Whether you're shopping for bubbles for a special occasion or your New Year’s Eve toast, before you shell out $50 or more for that iconic orange label, it’s worth getting an in-depth look at what else is out there—especially if you’re hoping to expand your wine horizons or just find something at a more approachable price point. If you’re unfamiliar with the sparkling wine category, a good rule of thumb to remember is that Champagne is a sparkling wine that must come from its eponymous region in France (and adhere to a strict set of rules), which means that not all sparkling wines are Champagnes.
In fact, sparkling wine can be made all over the world, with many regions known for their distinctive styles. Italy produces prosecco, méthode cap classique is made in South Africa, and cava is what you'll find in Spain. And remember: just because these bottles don’t bear the word “Champagne” on their labels doesn’t mean they can’t be great.
Here are our top sparkling wine picks of the year, each from a different pin on the map.
Egly-Ouriet Brut Tradition Grand Cru
In today's wide and diverse world of sparkling wine options, there's a reason that Champagne is still the standard-bearer of the bubbly realm. In addition to the many great sparkling wines made in the Champagne region of France, a majority of the most celebrated bubblies from elsewhere in the world employ the ancient method of production (the Méthode Champenoise, or Traditional Method) that was developed hundreds of years ago in Champagne and is still mandated there today. In other words, Champagne is a category of sparkling wine that's all about tradition—and no one embodies the ethos of tradition better than Egly-Ouriet.
Crafted from a blend of pinot noir (70%) and chardonnay (30%), the Egly-Ouriet Brut Tradition is produced by the same family who own the grapes, which makes this a "grower Champagne"—definitely the old way of doing things, but comparatively rare in today's world of marquee labels that buy their grapes from numerous farmers across the region. Most importantly, the flavors of the Brut Tradition are just stellar, with notes of black cherry, fresh mint, and toasted pastries leading to a savory mushroom finish. This is complex and fascinating Champagne, and sets a high bar for the rest of the world's bubblies to aspire to.
Price at time of publish: $104.95
Region: Champagne, France | ABV: 12.5% | Tasting Notes: Black cherry, Mint, Pastry dough
Bolet Brut Nature Classic Cava
This bottle is an organic Cava made by seventh-generation winemakers that will make you question why you haven’t been drinking more Cava. Haitian-American sommelier extraordinaire Bianca Sanon articulates why this sparkling wine is a must-try. “For those of you who enjoy the rich, yeasty style of Champagne, Cava is made in the same method, with the second fermentation happening in the bottle," she says. Crafted from the traditional Cava blend of Xarel-lo, Parellada, and Macabeo, the Brut Nature from Bolet is dry, aromatic, and versatile. "This is the kind of easy-drinking wine, with its delicate and refined bubbles and hints of citrus, apple, and brioche, that you want to sip on at the end of all of the holiday celebrations," says Sanon. "Pair it with shellfish or greens and cornbread—a classic New Year's Day dish!”
Price at time of publish: $17.99
Region: Penedès, Spain | ABV: 11.5% | Tasting Notes: Citrus, Apple, Brioche
Domaine Serene "Evenstad Reserve" Dundee Hills Brut M.V. 4
If you’re looking to invest in a great bottle of bubbles outside of the Champagne category, look no further than this special blend of exceptional vintages from Domaine Serene in Oregon’s Willamette Valley (the Dundee Hills area, to be exact). The "Evenstad Reserve" Brut M.V. 4 is a wonderfully complex dry sparkling wine with bright acidity and notes of sumptuous brioche, Honeycrisp apple, lemon zest, and a slight earthiness. Pair this with anything fried and salty (like French fries or arancini) for a surefire crowd-pleaser.
Price at time of publish: $85
Region: Dundee Hills, Oregon | ABV: 12.2% | Tasting Notes: Brioche, Honeycrisp apple, Lemon zest
Mumm Napa Brut Reserve Rosé
For some, rosé might seem like a warm-weather wine, but if you ask Mumm Napa Head Winemaker Tami Lotz, she’ll tell you a different story: personally, she enjoys the house’s Brut Reserve Rosé most after it’s been chilled in the snow. This coral-hued sparkling rosé is an amalgam of up to 20 different lots across Napa, a blend of mostly pinot noir and chardonnay. It’s creamy, beautifully dry with bright acidity, and offers deeply enticing notes of plum, strawberry preserves, and baking spices on the palate. Sip it by a roaring fireplace throughout the holidays for peak enjoyment.
