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The best sparkling wines, according to sommeliers

Top picks from the pros

A sea of sparkling wine in glasses
Narek87 / Shutterstock

Of the many categories of wine, sparkling wine may be the most vast. And it’s full of treasures, from its foundation in France to the south of England and on to the valleys of Baja Mexico.

Master Sommelier Ian Cauble, founder of SommSelect, says the world of sparkling is much broader than that of Champagne. “Producers all over Europe are utilizing the ‘traditional method,’ the synonymous term for ‘Champagne method,’ wherein the secondary fermentation, which creates the bubbles, is carried out in the bottle,” he said. Translation? There’s a whole realm of attention-worthy modern sparklers, ones Cauble suggests can rival even the best iconic Champagnes. 

Miguel Marquez is of the same mindset. Once the sommelier at Portland wine bar Vino Veritas, he has a special interest in the burgeoning wine scene of Mexico, especially the Baja California region. There, producers are making striking bubbly out of grapes like sauvignon blanc and grenache blanc.

We picked the brains of these two sommeliers to put together our list of best sparkling wines (and added a few esteemed selections of our own). Below, you’ll find 19 standout options that span the globe to bring joy to your palate.

AR Lenoble Champagne Bottle
AR Lenoble

Best overall: Champagne AR Lenoble Chouilly Grand Cru 2012 Millesime

“AR Lenoble is one of the most buzzed-about, avant-garde houses in Champagne — they are a rare breed in Champagne crafting the greatest, purest expressions from an impressive collection of elite vineyards,” Cauble said. This wine delivers layer after layer, with a striking minerality that reminds of crushed stone and chalk. “The nose oozes white-gloved delicacy first and foremost, but with a wonderful richness that constantly evolves from ripe orchard fruit, peach, and apricot, to salt-preserved lemon, citrus blossoms, lees, and honeysuckle,” he adds. “This is the epitome of Grand Cru blanc de blancs!”

Renerdat-Fache Cerdon Wine Bottle
Renerdat-Fache

Best for parties: Renardat-Fâche Cerdon

This wine is fun, made from Gamay Noir and Poulsard. Better, the sparkling Rosé will appeal equally to wine nerds and those just looking for something flavorful and refreshing. The wine is as pretty as its picturesque homeland of Savoie, France.

Murgo Brut Rose Bottle
Murgo

Best value: Murgo Método Classico Brut Rosé

Wines made through the Champagne method tend to be costly, reflecting the meticulous and arduous winemaking process. “I remain amazed that the Scammacca del Murgo family gets this handmade Brut Rosé — crafted on the volcanic slopes and Mount Etna and aged a full two years on lees before final bottling — on the market for less than $30,” Cauble stated. “It is one of the greatest sparkling wine values you’ll ever see.”

Gusbourne Brut Reserve Bottle
Gusbourne

Best Champagne substitute: Gusbourne Estate Brut Reserve

Cauble calls this an “off-the-beaten-path” sparkling wine. It hails from Kent in southern England and can go head to head with just about anything out of Champagne. “English sparkling wine has been dominating Champagne in recent blind tastings for one very important reason,” Cauble said. “It has a climate and soil type that’s nearly identical to Champagne’s.”

Vena Cava Pet-Nat Wine
Vena Cava

Best discovery: Vena Cava 2020 Pet-Nat

A pétillant-naturel style wine, this selection comes from the Valle de Guadalupe in Mexico. It’s fermented naturally, made from organic grapes, and crafted by British expat winemaker Phil Gregory. “Tropical, aromatic, yet very fresh and balanced fruit with keen acidity,” Marquez said of the wine.

Mionetto Brut Bottle
Mionetto

Best under $15: Mionetto Prosecco Brut

There’s a lot of Prosecco out there coming in at roughly this price point,t but Mionetto’s version is hard to beat. It’s not going to blow you away with complexity, but it will over-deliver in terms of texture and approachability.

Chateau d'Orschwihr Alsace Bottle
Cheateau d'Orschwihr

Best for gifting: Chateau d’Orschwihr Cremant d’Alsace

It’s hard not to have some aged Alsace on the list. This one is made entirely of Chardonnay and is simply riveting on the palate. Marquez loves the 2011, especially, but you’re likely to savor any vintage you can get your paws on.

