14 Sparkling Wines for Your Celebration

Toast with something different this year!


When we think of sparkling wine, we all to often tend to aggregate the whole category under the Champagne moniker. We expect the same method used for Champagne, alternately referred to as the Méthode Champenoise or in Italy as the Methodo Classico, and we expect the grape blend to tend toward the iconic blend of Champagne, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

While much of the best sparkling produced around the world does come from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, there are other grapes that are used to create compelling sparkling wines. Just think about it, every wine producing region makes some form of sparkling wine and some of the regions are just not well suited to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Thus sparkling Grüner Veltliner from Austria is a welcome addition to our pantheon of sparklers.

Try something new this year and think outside the box by adding one of these great sparklers to your celebrations. You might be surprised by how good these wines are and what great values they can be!

Photo courtesy Amy the Nurse via Flickr/CC

2004 Gloria Ferrer Royal Cuvee Brut 13%

Lovely brioche aromas greet the nose, dotted with dried lime and lemon zest notes. This is lovely, with great texture that combines a bright acid and mineral driven spine with lightly creamy edges. The fruit is very expressive in the mouth, offering pear, red berry and light tangerine notes that cruise on to a lightly toasty, graham cracker and apple strudel finish, replete with walnut and raisin notes. Damn this is good, a great combination of freshness and evolution. 93pts

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Argyle Brut 2007 (70% Chardonnay/30% Pinot Noir) 12.6%

Light and fresh on the nose with attractive floral and heirloom apple notes topped with a squirt of raspberry and a dollop of lemon curd. On the palate, this shows complex apple flavors, again with a smattering of raspberry notes in a slightly youthful, exuberant style. There’s lovely balance to this rather dry sparkling wine with long if subtle persistence.  91pts

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Szigeti Gruner Veltliner Brut 12%

Smoky and a bit flinty on the nose, with wonderfully bright lime/grapefruit fruit, lemon tart, lemon verbena and green anise seed top notes. This is lovely in the mouth, with a lightly sweet nature, but one that is really buffered by both the acidity and the vibrant citrussy, lemony flavors. The texture is also a nice blend, with a bit of creaminess laid over a taut, clear base of minerals. This might be my choice for celebrating the New Year! 91pts

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Chateau Langlois Cremant de Loire Brut 12.5%

Very precise apple skin, lanolin, yeast, and quince fruit on the nose, underlain with hints of mineral and blueberry. Very fine mousse here. While this shows a hint of sweetness, the acidity is so vibrant that this remains nicely light on the palate, delivering apple, quince and lightly peachy fruit, accented with a touch of blueberry. Nicely done on the finish as well, showing a bit of pollen and juicy Meyer lemon notes. 90pts

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Berlucchi Metodo Classico Cuvee ’61 Brut 11.5%

This is so wonderfully perfumed with talc, a hint of tropical fruit, pineapple, a note of wood and some gooseberry jelly notes. Very integrated effervescence here on the palate, with an elegant, refined feel that allows the pineapple, starfruit and creamy carambola flavors to pop on the palate. A moderately long, citrussy, creamy finish with a nice sweet berried finale. 89pts

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Klipfel Cremant d’Alsace Brut 12.5%

This smells stemmy and woodsy, with a touch of baked bread, bacon fat and butcher’s wax accenting the rather pretty heirloom apple aromas. Very softly bubbly in the mouth, with a nice wineyness. The flavors are layered and bright, with juicy apples, a touch of butter-sauteed fruit, some candied spice notes and a fine top note of green grapefruit peel. The finish is nicely complex, showing fruit, yeast and a bit of evolution, but ending on a nice dried apple tone. 89pts

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Gloria Ferrer Va de Vi Ultra Cuvee 12.5%


A rather golden hue. Really lovely on the nose, with floral and almond notes over a fine base of apple, dried orange rind and faintly strawberry fruit. This has a very fine mousse, luxuriously creamy with real depth of flavor, all marzipan, bitter almond, bitter orange and dried strawberry. There’s some noticeable sugar here adding to the candied flavors. The finish shows off that sweetness with apricot notes and a fine vein of minerality that really extends the finish. A big wine, almost desserty, with a nice blend of sweetness and aged flavors. Could be a lovely food wine. 89pts


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  • Snooth User: EBGB
    902774 24

    Wot no English? Any particular reason, given the way it keeps winning international competitions?

    Jan 06, 2012 at 4:27 PM

  • What about a good rose sparkling wine made of 100% syrah grape. Beautiful burst of strawberry flavours

    Jul 03, 2012 at 9:04 AM

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