Our Method: For Non-French Sparkling Wines we look for wines made in the traditional French method with high attention to quality, yeasty smells on the nose, and pleasant small bubbles. Beyond this, these reviews are based on our opinion of what makes for a great value-minded wine. We look for balanced wines with no flaws. Second, we taste all the wines we recommend to ensure that each vintage and winery stands up to our exacting standards for what we love to recommend. Third, we look for wines that are indicative of the region they come from. For American Sparkling Wine this is predominately California, but some come from Oregon and even New York. Fourth, we use a Ten Point scale to ensure the ratings are easy to follow and remember and anything ranked above a 7.5/10 we consider a wine of great quality. Finally, we try to keep the language easy to follow to help you match wines that will align with your specific palate, because the best wines are the ones you enjoy the most! As always, reach out to us with any and all questions you may have with the “Ask a Sommelier” link, and feel free to engage in discussions at the bottom of each post!
1) Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs 2012
- (North Coast, California) $35 – LINK
- A rare value to be had with this vintage sparkling wine. Made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes it has delicious aromas of peaches, orange, mango, and a little yeast. The 2012 vintage was especially stellar with a restrained 12.8% alcohol and a coveted 93-point rating from our compatriotsover at Wine Enthusiast and a 90 from Wine Spectator. We love to pair this with oysters, lobsters, and really any fresh seafood for that matter and the complexity even makes for it to be something to sip all on its own as well!
Our Rating: 9.5/10
2) Iron Horse Russian Cuvee 2008
- (Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California) $33 – LINK
- Another lovely vintage sparkling wine from a boutique producer, this is meant to be drunk right now. Some have argued its past its peakin terms of aging, however, we see it as a perfect value to be had. Wonderful and balanced acidity coupled with pleasant aromas of toast and yeastas well as a creamy mouthfeel make for a unique drinking experience. The alcohol is a little on the high side at 13.5%, but this makes it fun to pair with food. It can stand up to salty appetizers (like smoked fish and cheese) as well as fruity desserts and even dark chocolate.
Our Rating: 9/10
3) Chandon California Brut Classic N.V.
- (Northern California) $20 – LINK
- This is one of our favorite value sparkling wines to open with friends. Extremely affordable and a lovely balanced wine. Made of predominantly Chardonnay and a little Pinot Noir grown in sunny Northern California. It has aromas of apple and citrus on the nose and a pleasant acidity andcrispness on the palate. Don’t be fooled by the fact you see it everywhere- this is a great bottle of bubbles.