Champagne might be the most famous sparkling wine, but affordable and delicious offerings are made across the globe. This list has something for everyone, from a Tasmanian bottle produced from the same grapes that go into Champagne, to a traditional-method sparkler from Sonoma, to a Crémant made in France’s Loire Valley.
With so many options, there’s no need to wait for a fancy occasion to pop open a bottle. All of these $30-and-under bubbles are perfect for casual weeknight dinners or a weekend picnic.
Jansz NV Premium Cuvée (Tasmania); $29, 93 points. The latest nonvintage from Australia’s most famous Tasmanian sparkling producer is a tasty drop at a bargain price. A blend of Champagne’s three classic varieties, this bottling combines fruit from the north and south of the island. Eighteen months on lees results in a bubbly that is mostly fruit driven—lemon, apple and pear—with the yeast-derived brioche notes serving as a backdrop. Negociants USA–Winebow. Editors’ Choice. —Christina Pickard
Cavicchioli 2018 Vigna del Cristo (Lambrusco di Sorbara); $18, 92 points. The shy nose slowly reveals Mediterranean scrub, citrus and a whiff of Spanish broom. The aromas give way to the linear palate offering sour cherry, citrus and a fennel note alongside fresh acidity. Frederick Wildman & Sons, Ltd. —Kerin O’Keefe
Delinquente 2019 Tuff Nutt Bianco D’Alessano (Riverland); $20, 91 points. This vintage of pét-nat offers refreshment so unlike the Aussie stereotype that it’s the perfect tipple to surprise and delight those new to Oz’s diverse modern wine offerings. The color of cloudy lemon juice, it also smells like a freshly squeezed lemon and its rind. Aromatic wild herbs, like fennel and thyme, are there, too, along with a flicker of stony minerality, but it’s really all about the citrus. Bone-dry and buoyed by energetic bubbles, it’s crunchy, stony, citrusy and prickly all at once. Weird, wild, alive and downright delicious. Hudson Wine Brokers. Editors’ Choice. —C.P.
Breathless NV Brut Méthode Champenoise (Sonoma County); $27, 90 points. Golden in color, with a firm mousse, this lively, refreshing sparkling wine tastes of apple skin, pear, mango and a hint of brioche. It remains fresh in the glass, showing moderate body weight and finishing stony and dry. —Virginie Boone
Dr. Konstantin Frank 2014 Blanc de Blancs Méthode Champenoise (Finger Lakes); $30, 90 points. Sourced from estate vineyards that were planted in the 1970s, this Chardonnay-based sparkler offers broad aromas of toast, almond and brown sugar, lifted by sharp lemon peel on the nose. A fine perlage carries the palate, with citrus, apple and toast flavors pushing toward an almond finish. It’s a beautiful mix of warm autolysis flavors against pristine, detailed fruit. —Alexander Peartree
Fritz Müller NV Perlwein Trocken Müller-Thurgau (Rheinhessen); $18, 90 points. Delicately fizzy, this fresh, fruity perlwein rocks sunny yellow peach and apple flavors along with a zesty spine of acidity. Exceptionally light bodied and joyously quaffable, it’s an invigorating sip to enjoy now. Rudi Wiest Selections. —Anna Lee C. Iijima
Monte Tondo NV Brut (Soave); $23, 90 points. This crisp, refreshing sparkler opens with delicate scents of white stone fruit, hawthorn and a whiff of nut. Reflecting the nose, the vibrant palate offers green apple, white peach and an almond note alongside a light perlage. It’s a perfect sparkler to sip on the deck or by the pool. August Wine Group. —Kerin O’Keefe
Underwood 2018 The Bubbles Sparkling (Oregon); $15, 90 points. From the Union Wine Company, this value bubbly is 40% Pinot Gris, 32% Pinot Noir and 28% Chardonnay. Aromas of bubblegum, cherry and lemon drop candy carry the nose, with fruit-driven flavors on the palate that are crisp and balanced. For an inexpensive, mass-produced bottle of fizz, it raises the bar for the entire region. Best Buy. —Paul Gregutt
Vins El Cep 2016 Gelida Blanc de Blancs Brute Nature Reserva (Cava); $20, 90 points. Saline and lean white-fruit aromas comprise a minimalist nose, while this brut nature is pulpy and properly citric on the palate. Salty flavors of orange and nectarine finish up on a smooth finish, with no bite or fight. Jorge Ordóñez Selections. —Michael Schachner
Château de Montfort NV Montfort Brut Sparkling (Crémant de Loire); $18, 89 points. This blend, mainly of Chardonnay, has plenty of ripe white fruits cut with minerality from the Chenin Blanc. The mousse gives the wine a creamy character while the fruitiness preserves freshness. Drink now. Taub Family Selections. —Roger Voss
Published: June 19, 2020