Price at time of publish: $15.97
Region: Napa Valley | ABV: 12.5% | Tasting Notes: Strawberry preserves, Baking spices, Plum
Best Sparkling Red
Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco di Sorbara Vecchia Modena
“Lambrusco is a much-ignored and misunderstood yet pleasurable celebration in a bottle,” says Anneliese Place, a private sommelier and WSET Level 3 candidate based in Santa Barbara, California. Indeed, Lambrusco's reputation was marred in decades past by the saturation of the import market with inexpensive, unapologetically cheap examples—which sold well, but weren't representative of Lambrusco's potential for complexity and elegance. This bottle from Cleto Chiarli is a Lambrusco di Sorbara, widely considered the finest designation within the category, which displays a dark pink coloration and creamy notes of strawberry and crème fraîche alongside Lambrusco's signature rustic savoriness.
Price at time of publish: $18.99
Region: Emilia-Romagna, Italy | ABV: 11% | Tasting Notes: Strawberry, Crème fraîche, Cherry cream
Best French (non-Champagne)
Jacky Blot Domaine de la Taille aux Loups Montlouis Triple Zero
“One of my favorite bubbles to recommend is Jacky Blot's Domaine de la Taille aux Loups Montlouis Triple Zero from the Loire Valley,” says sommelier and “V is for Vino” host Vincent Anter. According to him, this French region is responsible for incredible bubblies made from 100 percent Chenin Blanc, and this particular bottle is rather unique.
“The ‘Triple Zero’ stands for zero chaptalization (sugar added before fermentation), zero liqueur de tirage (added yeast), and dosage (sugar added after fermentation for sweetness)," he says. "What you are left with is a ‘pétillant naturel,’ or ‘pét-nat,' in which the bubbles occur naturally and with minimal intervention.” And while Anter feels that many pét-nats can be downright terrible, he finds Jacky Blot’s to be creamy and fresh, and appreciates that it expresses the chenin grape in its purest form.
“The final product is unfiltered," adds Anter. "Bone dry, bubbly (though slightly less than Champagne Method bubbles), and medium-bodied, with notes of apples, pineapple, creamy caramel, and minerality, it's a perfect starter wine for your New Year's Eve apps and cheese board.”
Price at time of publish: $27.99
Region: Loire Valley, France | ABV: 12.5% | Tasting Notes: Apples, Pineapple, Caramel
Ferrari Perlé Trentodoc
While you might think of Italy as being synonymous with Prosecco (which isn’t wrong), there’s much more of the country’s sparkling wine scene just waiting to be discovered. Miguel Martinez, a sommelier at Vino Veritas Wine Bar and Bottle Shop in Portland, Oregon, is partial to this lovely bottle of bubbles from Trentino, a mountainous winemaking region in northern Italy that uses the Traditional Method to make its namesake wines. Iconic Trentodoc producer Ferrari and its beloved vintage Blanc de Blancs, Perlé, is Martinez’s go-to, thanks to its golden-yellow color, elegant richness (though make no mistake, this is a dry wine), and notes of almonds, apple skin, and subtle spice.
Price at time of publish: $45.97
Region: Trentino, Italy | ABV: 12.5% | Tasting Notes: Almonds, Apple skin, Subtle spice
Esencia Rural "Pampaneo Ancestral"
This sparkling wine is a fascinating pét-nat from the Castilla-La Mancha region of Spain and another favorite of Bianca Sanon. “Pampaneo Ancestral is a playful, crisp sparkling wine that comes from 100-year old pre-phylloxera (a.k.a. very old!) vines of Airen in Castilla-La Mancha," she says. "Airén is a grape typically used for bulk wine production in some of the sunniest places in Spain, but in the hands of Julián Ruiz of Esencia Rural, it is nothing short of expressive, refined, and delicious." This funky bubbly is made in the ancestral method, meaning the wine is bottled midway through the fermentation process when there’s still a bit of unfermented sugar left, a process which then traps the resulting carbon dioxide from the additional fermentation and creates a bubbly atmosphere. "Look for notes of starfruit and underripe pineapple," says Sanon, "along with a bit of pear and sweetgrass.”
Price at time of publish: $19.99
Region: Napa Valley | ABV: 11.5% | Tasting Notes: Starfruit, Underripe pineapple, Pear
Best South African
Graham Beck Brut
If you haven’t yet ventured into the world of South African wines, this Brut is a good place to start. One of our favorite sparkling wine categories of all time is Méthode Cap Classique, or the country’s take on the Traditional Method (think of it as the Champagne of South Africa). Iconic producer Graham Beck is a great way to begin your MCC quest—this classic blend of chardonnay and pinot noir is not only a perfect representation of the Western Cape’s terroir and winemaking style, but it is also just plain delicious. Perhaps that’s why it was served at Nelson Mandela’s inauguration and one of Obama’s presidential wins.