Some bubbly wine.
Maurese / Shutterstock

Best small-batch: Mina Penelope 2018 Brut Nature Aglianico

“Elegant yet aromatic, eloquent yet balanced,” Marquez said of this Mina Penelope wine. It’s the work of respected Mexican winemaker Verónica Santiago, a tiny lot of tasty wine made from estate fruit. Marquez calls it very Old World, mimicking the style you’d find in the Loire.

Longridge Brut Bottle
Longridge

Best Southern Hemisphere bubbly: Longridge Brut

Marquez is a fan of this refined South African sparkler. It’s made from the classic combo of pinot noir and chardonnay, and it offers almond notes alongside green apple and toast.

Michele Capdepon Brut Bottle
Michele Capdepon

Best backstory: Michèle Capdepon Blanquette de Limoux

Most people think sparkling wines started in Champagne, but many experts believe it actually launched in the Languedoc. You can taste the tradition here, a well-engineered wine showing wild honey, peach, and even a hint of pine needle.

A bottle of Louis Roederer Brut Premier.
Louis Roederer

Most reliable: Louis Roederer Brut Premier

The wine industry looks up to Roederer, and for good reason. The sparkling wine is always impressive, regardless of the vintage or style. The Brut Premier is a stellar option, beloved by critics and casual drinkers alike.

A bottle of ROCO RMS 2015 Brut.
ROCO

Best domestic: ROCO RMS Brut

The Willamette Valley has been dubbed the future of New World sparkling wine. Here’s a tremendous example from long-standing producer Rollin Soles. It’s full of personality and great now or cellared for years to come.

Lucien Albrecht Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rose
Lucien Albrecht

Best bargain pink bubbly: Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace Brut Rose

This beaming pink wine from Alsace should be priced much higher (but we’re not complaining). It’s made entirely of pinot noir, and it shows prominent stone fruit characteristics with a nice crispness.

Enrico Serafino Alta Langa Metodo Classico Oudeis Brut
Enrico Serafino

Favorite Piedmont sparkler: Enrico Serafino Alta Langa Metodo Classico Oudeis Brut

Made in the classic Italian style, this wine is full of delicate details and minerality. We love the bread-y notes, and it’s a great one alongside rustic cheeses or shrimp cocktail.

Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blancs NV
Gloria Ferrer

Best people-pleasing brut: Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut

A charming wine from Sonoma wine country, this bottle of bubbles offers a creamy texture and all of those signature sparkling wine fruit flavors, from apple and citrus to pear. The effervescence is dialed in, and it’s a standout for the price.

Cuvaison Blanc de Blancs
Cuvaison

Best party-starter bubbly: Cuvaison Blanc de Blancs

Cuvaison is behind some great limited-run wines, namely Burgundian varietals. The sparkling is no exception, a layered wine from Los Carneros. This is one you pour and sip over the course of an evening, enjoying each and every aspect.

Billecart salmon brut rose champagne.
Champagne Billecart-Salmon

Best classic: Champagne Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé

Of the many pink sparklers out there, this one might be our favorite. The depth is impressive, and while there’s plenty of fizz, the complexity rivals that of many famous still wines. While great with a number of dishes, we suggest diving into the galaxy of flavors on its own, so as not to miss a thing.

Lanson Black Label Brut Champagne Bottle
Champagne Lanson

Best vintage bubbles: Lanson le Vintage 2009

Just about every release from Lanson is worthwhile, but the vintage stuff truly is a top-notch choice. People tend to forget that Champagne ages gracefully, too, and can often be all the better after some cellaring time. Here’s a great example, a balanced and robust sparkling wine from the birthplace of the category.

McCollum sparkling wine.
McCollum Heritage 91

Best celeb bubbles: McCollum Heritage 91 Sparkling 2016 Blanc de Blancs

Basketball star CJ McCollum has a great wine label based in the Willamette Valley and just released his first sparkling. It’s a great option, made under the guidance of Adelsheim Vineyard. While a lot of celebrity labels lack in terms of character, this one really shines.

There’s plenty more where that came from. Check out our features on the growing popularity of sparkling wine and the best sparkling rose wines. We’ve also got some great still wines for the holiday season, too.

Editors' Recommendations

Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
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