The clock is ticking closer to midnight on December 31, and we’re going to need some sparkling wine, stat!
The knee-jerk reaction for many may be Champagne, but most of us are way more likely to try to keep things under the $25 mark.
There are plenty of bottles of bubble available at this price, and there are certainly some gems, but I’m afraid there are also a lot of duds.
We don’t have time to chase exclusive bottles all around town, so I’ve combed the selections widely available at B.C. Liquor Stores to come up with a roundup of my top 10 bang-for-your-buck, $25-or-less sparklers. A small handful have been highlighted here over the course of the year, but the majority are new to these pages. Fortunately, there’s extra value offered, with many of them discounted through December 29, so best to jump on those selections.
Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Cava NV
Penedès, Spain; $13.99
A ridiculously good, year-round bargain. This Cava bursts with lemon, lime, and Granny Smith apples and is so fresh and lively that keeping your stamina up past midnight will be a breeze.
Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava NV
Penedès, Spain; $16.99, $15.49 until December 29
Segura Viudas has been a perennial favourite in our market, delivering top-tier quality at lower-shelf prices. In this mix of indigenous Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarel-lo varieties, those fresh-out-of-the-oven sourdough aromas greet orchard fruit like Gala apples, Bosc pears, and Red Haven peaches on the plate.
Veuve Du Vernay Brut Rosé NV
The folks behind this French fizz keep their cards close to their chests; it’s tough to pin down exact varietal or regional components. No matter. At 16 bucks, I’m loving this dry pink wine for its zippy red berry fruit, solid lashing of white pepper, and quite dry finish.
Cono Sur Sparkling Rosé NV
Bio Bio Valley, Chile; $18.99, $16.99 until December 29
I profiled this wine earlier this year and can’t stop thinking about it. It’s 100 percent Pinot Noir from the cool-climate Bio Bio region in the south of Chile, and we get lovely varietal elements of plum, cherry, and blackberry, with lively acidity and plenty of charisma.
Villa Conchi Cava Brut Selección NV
Penedès, Spain; $16.99
This Spanish Cava incorporates the wine style’s common indigenous varieties—Xarel-lo, Parellada, and Macabeo—but they’re rounded out with a nice juicy splash of Chardonnay. A mix of citrus fruit with a handful of apples is finished off with a burst of pineapple and a small pinch of tarragon.
Dr. Loosen Sparkling Riesling NV
Mosel, Germany; $17.99
If spicy snacks or dishes are on the roster, then head to Germany’s Mosel region for this lively Riesling from one of the country’s most notable producers. Honey-drenched pears, quince, lemon, and hazelnut carry a little bit of residual sugar at the end, perfect for enveloping any heat your dishes may carry.
Steller’s Jay Méthode Classique Brut 2015
Okanagan Valley, B.C.; $22.99, $20.99 until December 29
Definitely one of the best-value wines coming out of British Columbia, the Steller’s Jay sparkling made in the classic second-fermentation-in-the-bottle Champagne method is a brioch-y, citrusy charmer of a wine, composed of Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Noir. I’m not going to say that some may be fooled into thinking it’s Champagne—but I’m not not going to say that, either.
Chandon California Brut NV
Napa Valley, California; $29.49, $24.49 until December 29
Speaking of Champagne, the California outpost of this renowned French producer delivers a juicy, toasty culmination of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier with enough intensity to handle bold-flavoured dishes—or even those with spice—with ease.
Louis Bouillot “Perle d’Aurore” Crémant de Bourgogne Rosé Brut NV
Burgundy, France; $25.99, $23.99 until December 29
Pinot Noir from the Côte d’Or and Côte Chalonnaise joins Gamay from the Mâconnais, then spends 15 months on the lees, resulting in a creamy strawberry, cream soda, and fresh cranberry.
Bailly Lapierre Crémant de Bourgogne Réserve Brut NV
Burgundy, France; $24.99
A varietal profile of Burgundy: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Gamay, and Aligoté are harmonious in what they all bring to the plate. Fresh lime, guava, red currants, and lemongrass are woven together gracefully; a lovely, lovely ode to the region.
No matter what’s in your glass as we bring in the new year, I raise my glass to you and look forward to sharing another year’s worth of experiences and deliciousness in 2019.