Tasting Notes

Sparkling Wine: Bling for the Taste Buds


According to Vivino, the online wine community and database, sparkling wine comprises just 2.38 percent of total wine consumption in the United States. The people of Romania drink almost twice as much sparkling wine per capita as we do, and we are woefully behind Finland, which drinks more than four times as much.


For many people, the holidays are a natural time to enjoy sparkling wine, so we always print a long list of recommended bubbles in our holiday issue. But don’t forget about these delicious wines come January. Or April. Or August.


Just like bling, bubbles aren’t only for fancy nights on the town – a little sparkle is a cheery addition to any day. Get started.



JipJip Rocks Sparkling Shiraz, NV (South Eastern Australia); $18.99

Deep garnet color and cherry, black pepper aroma; very dry and loaded with flavors of ripe plums and spicy cinnamon.



Mirabelle Brut Sparkling Wine, NV (California); $28

Fine mousse and lemony cookie dough aroma; toasty on the palate with hints of roasted nuts and mushroom.


Mirabelle Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine, NV (California); $30

Creamy cherry and vanilla aroma; lush and bright with palate-waking tart cherry notes.


Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs Brut, 2013 (North Coast); $39

Lively mousse and gently toasty aroma; bright and crisp with hints of tangerine and spice and a creamy finish.


Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs Brut, 2012 (North Coast); $41

Toasty, bready aroma; bright, crisp, clean lemony flavor with delicate toast and mineral notes.


Schramsberg Brut Rosé, 2013 (North Coast); $44

Cherry vanilla aroma with a hint of fresh bread; bright berry flavor with notes of vanilla and spice.


Schramsberg Crémant Demi-Sec, 2012 (Napa Valley); $40

Aroma of toasted nuts and stone fruit; rich, sweet toffee notes on the palate with lush fruit and creamy texture.


Chateau Gaudrelle Alexandre Monmousseau Vouvray Brut, NV; $18.99

Delicate stone fruit aroma, with a flinty mineral undercurrent; lush and full with rich fruit and crisp balancing acidity.


Baumard Carte Turquoise Crémant de Loire Brut, NV; $23.99

Delicately nutty aroma; creamy texture and bright fruit with a hint of coconut and angel food cake.


J.J. Vincent Crémant de Bourgogne Brut, NV; $20

Subtly toasty aroma; creamy and crisp, with flavors of Red Delicious apple and vanilla; bright tart finish.


Lucien Albrecht Crémant de Alsace Brut, NV; $21.99

Subtly toasty aroma; lush and creamy with a hint of honeyed stone fruit and a lingering finish.


Lucien Albrecht Crémant de Alsace Brut Rosé, NV; $21.99

Aroma of baked apple; luscious cherry pie flavor with loads of crisp, vivid fruit.


Wolfberger Crémant d’Alsace Rosé, NV; $18.99

Peachy, apricot color and cherry vanilla aroma; lovely, bright fruit with creamy mouth feel and raspberry notes.


Ayala Champagne Brut Majeur, NV; $49.99

Fruity, floral aroma with bready undertones; lovely mousse and beautiful stone fruit notes with crisp acidity and a hint of spice on the finish.


Barons de Rothschild Champagne Brut, NV; $99.99

Yeasty aroma with hints of mushroom and toasted walnut; full flavored, rich and dry with toasty notes and flavors of dried apple and fig.


Bollinger Champagne Brut Special Cuvée, NV; $79.99

Toasty, nutty aroma with a hint of fig; rich and creamy with notes of brioche, crème brûlée and baked apple.


Pol Roger Champagne Brut Reserve, NV; $50

Yeasty nutty aroma with a touch of honeyed pear; clean and crisp with lively mousse and bright lemon and toasty brioche flavors.


Roland Champion Champagne Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Vintage Brut, 2008; $66

Fine mousse and delicate aroma of fresh-baked bread and toasted nuts; nicely balanced with a notes of fresh fig and caramel.


Trouillard Champagne Brut Extra Selection, NV; $49.99

Aromas of toasted nuts, mushroom, pear and earth; bright and crisp with persistent mousse and tart apple flavor.



Hansen-Lauer Sekt Riesling Brut, 2013 (Mosel); $24.99

Gently toasty aroma with a hint of vanilla; creamy and fruity with floral and mineral notes and a touch of honey on the finish.



