Not all sparkling is created equal. Nothing says celebration quite like a fantastic sparkling wine. Keep in mind, not all bubbly is Champagne. To be considered “Champagne”, the wine has to be from the Champagne appellation found in France. Now, don’t be discouraged. There are lots of domestic sparkling wines that are still delicious without breaking the break.
In the U.S., 2 main methods for domestic sparkling are used. Methode Champenoise is when the wine is fermented, bottled, and then a secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle. This method typically produces finer sparkling wine and is more expensive.
The second method is the “charmat” method. Invented in Italy, the process requires the wine undergoes a secondary fermentation in stainless steel tanks rather than individual bottles. Charmat-produced wines cost less and is the method more commonly used.
Here are a few of my current favorite domestic sparkling.
Gloria Ferrer NV Brut Sprakling from Sonoma $22
Smooth and dense, rich and spicy with a golden cast and clean, rich style. 88 Points
J Vineyards & Winery NV Cuvee 20 Brut Sparkling Sonoma County $28
Smooth and juicy with bright apple and citrus; tangy, crisp and fresh with depth and lovely balance; long and clean, charming. 90 Points
Frank Family Vineyards 2011 Brut Rosé Sparkling from Carneros $45
Pale pink; smooth, ripe, balanced; juicy, fresh and charming. 90 Points
Schramsberg Vineyards 2006 J. Schram Brut Sparkling from North Coast $110
Lush and ripe with juicy fruit and racy acidity; elegant and full, rich and complex; balanced and long. 92 Points