Raise a glass of affordable bubbly this Fourth of July
With the Fourth of July coming up, it’s fitting to celebrate the Declaration of Independence by uncorking one, or more, of our top 10 affordable sparklers.
With most champagne $40 and up, our sparklers begin at $17, with the majority under $50 to make raising a glass affordable.
The sparklers hail from Sonoma County, Napa Valley and Mendocino County, and all are produced in the traditional method (méthode Champenoise) like Champagne, their European counterpart. This process calls for the wine to go through a secondary fermentation in the bottle with added yeasts devouring sugars and creating carbon dioxide, transported via those delightful bubbles.
When preparing for your gathering, plan to buy one bottle for every two people, or one for every three if your friends are light drinkers.
As for chilling, put the bottlings in the refrigerator 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Finally, regular white wine glasses trump flutes because they allow you to savor the aromas.
Before you shop bubbles, be sure to peruse our list, with labels in alphabetical order within their wine regions.
Breathless, NV Brut Sparkling Wine, Sonoma County, 12.9%, $29. Light and lively, this brut has aromas and flavors of pear, brioche and melon. With nice length, this refreshing sparkler is a blend of 53% pinot noir, 39% chardonnay and 8% pinot meunier.
Breathlesswines.com, 499 Moore Lane, Healdsburg, 707-395-7300
Flaunt, 2017 Brut Sparkling Wine, Russian River Valley, 12.5%, $48. Nutty, yeasty aromas follow through to the palate with pear, melon and apple in the mix. Supple texture, with a lively mousse. The blend of 58% pinot noir and 42% chardonnay is spot-on.
Flauntwinecompany.com, 1058 Elsbree Lane, Windsor, 707-806-9008
Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards
Gloria Ferrer, NV Brut Sparkling Wine, Sonoma, Carneros, 12.5%, $25. This sparkler over-delivers. It has layered flavors of apple, brioche and almond, with a nutty finish. Balanced and light on its feet, it’s buoyed with crisp acid. A steal for the price.
Gloriaferrer.com, 23555 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, 707-933-1917
Iron Horse Vineyards
Iron Horse Vineyards, 2018 Brut X Sparkling Wine, Green Valley of the Russian River Valley, 13.5%, $59. A striking sparkler, this bottling is complex and refreshing. It has notes of ripe apple, strawberry and a kiss of vanilla. This bubbly — 50% pinot noir and 50% chardonnay — has a great mouthfeel with a creamy texture and a lively mousse. It’s pretty.
Ironhorsevineyards.com, 9786 Ross Station Road, Sebastopol, 707-887-1507
J Vineyards & Winery
J Vineyards, NV Cuvee 20 Sparkling Wine, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, $38. This sparkler has notes of pomegranate, apple and almond, with a citrusy finish. Delicate, it’s light on its feet.
Jwine.com, 11447 Old Redwood Highway, Healdsburg, 888-594-6326
Korbel Champagne Cellars
Korbel, 2018 Natural Sparking Wine, Russian River Valley, 12.5%, $17.
Nice and dry, this sparkler has notes of apple, raspberry and lime. A blend of pinot noir and chardonnay, this bubbly is a steal for the price.
Korbel.com, 13250 River Road, Guerneville, 707-824-7000
Domaine Carneros, 2017 Estate Brut Cuvee Sparkling Wine, Carneros, 12%, $37.
A layered bubbly with notes of melon, green apple and toast. Rich and round, this sparkler is a blend of 52% pinot noir and 48% chardonnay. It’s lovely.
Domainecarneros.com, 1240 Duhig Road, Napa, 707-257-0101
Mumm Napa, 2017 Blanc de Blancs Reserve, 12.5%, $44.
This sparkler has a refreshing undercurrent of citrus. Layered, it has notes of green apple, yeast and lemon. Dry and balanced, it’s well-crafted with crisp acidity.
Mummnapa.com, 8445 Silverado Trail, Napa, 707-967-7700
Schramsberg Vineyards, 2019 Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine, North Coast, 12.6%, $42.
This impressive sparkler, 100% chardonnay, has an intriguing dichotomy; it’s rich yet has impeccable balance. It has lush notes of baked apple and brioche coupled with flavors of green apple and Meyer lemon. With a lively mousse, it’s a knockout.
The Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs gained its 15 minutes of international fame in 1972 when then-President Richard Nixon uncorked it at the historic Toast to Peace in Beijing, China.
Schramsberg.com, 1400 Schramsberg Road, Calistoga, 707-942-4558
Roederer, NV Estate Brut, Anderson Valley, 12.5%, $30. Dry, this refreshing brut has pitch-perfect balance. Complex, with layered notes of pear, brioche and a hint of lemon zest. It’s elegant.
Roedererestate.com, 4501 Highway 128, Philo, 707-895-2288
Wine Writer Peg Melnik can be reached at email@example.com or 707-521-5310.
Wine, The Press Democrat
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