This weekend, the entire world will be watching as Prince Harry of the royal House of Windsor marries Meghan Markle in a lavish ceremony at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. The occasion, of course, calls for a little bubbly, and since the bride-to-be is from the United States, we thought it was only fitting to choose best bottles from both countries. So if your invitation was lost in the mail, you can still toast the happy couple with a glass of exceptional sparkling English or American wine.
Exton Park Vineyard 2011 Blanc de Blancs Chardonnay (England); $50, 94 points. Fragrant overtones of acacia honey play alongside lemony notes on the nose, adding a touch of restrained, exotic decadence. A hint of chalk contributes grounding dimension. All combine to make a fragrant nose. These themes play out again on the slender but expressive palate. Pure lemon freshness brightens the notions of honey and chalk, while tiny bubbles provide endless explosions of deep, sustained flavor. This wine seems still young and taut, but the energy suggests great future development. Lemon purity on the finish appeals with its clean and invigorating nature. Drink 2017–2027. Primrose Fine Wine.—Anne Krebiehl
Gusbourne Estate 2013 Blanc de Blancs Chardonnay (England); $80, 94 points. A restrained but pure note of lemon constitutes the nose, suggesting both tangy zest and juicy flesh. The subtle mousse of tiny bubbles and a sonorous backdrop of autolysis counters all of this freshness and allows it to blanket the senses with its shimmering, lemony but also creamy briskness. That luminous lemon core leaves a lasting impression on the palate. Purity, slenderness and elegance are its hallmarks. Lovely now this wine will age with grace. Drink 2017–2025. Broadbent Selections, Inc.—A.K.
Bride Valley Vineyard 2014 Brut Reserve Sparkling (England); $75, 93 points. There is almost something of the sea breeze in this wine. An alluring iodine hint on the nose mixes with notions of green apple and the merest touch of rhubarb. The palate comes in with a smooth, fine mousse of tiny, creamy bubbles that counterpoint the inherent English briskness. Slender and elegant, the palate gears everything to a fresh finish of green apple and lemon purity that lingers. It’s harmonious, refreshing and balanced. Boisset Collection.—A.K.
Chapel Down NV Brut Sparkling (England); $40, 92 points. The purest notion of Golden Pearmain apples is beguiling on the nose, promising fruit and mellowness in equal measure. The palate with its superfine and creamy mousse does not disappoint. Creamy, rich autolysis and ripe yellow apple create an elegant, generous and bright midpalate that’s full of flavor and depth. It’s harmonious, hitting that intersection of freshness and richness perfectly and finishing long. ABCK Corp.—A.K.
Hattingley Valley Wines NV Classic Reserve Sparkling (England); $45, 92 points. Smooth hints of apricot and vanilla immediately give the nose an impression of richness and generosity. The palate also has a creaminess and sonorous layers of gentle apple and stone fruit, mingling with notions of sponge cake. But this stays on the svelte side, brightened by a lightning flash of brisk crispness. It combines freshness and mellowness, showing what reserve wines can do to a delicious blend. The finish is dry, pure and delicious. Valkyrie Selections.—A.K
Roederer Estate 2011 L’Ermitage Brut Sparkling (Anderson Valley); $48, 95 points. Dry and nicely mature, this complex wine is always among California’s best bubblies. It combines great balance, tiny bubbles and some very interesting flavors that make it as appealing as a well-cellared white Burgundy at its peak. Hints of toast, butter and almond fill the aroma, and lemon, crisp apple and baking spices fill the palate. It has lively acidity that’s softened by a good sense of body. Editors’ Choice.—Jim Gordon
Flaunt NV Brut Sparkling (Sonoma County); $85, 94 points. This is winemaker Dianna Novy Lee’s debut sparkling wine, blending 56% Chardonnay and 44% Pinot Noir and then aging the wine on the lees for three years before release. It impresses from first sip, showing acid-driven raciness and a core of green apple, lime zest and biscuit flavors that linger. It’ll serve well as a delicious aperitif or fitting companion for the table. Editors’ Choice.—Virginie Boone
Soter 2013 Mineral Springs Vineyard Brut Rosé Sparkling (Yamhill-Carlton); $65, 92 points. From estate-grown, barrel-fermented grapes, this lovely wine appeals to all the senses. Its sunset hue is striking, as is the fine bead and inviting cherry and cocoa aromas. On the palate, it’s an elegant and sophisticated sparkler with tart cherry fruit and bracing minerality.—Paul Gregutt
Thacher 2013 Hastings Ranch Vineyard Blanc de Blanc Viognier (Adelaida District); $60, 92 points. Rarely does a sparkling Viognier hit the market, and it’s doubtful that any could be as good as this bottling by brewer-turned-winemaker Sherman Thacher. Extremely effervescent bubbles shoot out aromas of Asian pear, lemon zest, gardenia and the slighest hint of guava tropicality. The bubbles are soft on the sip, carrying honeydew and sharp lime flavors. Editors’ Choice.—Matt Kettmann
Maison Jussiaume 2015 Blanc de Blancs Sparkling (Rogue Valley); $65, 91 points. From Winemaker Jean-Michel Jussiaume, this sparkling wine is produced entirely from Chardonnay sourced from the Del Rio Vineyard. It offers concentrated lemon, grapefruit and pineapple flavors, with a fine bead and impeccable overall balance.—P.G.
Last Updated: May 4, 2023