Bubbly for Those Balling and Those on a Budget
We have an insane lineup of sparkling wines that are suited for anyone’s palate… and budget! We’ve included some stellar champagnes from superstar growers, plus unique and delicious sparkling wines from around the world.
Our “professional wine geek",” Evie, has travelled to Champagne and had the opportunity to meet multiple producers and taste hundreds of wines! A few producers she sat with in their garden while they regaled her with stories (all in French), and even went down into a few cellars to see bottles decades old. These experiences created an undying love for Champagne, both the region and the wine, and we know you’ll fall in love too!
We’ve gone to great lengths to offer not only the truly best grower champagnes, but sparkling wines as well. If you need a few bottles for that holiday party, or an inexpensive bubbles that will impress everyone this NYE, we’ve got you covered.
Read on to hear what exceptional sparkling wines we have on offer.
Casa de Saima, Espumante Bruto (2016) — Bairrada, Portugal
Made entirely from Baga, a grape indigenous to the region and known to have similarities to Pinot Noir or Nebbiolo. The 18 hectare estate is owned by Grace Maria who continues to make exceptional bubbles in a region which was in fact the very first to produce Champagne Method sparkling wines. Not only that, they also uphold the tradition of treading the grapes by foot — believing this is the most gentle way to handle the grapes, and produce wine of the highest quality. This ideology is further carried out by the biodynamic practices both in the vineyard and the winery.
This wine is an exceptional value! It’s completely dry, with briny and mineral notes that are balanced with pleasant yellow fruits which lead to a crisp finish. This is definitely a crowd-pleaser.
Domaine du Facteur “La Bulle du Facteur” Pet Nat (NV) — Loire Valley, France
For those unfamiliar with “pet nat” it’s short for “petillant naturel” which uses the ancestral method to create bubbles in a wine. Instead of going through the lengthy Champagne Method which requires a second fermentation in bottle, the ancestral method begins fermentation in tank, or barrel, then finishes that same fermentation in bottle under crown cap which traps CO2 and creates bubbles. One could say this is the “lazy” way to make a bottle of bubbles, though really it’s the purest form of sparkling wine, that’s meant to be approachable and quaffable.
The “La Bulle du Facteur” is entirely Chenin Blanc sourced from various vineyards in Vouvray, all organically farmed. When I first tried this wine, I couldn’t believe how complex yet simply delicious it was. It’s almost like you’re drinking a cider… If that cider was the most refined and exquisite cider you ever had in your life!
If you want something that is fun, unique and truly special, this is the sparkling wine for you.
Bénédicte et Stéphane Tissot, Extra Brut Rosé, Cremant du Jura (NV) — Jura, France
Jura wines are some of the most distinctive and eclectic wines in the world. A tiny region that is sandwiched between Burgundy and the Swiss Alps, it’s extremely cool climate produces delicate wines of elegance and finesse. The predominate varieties grown are Trousseau, Poulsard and Pinot Noir — all of which contribute to the make up of this cremant (aka any sparkling wine that is made in France, but outside of Champagne).
Tissot is one of the most noteworthy producers in the Jura, with Stephane Tissot currently at the helm. And it’s worth mentioning that Stephane worked under the guidance of Nady Foucault, the famous Chinon producer of Clos Rougeard. Though once out from under Foucault’s wings, Stephane began to develop his own cult-like following with his world-class still and sparkling wines.
This sparkling rosé is the perfect companion with practically any food! Fresh, bright cherries along with strawberry and rose water notes dance along your tongue with such ease you’ll find yourself at the end of the bottle in a matter of minutes.
Champagne Chartogne-Taillet, Brut, “Cuveé Sainte Anne” (NV) — Champagne, France
Alexander Chartogne-Taillet is leading the way in biodynamic winemaking in the Champagne region. He studied under Anselme Selosse, of Jacques Selosse, one of the most revered Champagne growers alive today. His teachings are the foundation of Alexander’s winemaking philosophy. He very much focuses on terroir, with an emphasis on single-vineyard and single-cru champagnes.
His “Cuveé Sainte Anne” is a blend of 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay from vineyards within the Montagne de Reims village of Merfy. In Merfy the chalk is buried under a topsoil of sand which in turn produces grapes that give a bright, lively fruitiness to the wine. This wine is certainly that…
Delicately presented, with tea rose and ground anise notes wafting through flavors of white raspberry, glazed apricot, filo pastry and lemon peel. This is all balanced by a mouthwatering acidity that keeps you going back for more.
Champagne R. Pouillon et Fils 1er Cru, Brut, “Solera” (NV) — Champagne, France
This champagne is like nothing else! Fabrice Pouillon is a 3rd generation winemaker who is innovative, diligent, and passionate. Champagnes to him should be more about the terroir and less about vintage. Being that vintage champagne is only made in the best years (due to the unpredictable and cold weather in the region), people have become obsessed with talking about vintage when it comes to Champagne. However, Fabrice wanted to change the focus to the amazing and varied terroir that Champagne has. To do this he decided, instead of having a regular base wine, he would have a sherry-like system (aka Solera system) that created a perpetual cuvée starting as far back as 1997. Every year, 30% of the cuvée is racked off for secondary fermentation. With so many vintages all in one wine, you can only but focus on the terroir which is the thread that weaves the wine together.
The “Solera” is a blend of 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay, aged in large oak barrels to preserve the purity of the fruit. With 16 different vintages that are added successively to the blend, you get a timeless vision of their terroir.
Champagne Georges Laval, Extra Brut, “Garrennes” (NV) — Champagne, France
Georges Laval is THE LEADER in quality organic winemaking in Champagne. Since the early 1970’s, George Laval stuck to strict organic practices, even going as far as calling off the giant herbicide and pesticide helicopter sprays resulting in having to spray his neighboring growers fields by hand just to make sure none of those contaminants got into his own vineyards. Today his son, Vincent, continues this hardworking practice in the vines. You can still find a horse drawn plow going up and down the rows, and Vincent out in the vineyard harvesting everything by hand.
Laval is known for producing exquisite champagnes from his organic viticulture, fully-ripe grapes and minimal interventionist winemaking. In fact, one of the foremost experts on Champagne, Peter Liem, has said “The most profound single-vineyard champagnes being made in Cumiéres today are those from the tiny estate of Georges Laval.” It’s hard to argue with that!
Not only are his champagnes some of my personal all time favorites (and believe me, I’ve drunk a lot of champagne) he’s also one of the most lovable guys in the world! Both he and his wines have such an energy about them, both commanding attention from any individual that crosses their path.
The “Garrennes” is a blend of 40% Meunier from Chambrecy and 5% each of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, along with reserve wine from Cumiéres from 2014, 2013 and 2011. It’s a generous, vibrant wine (again, much like Laval himself) that is both rounded and elegant, making any Champagne lover swoon.