Top 15 Classic Sparkling Wines for the Holidays

These classic sparklers are perfect for the holidays


Simple but precise nose of lime, yeast and white mushroom. A fine mousse greets the palate delivering a lovely version of the nose, rich with sweet lime juice, gentle yeasty notes that hint at white mushroom and some subtle pale honey notes. There’s a nice hint of minerality on the back end that drive the moderately long finish. This is really lovely and precise. 90pts

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NV Argens la Montina Franciacorta Saten 12.5% $35

Sweet and almost minty on the nose with very fine fennel pollen notes and some butterscotch accents to the core of ripe fig and peach fruit with a hint of guava. With a very fine mousse and notable ripeness on the palate this is rather large scaled in the mouth delivering rich, honey glazed flavors of ripe peach, tart apple and green plummy fruit. Picking up some spice on the finish, this ends with more faint butterscotch and spice notes over a candy apple base. Seductive stuff that is very easy to enjoy. 91pts

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2004 Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Millesime 12% $50

Lovely aromas of heather, orange rind and hazelnut greet the nose followed by dried citrus fruits, caramel and orange pekoe tea. Broad and noticeably leesy early on the palate, this shows fine clarity of texture in a relatively dry style with late arriving fruit flavors of orange, strawberry and pineapple. The finish is a touch short here but it doesn’t detract too much from the palate. This has an elegance and gentleness that is very attractive. 92pts

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2006 Ca’ del Vent Sospiri Franciacorta Brut 13% $55

Dark golden color. There’s a ton of complexity and oxidative evolution on the nose here with scents of pigskin, dried fruit, a deep meaty note, gentle spice, old wood, smoke, briar and wild herbs all coming together. This has a very fine mousse, and compelling richness in the mouth with a texture that shows a bit of weight but at the same time is very well-balanced and agile. The flavors are as complex as the nose, if fresher with notes of apple butter, a little strawberry and some gentle hazelnut notes over a base of waxy fruit, and light quince jam notes.  Finishing with length and finesse, this is atypical but as compelling a bottle of Franciacorta as I’ve ever come across. 93pts

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2005 Domaine Carneros by Taittinger Le Reve Blanc de Blanc Carneros Napa $85

Dry, earthy and fairly dense on the nose with notes of white flowers, brie rind, dried citrus fruits and butcher’s wax. Very fine mousse in the mouth, this is elegant and really has a wonderful texture, rich yet delicate with good finesse. The flavors are dense if not fresh with earthy floral, waxy, polleny notes over dried citrus fruit and dried pineapple. Theres a nuttiness that emerges on the finish as well, which shows both the acid backbone of this wine as well as a lovely creamy edge. An old man in a leather chair kind of Sparkler. 93pts

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2005 Schramsberg J Schram 12.5% $100

Intensely aromatic with lovely notes of green nuts, honeycomb, wild flowers, fennel pollen, green anise seed, brie rind and jammy green plum with a hint of gooseberry. Large scaled with a super fine mousse, this is creamy and broad with complex leesy flavors of smoke, nuts, caramel and even a hint of vanilla under rich citrus, quince, green plum, apricot and raw almond flavors. The finish is tense, if a little subtle, and fairly long. Refined and complex, this deserves to be served with dinner. 94pts

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1999 Nicolas Feuillatte Palmes d’Or Brut 12% $115

Preserved lemons, pressed flowers honeycomb and toasted almonds appear on the nose over a chalky mineral base. Creamy and seductive, this enters the mouth with rich sweet lemon fruit which is joined by notes of key lime pie, dried honeycomb, earth and sweet almonds all layered over a fine mineral base. Creamily textured yet firmly underpinned with acid and minerality. There is a fine aromatic peachiness here and the finish features long lime zest and mineral flavors. This is a party in the glass. 93pts

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Comments

  • Snooth User: dkstar1
    482017 31

    that headline is grossly misleading (and inaccurate).

    Dec 27, 2012 at 12:46 PM


  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 202,254

    You are absolutely correct. An error in production that I should have caught. I've changed the title here, but it will remain Champagne in your email. My apologies

    Dec 27, 2012 at 1:03 PM


  • Snooth User: SM
    1097030 218

    Thanks for the information Mr. Dal Piaz, unfortunately for us it will be going to COSTCO and choosing between their limited Moscato or Prosecco selections.

    But I do have to say I am impressed that you have gone beyond the 'safe' zone of Cava, Prosecco and the 'hallowed ground' of Champagne. The Georgian and Austrian sparklers seem pretty interesting as did the Mendoza one, perhaps one day I will come across them.

    Happy New Year celebrations and wishes to you and the whole Snooth team, may 2013 be a year of success, happiness, health and prosperity for all of you.

    Cheers!

    Solomon Mengeu

    Dec 27, 2012 at 11:02 PM


  • Korbel…. Korbel????? WHat on earth is "classic" about Korbel?

    Dec 31, 2012 at 11:42 AM


  • Snooth User: amour
    Hand of Snooth
    218530 1,748

    Well written....came across real!...AND I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU, GREGORY...having gone the whole way and back...from Vintage Bollinger, Salon, low down to Andre!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Jan 07, 2013 at 11:36 AM


  • great

    Aug 12, 2013 at 11:46 PM


  • Snooth User: CarBuyWhiz
    1332598 26

    Really wonderful

    Aug 17, 2013 at 2:28 AM


  • awesome

    Sep 06, 2013 at 1:07 PM


  • nice

    Sep 11, 2013 at 2:03 AM


  • awesome

    Sep 24, 2013 at 5:49 AM


  • Striking

    Oct 09, 2013 at 5:25 AM


  • Snooth User: jamchimps
    1385295 43

    Its grand :)

    Oct 28, 2013 at 2:24 AM


  • Snooth User: gamysplash
    1487309 35

    Its good

    Apr 04, 2014 at 4:54 AM


  • Snooth User: gamysplash
    1487309 35

    Its calme :)

    Apr 04, 2014 at 4:55 AM


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