Worried about the great champagne shortage of 2021?
No need to panic: There are plenty of bubbles to go around. Thanks to the many wineries around the world that are making world-class fizz (often at more budget-friendly prices), we need never worry about clinking empty glasses over the holiday.
Here are 13 sparkling wines under $30 that will make you forget all about this year’s supply-chain problems.
Classic white fizz with a lively stream of tiny bubbles will never go out of style. As such, you can’t go wrong bringing a bottle of these crowd-pleasing traditional white sparklers.
Lightfoot and Wolfville’s sparkling wines fly slightly under-the-radar outside of Nova Scotia, but it’s definitely worth seeking out these hidden gems. The 2019 Bubbly White is aromatic and full of fresh life, with stone fruit and honeydew notes that make it one of the best things you could possibly drink while eating all of the cheese.
Domaine Baud Crémant de Jura Brut
Wine from Jura, a high-elevation region in France that borders on Switzerland, generates a fair bit of excitement in wine circles, since it’s known for high-quality, budget-friendly wines, like this one. This crémant*, made with the region’s renowned chardonnay, is remarkably delicate and fresh, with plenty of green apple and bright citrus to keep things interesting.
*Crémant refers to sparkling wine from one of several regions in France made according to the “traditional method” (a.k.a. the same way they make champagne).
Mission Hill Family Estate Sparkling Brut
Anyone planning to stay at home, watch movies and eat indulgent food while they close the books on another year will probably want to know that sparkling and popcorn is a tried-and-true pairing—and one that works especially well with these bubbles from British Columbia. Made entirely from grapes grown at the Mission Hill estate in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley, this dry and citrussy wine is a tremendous choice to sip while mindlessly eating well-buttered and lovingly salted snacks.
This award-winning Blanc de Blancs* from Niagara is an outstanding way to showcase Ontario’s up-and-coming chardonnay, which is receiving accolades everywhere. With its stone fruit and brioche notes, this vibrant, traditional method expression can hold its own against sparkling wine made all around the world.
*Blanc de Blancs means, simply, white wine made from white grapes. Although many people don’t realize it, a lot of white sparkling wines contain Pinot Noir—a black grape. Where does the colour go? With the skins, which are removed from the light green pulp that’s used to make the wine.
$29.95 at the LCBO; also available in QC.
Mellow, light and low-alcohol
Wines like Lambrusco—a red wine typically made in a “frizzante,” or lightly fizzy, style—and pet-nat are having a moment, in part because they’re lighter in alcohol, which is great for anyone who loves to have a second glass but can’t handle the side effects. (And I’ve argued before that it’s time to get over our mistrust of sparkling reds—they’re great with cheese and charcuterie.)
Cantina di Soliera Lambrusco di Sorbara
Think Lambrusco is too sweet? There’s actually a range of styles within this category of wine, from bone dry and light to rich and juicy dessert wines. This one is on the lighter side of things, but it’s got just enough berry flavour to make it a really good thing to drink with turkey.
$16.99 at the SAQ; also available at BCLiquor, private retailers in Alberta, at Eataly in Toronto and, in the rest of Ontario, directly from the agent, Noble Estates.
Lambrusco Reggiano Frizzante – Medici Ermete Concerto Lambrusco
Although still quite dry, this Lambrusco is rich and full of ripe cherries and berries, flavours that work brilliantly with high-fat celebratory roasts, be they duck or pork rib racks and even game like venison and elk.
$19.99 at BCLiquor; also available at private retailers in Alberta.
Short form for “pétillant-naturel” (naturally sparkling), pet-nat is different from most fizz in that it only has one fermentation, instead of two. That usually means the finished product is a little less bubbly and lower in alcohol. This one from Nova Scotia is light and delicious, with plenty of citrus—ideal for pairing with seafood or rich vegetable dishes.
Organic and biodynamic
It’s always nice to see these words on a label, but we should also mention that a lot of wines that don’t have these words on the label also use biodynamic and/or organic practices. It’s expensive to become officially certified.
You can’t cook up a big meal every night over the holiday season, so, when you finally take a break and order Thai, this is the wine you should have on hand—chilled and ready to go. It’s a dry riesling, which is always a treat, and it has just enough spark and fresh citrus to bring a little light to a dark winter evening.
Simply put, this award-winning organic and biodynamic B.C. winery consistently makes exquisite wines, including this complex, citrus-forward blend of riesling, pinot blanc and chardonnay that’s practically a liquid version of fruit and honey on toast. Brilliant bubbles.
Pares Balta Cava Brut
We can’t resist including Pares Balta, a charming Spanish organic and biodynamic family-owned winery on every list of great bubbles for several reasons, starting with the fact that it’s consistently perfect, dry and food-friendly cava. In addition, the price point is pretty great. Did we mention the head winemakers are both women?
$16.95 at the SAQ; Also available at private retailers in B.C. and Alberta.
What’s better than pink wine? Sparkling pink wine! It used to be hard to find dry sparkling rosé outside of Europe. Now, we have so many options and are spoiled for choice.
If there’s a better sparkling rosé for the price than Segura Viudas Rosé, we don’t know of it. It’s dry, has plenty of sharp acidity and ripe strawberry flavour. The best pairing for this is probably paella but, really, this is an incredibly versatile wine.
The Italian winery that makes this lovely pink prosecco suggests serving it with the famous fried street food they serve in Naples. Since a European vacation isn’t in the immediate cards for most of us, we’ll have to settle for drinking this light, fruity fizz with a nice box of crispy take-out fries.
$17.65 at the LCBO
Trius Brut Rosé Sparkling
Bursting with berries and citrus, this tasty sparkler is ideal for an intimate New Year’s dinner party. Save it for midnight or drink it with the meal. Either way, it’ll be great.
$29.95 at the LCBO.
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