The days when choice of sparkling wine was limited to either expensive Champagne or cheap, uninspired Spanish Cava seem like a distant memory. Sparkling wine is now about everyday drinking, not just special occasions; or maybe it’s about making every occasion special Sales around the globe have increased so much recently in part because of the realization that sparkling wines form a great companion to food, whether its appetizers at a party or to accompany each course of a festive dinner!
Sparkling wines offer an astounding range of styles and sweetness levels too.
It's easy to fill out your experience of sparkling wines by ordering wine online from an extensive sparkling selection! I’ve curated a list of five wine for under $24 a bottle, representing a range of styles, grapes, and wine regions from Alsace to Mendocino and from Cremant to Cava. “The old idea that sparkling wine is an expensive luxury drink best poured only on special occasions has, well, fizzled,” says wine expert Elin McCoy. I can’t agree more.
The 2019 Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Brut is a “MCC” wine, meaning that it’s made using Methode Cap Classique, the official term in South Africa for traditional double fermentation, which is a quality attribute used and regulated since 1992. This Stellenbosch winery’s contribution also uses traditional grape varieties with 50% Chardonnay, 49% Pinot Noir, and 1% Pinot Meunier. Full of freshness, it was made without malolactic fermentation. The fine persistent mousse yields aromas of apple, white peach and citrus blossom, with lemon, stone fruits and raspberry on the palate. $13.99.
The Domaine Allimant-Laugner Cremant d'Alsace Rose shows that great sparkling wines exist outside of Champagne. With it cool climate, Alsace has the growing conditions necessary to produce excellent wines with balanced acidity and freshness. Cremants—which exist in Burgundy, Bordeaux and elsewhere too--are somewhat less bubbly, creamier style wines still made using the traditional method of secondary fermentation in the bottle. Crémant from Alsace is the second most consumed sparkler in France. The very pale rose color betrays delicate red fruit aromas in a firmly structured wine with fine bubbles. $15.99
The Scharffenberger Brut Rose is a flagship of one of my favorite California’s producers. It’s made from 55% Chardonnay and 45% Pinot Noir in cool-climate Mendocino County and scored 92 points from Wine Enthusiast. Before the long finish discover “persimmon and raspberry aromas” alongside “the lively white-raspberry and white-peach flavors.” $18.99.
Sparkling wine made from the grape Alabrino is now made in its home of Rias Baixas in Spain, but this California example intrigues. The 2020 Carboniste Gomes Vineyard Sparkling Albarino is made by a couple specializing in sparkling wines (he worked for three years at Schramsberg) from selected fruit, in this case Albarino from the Gomes family vineyard. This fresh, light, and fun sparkling wine is great as an aperitif, with aromas of gooseberry, kumquat, and peach blossoms. With 11.5% alcohol it costs $23.99.
Finally, the Mercat Cava Brut Nature is a traditional Spanish Cava made in Saint Sadurni D’Anoia, Catalunya, using the “typical” Cava grapes: 50% Xarel-lo, 40% Macabeo, and 10% Parellada (citrus and crisp, rich melon and lime zest, and florally fresh, respectively). Brut Nature means there was no sugar added for the second fermentation, producing an extremely dry but flavorful sparkling wine, completely naturally. Brut Nature wines give some of the finest, most complex expression of this Iberian classic. $13.49
Written By: - Charlie Leary