Champagne and American sparkling wine still dominate the market, but now consumers can also choose Cava, Franciacorta, Lambrusco or Prosecco — all named for the regions in which the grapes are grown.
In addition, the bubbles are available in all prices.
Mercat Cava arrived in the metro this fall. The Spanish sparkling wine is made the same way as Champagne, but typically is less costly.
The Mercat is a delicious mix of apricot, peach and lemon. It will easily accompany Christmas dinner, or it’s delicious by itself for New Year’s Eve. It’s available at Broadway Wine Merchants, 824 N. Broadway.
Prosecco is a traditional Italian sparkling wine. Nearly unknown in the metro a few years ago, it is showing up on shelves and wine lists all over town. Most bottles are under $20.
LaMarca is an excellent introduction to this style. It’s light and crisp, with flavors of apple and peach. Find it at Byron’s Liquor Warehouse, 2322 N. Broadway.
Adami Bosco di Gica is a slightly different style of Prosecco. Chris Hancock at Freeman Liquor Mart, 4401 N. Western, calls it “more interesting and more complex” than traditional Prosecco.
The Adami is creamier and more floral than other Proseccos, but the solid fruit flavors and crisp acid are still there. You can find it at Broadway Wine Merchants and Freeman.
Ever have someone ask you for a sweet red wine? Not only are they hard to find, but the quality can be an issue. Sparkling Lambrusco solves that problem.
Cleto Chiarli has two distinctive styles of Lambrusco, one sweet and one dry. The Vecchio Modena is light, crisp and dry. It pairs well with poultry, making it a solid, affordable option.
The Grasparossa di Castelvetro is rich and slightly sweet. The weight is solid, and the acid prevents the sweetness from becoming cloying. Both are available at Byron’s and Freeman.
For American sparkling wine, Gruet remains one of the best values in the metro. The New Mexico winery consistently produces solid wines for under $20.
Gruet is widely available in Brut, Blanc de Noirs, Blanc de Blancs and Rosé. You can find it at Byron’s or The Grape Wine & Spirit, 5900 W. Memorial.
For the gold standard, look for Grower Champagnes. This category is produced by vintners who grow their own grapes and produce their own wine. Freeman and The Grape have a nice selection. Paul Bara Rosé and Pehu Simonet are outstanding introductions to this class.