I have always found it silly when people talk about reserving bottles of bubbly exclusively for the holiday season. Even less understandable to the sparkling wine lover in me is when bottles of fizz are marked for special occasions only—a rule of consumption that relies way too heavily on chance. Opening a good wine, effervescent or otherwise, is clearly its own special occasion and a reason for celebration.
The hesitation to enjoy a glass of Champagne outside a festive fête is not uncommon, unfortunately, and it would seem that it and other sparkling wines have fallen victim to their own strategic marketing campaigns. All those advertising dollars spent have definitely delivered the message effectively: when celebrating, Champagne is the libation of choice. Many of us carry a distinct image of a popping cork next to a Christmas tree, where clanking flutes are not far behind—and let’s not forget the spraying of fizz and foam as a sacred step in the consecration of victories large or small. That the industry has marketed this wine as the first bottle one grabs when celebrating may indeed be a disservice to the wine itself since we often forget that like any other white wine, Champagne, cava, prosecco, or any other sparkling from around the world can and should be enjoyed
It’s almost humorous to have to make a case for some of the most elegant, versatile, and food-friendly wines out there. But when the days are long and the weather is at its best, there is nothing like reaching for a glass of lively and refreshing sparkling wine that makes the best of times even better.
Sparkling Wines from California and Great Britain
Summer is the time to expand your sparkling horizons, and there are many New World wines that deserve your attention. From California, the Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc is an easy contender. Made from 100 percent chardonnay, the style is dry and crisp, with good structure. Its bouquet is predominantly a mix of white and tropical fruit with floral notes and hints of vanilla and citrus. Although it is capable of aging for many years to come, you may want to open it immediately, and that wouldn’t be wrong. Enjoy with raw and cooked seafood, as well as with creamy
Just about all wine enthusiasts are talking about British sparkling wine these days. Berry Bros. & Rudd English Sparkling Wine Brut, produced by Gusbourne Estate, one of the most respectable English winemakers based in Kent, is another blanc de blanc worthy of your attention. Its floral bouquet is complemented by the flavors of citrus fruit and nuts, good minerality, and a
Soft in the mouth yet crisp and refreshing, prosecco from the Veneto region in northeastern Italy is having its moment. Made only from
Spanish cava is a sparkling white wine that takes its name from the stone cellars, or
French Champagne and Cremant
We all know that tannins from the red grapes work well with burgers and most barbecued meats, so rosés are a seasonal favorite. Champagne Geoffroy Rose De Saignee and Champagne Laherte Freres Rose De Saignee are two excellent picks. Both rosés are incidentally made using the saignée technique, one
Another delicious choice that shows much finesse is the Thienot Brut Rosé, made by a relatively young wine house in Champagne. Its delicate aromatic style, driven by red fruit, showcases the
For those in search of a poolside sipper, Moët Ice Imperial happens to be the first Champagne created especially to be served over ice—yes, you read that right, and yes, it is a tasty and refreshing summertime treat. Intensely fruit-forward in both flavor and aroma, this wine is yet another option for outdoor drinking.
Cremants, or French sparkling wine made outside of the Champagne region but using the méthode champenoise, are also good options for this time of year. Sieur d’Arques Aimery Grande Cuvee Cremant 1531 NV from the Cremant de Limoux appellation in southern France is fresh and refined with pleasant acidity, offering the flavors and bouquet of green apples, white blossoms, and honey.