There is no doubt that sparkling wine is festive to open no matter the occasion or “just because” moment. It is enjoyed in all the various styles made from wine regions worldwide. And, there is no question about my love for sparkling wine, proven by the fact that I keep writing about them! So, without further ado, here are eight expressive sparklers to enjoy throughout the holidays or any time of the year!
Champagne Bruno Paillard Première Cuvée
Champagne Bruno Paillard is located in the heart of the Champagne region. It is an independent family-run house that Bruno Paillard, at the age of 27, founded in 1981. His focus is single vintage and small production. Bruno’s daughter, Alice Paillard, joined her father in 2007 as co-manager. This Champagne is the flagship of the Bruno Paillard style. It comprises more than 30 crus with 45% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay, and 22% Pinot Meunier, and a blend of 25 vintages since 1985. Aging is three years sur lie, then a minimum of five months after disgorgement.
Nose: Fresh citrus, minerality, melon, and subtle berry notes.
Palate: Fine, creamy bubbles, ripe citrus fruit, fresh strawberry, chalk, brioche, dry with a clean and elegant finish.
Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Cuvée Brut NV
This is the signature Cuvée of the Piper-Heidsieck House, founded in 1785. Chief winemaker Emilien Boutillat crafts this Champagne from a blend of more than 100 crus and a minimum of 25% reserve wines. The blend is 50% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier, and 20% Chardonnay. Aging is a minimum of 24 months and then six months more after disgorgement.
Nose: Notes of apple, citrus, minerality, and brioche.
Palate: Fine, persistent bubbles and beautifully balanced with green apple, lemon, fresh red fruit, pear, and a crisp finish.
Le Chemin du Roi Champagne
Le Chemin du Roi (‘The Kings Path’) is owned by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, award-winning musician, entrepreneur, actor, and producer. This Brut is 60% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir, and 20% Pinot Meunier. Aging is over four years on lees in the bottle. This is an eye-catching bottle that commands attention!
Nose: Delicate notes of stone fruit and minerality.
Palate: Persistent and delicate bubbles with white stone fruit, brioche, a touch of citrus, minerality, and crisp acidity. Quite elegant!
Other Sparkling Wines
Cote Mas Cremant de Limoux Rosé Brut NV
This sparkling wine is produced by Domaines Paul Mas, located in Languedoc, France, where 20% of the estate vineyards are farmed organically, with the rest farmed using sustainable practices. Cremant is a term used for sparkling wine made outside the Champagne region. It is a blend of 70% Chardonnay, 20% Chenin Blanc, and 10% Pinot Noir. It is interesting to note that Limoux has some of the most favored Chardonnay vines in the south of France, which add richness and complexity to the wines. This wine is aged for one year in bottle and after disgorgement an additional 12 months.
Nose: Soft notes of floral, berries, cherry, and white stone fruit.
Palate: Soft persistent bubbles with ruby grapefruit, berries, and peach.
La Gioiosa Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG
La Gioiosa means “the joyful” in Italian. La Gioiosa was founded in 1974 by the Moretti Polegato family. The Glera grapes for this wine are sourced from Valdobbiadene, located in the Treviso area of northeastern Italy and home to the best Prosecco made. This wine is produced using the Charmat method (tank method).
Nose: Lovely floral notes with citrus, green apple, and peach.
Palate: Fresh and crisp with persistent perlage. This extra dry bubbly is nicely balanced with sweet and savory notes.
Acquesi Asti Spumante DOCG
This sweet Italian sparkling wine is produced by Cuvage, founded in 2011, and located in Acqui Terme in the province of Alessandria in Piedmont. I first tasted this wine while in Asti two years ago. I remember how the wine danced on my palate. It was so delightful! The grape for this wine is 100% Moscato Bianco di Canelli and is produced using the tank method.
Nose: Succulent aromas of floral, honey, peach, citrus, and apricot.
Palate: Aromas continue onto the palate with creamy bubbles and a lingering sweet and fresh finish.
Domaine Bousquet Charmat Brut NV
Domaine Bousquet is located in Mendoza, Argentina, and produces certified organic wines. I have tasted most of the wines in their impressive portfolio, and the Uco Valley Charmat-method Brut is a winner, and the price is unbelievable! Grapes are sourced from estate-grown vineyards in Tupungato, Alto Gualtallary, at 4000 ft. altitude! The blend is 75% Chardonnay and 25% Pinot Noir.
Nose: Citrus, apple, tropical fruit notes.
Palate: Aromas segue onto the palate with a hint of peach and melon: easy sipping and fresh, with fine bubbles.
Mascota Vineyards Unánime Sparkling Wine
Mascota Vineyards is located in Mendoza, Argentina. Winemaker Rodolfo Sadler founded Mascota and has been crafting wines for almost 30 years. This sparkling wine from their Unánime portfolio is produced using the traditional method with second fermentation in the bottle. It is made with 85% Chardonnay and 15% Malbec and is aged on the lees for 18 months before disgorgement.
Nose: Floral, yeast, berries
Palate: Fine, delicate bubbles with berries, brioche, and a hint of minerality. It is fresh and lush with lingering notes of red fruit.
All of the above wines can be enjoyed as an aperitif or with most any cuisine! Pair with appetizers, cheese, fish, poultry, pasta, spicy Asian cuisine, or dessert!
Enjoy the pour!
Until next time…
Feature photo credit: Ian Schneider