider Japan, The Cork Report and Wine Enthusiast Magazine. She is an international wine judge for the IWSC, where she uses the skills she has learned in her WSET Diploma training. Follow her travel and wine adventures in Instagram @lilmarzipan.

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