Cortenova Extra Dry Prosecco DOC, NV; $12.99

Honeysuckle aroma with notes of melon and apple; lively mousse and bright lemon drop flavor with a hint of minerals on the finish.


Lamberti Extra Dry Prosecco DOC, NV; $15

Pear and almond aroma with a mineral undercurrent; bright pear and apple flavors with a touch of honey.


Rebuli Extra Dry Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, NV; $22.99

Fruity, floral aroma with hints of guava and honeysuckle; fruity and delightful with bright effervescence and lush lemon meringue pie flavor.


Sperone Spumante Brut Prosecco DOC, NV; $4.99/187ml

Delicate aroma of apple, citrus and florals; fine mousse and bright, clean, fruity flavor.


Valdo Brut Prosecco DOC, NV; $14.99

Honey and stone fruit aromas; bright and puckery with insistent mousse and apple and lemon zest flavors.


Valdo Oro Puro Valdiobbiadene Brut Prosecco Superiore DOCG, NV; $20.99

Rich honey aroma with a note of pear and guava; crisp, vivacious and very dry with orchard fruit notes and a hint of spice on the finish.


Lamberti Extra Dry Vino Spumante Rosé, NV (Italy); $15

Fruity floral aroma with a hint of rose petal and baked apple; gently sweet flavor of ripe cherries.


Valdo Marca Oro Rosé Brut, NV (Valdobbiadene); $15.99

Delicate strawberry and vanilla aroma; creamy and spicy with bright wild berry and cranberry notes.


D’Altieri Moscato d’Asti DOCG, 2015; $13.99

Delicate mousse and sweet orange blossom aroma; luscious and sweet, with notes of creamsicle and candied orange.


Rinaldi Moscato d’Asti DOCG, 2014; $22.99

Lovely orange blossom aroma; gently fizzy, sweet and lush with beautiful, ripe fruit.


Bruscus San Valentino Lambrusco Amabile, 2015 (Emilia IGT); $11.99

Magenta color and seductive aroma of dark chocolate and sweet berries; sweet, juicy and bursting with bright fruit.



Cricova Crisecco Brut Sparkling Wine, NV (Moldova); $9.99

Pleasant pear aroma with a hint of florals; crisp, tart apple flavor with a touch of spice. Good value.


Cricova Sovetsko Sparkling Wine, NV (Moldova); $9.99

Delicate grapey aroma; subtly sweet, with a touch of richness and Mandarin orange notes.


South Africa

Cap Classique Colmant Brut Reserve, NV (Western Cape); $44

Aroma of sweet apple orchard; vivid flavor and racy acidity with notes of tart apple and bright lemon.


Cap Classique Colmant Brut Chardonnay, NV (Western Cape, South Africa); $34.99

Subtly toasty aroma with a mineral undercurrent; clean, crisp and very dry with pear and apple notes and a delicately nutty finish.



Marques de Gelida Cava Brut Gran Reserva, 2010; $17.99

Fresh grape aroma with mineral undercurrents; slightly toasty on the palate, with crisp tangerine notes.


Painous Cava Brut, NV; $14.99

Lively mousse and delicately warm, toasty aroma; crisp and bright with lemony flavor and mineral notes.


Vilarnau Brut Reserva Cava, NV; $13

Delicate floral and stone fruit aroma; rich and full of flavor, with hints of melon and crème brûlée. Good value.



Gruet Blanc de Blancs Sauvage Sparkling Wine, NV (American); $18

Yeasty, bready aroma with a note of almond; bone dry with creamy texture and hints of vanilla, pear and minerals.


Gruet Rosé Sauvage Sparkling Wine, NV (American); $20

Shell pink with strawberries-and-cream aroma; vibrant mousse and bright, tart cranberry/strawberry flavor.


Gruet Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine, NV (American); $17

Lovely citrus and stone fruit aroma; tart, smooth fruit, with zippy acidity and delicious lemony finish.


Gruet Blanc de Noirs Sparkling Wine, NV (American); $17

Delicate brioche aroma with a touch of florals; clean, vivid flavor with a hint of Granny Smith apple.


Gruet Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine, NV (American); $18

Magenta color and fruity cherry compote aroma; zingy and bright, with vanilla and raspberry flavor.


Gruet Demi Sec Sparkling Wine, NV (American); $17

Aromas of Yellow Delicious apples, caramel and toast; insistent mousse with rich, buttery flavor and a dried fruit finish.


Prices may vary.


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