Price at time of publish: $19.25
Region: Western Cape, South Africa | ABV: 12.1% | Tasting Notes: Peach, Honeysuckle, Toast
Keush Vayotz Dzor Armenia Brut Sparkling NV
Some bottle recommendations are best sought by asking the owner of an independent wine shop what they suggest. Karen Williams, who owns and operates ACME Fine Wines in Napa (which was voted one of Wine Enthusiast’s Best Wine Retailers of 2020), shares her personal crush in the bubbles realm.
“[KEUSH Vayots Dzor] weds high quality with a dreamy price point. Crafted using the Traditional Method, or Méthode Champenoise, from indigenous Armenian varietals (Khatoun Kharji and Voskehat) and grown on volcanic and limestone soils, the grapes are ripened at their high-elevation perch situated between 4,000-6,000 feet above sea level,” she shares. “We love the energetic personality that commingles with fresh melon and nutty tones beneath the bubbling, foamy mousse. At four grams per liter of residual sugar, we find perfect pairings for the Brut style are an assortment of house-cured meats and soft, aromatic cheeses; and for a traditional pairing, simple pasta topped with feta, yogurt, garlic, butter, and herbs.”
Price at time of publish: $20.99
Region: Armenia | ABV: 12% | Tasting Notes: Melon, Nutty, Mineral
Yarden Blanc de Blancs
“Sparkling wine from Israel sounds like the perfect option to celebrate the holidays,” says WSET Advanced Spanish wine scholar Myrna Elguezabal. “This is a 100 percent chardonnay sparkling wine produced in the northern Golan Heights, the coolest viticultural area in Israel." The Yarden is a well-crafted sparkling wine with aromas of white flowers, pears, bread, and a note of minerality, making it an ideal pairing for oysters, creamy pasta dishes, and New Year celebrations.
Price at time of publish: $46.99
Region: Golan Heights, Israel | ABV: 12% | Tasting Notes: White flowers, Pears, Bread
Chances are you’ve never heard of (let alone tasted) a Brazilian sparkling wine. Luckily, there’s a great vintage example on the market, thanks to D.M. Brut, a new bubbly from producer Dom Maria, crafted with the goal of expressing the terroir of southern Brazil. This wine is a blend of chardonnay and pinot noir—a classic combo for Champagnes and other sparkling wines—and it’s made in the Traditional Method.
The brand seems to be a bit more about aesthetic than it is about communicating what the wine actually tastes like, but we found it to be quite pleasant on the palate with a subtle nose of lemon curd and marshmallow. You can expect ultra-fine bubbles and a punchy dryness with the deep berry notes of the pinot noir coming through nicely.
Price at time of publish: $30
Region: Vale dos Vinhedos, Brazil | ABV: 11.5% | Tasting Notes: Lemon curd, Marshmallow, Berry
Mionetto Brut Prosecco
If you’re planning any kind of holiday brunch, or just like the occasional spontaneous solo sip of bubbles, you’ll want to keep a few bottles of Mionetto’s adorable mini Prosecco bottles at all times. These babies each contain a generous single glass or two to three mimosas, depending on how you choose to drink or serve it. Best of all, the Prosecco itself is of value that belies the price tag with its light body, crisp, clean dryness, bright acidity, and bouquet of stone fruits and perfectly ripe orchard apple.
Price at time of publish: $5.49
Region: Veneto, Italy | ABV: 11% | Tasting Notes: Stone fruit, Apple, Acidity
There's nothing more fun than discovering new sparkling wines from distant lands—or, better yet, from a region somewhere close to you. At the end of the day, there's still something especially magical about a classically-styled Champagne, and it's hard to top the Egly-Ouriet Brut Tradition for clarity, finesse, and all-around deliciousness.
What to Look for When Buying a Sparkling Wine
There are different types of sparkling wine, including prosecco, rosé, cava, Champagne, Lambrusco, and others. Different colors, processes, flavors, and sweetness come into play when determining the type you want to pop open for that special celebration or occasion.
Sparkling wine is available in numerous types and flavors, and you can taste notes of apples, berries, melons, almonds, plums, spices, flowers, and more. These wines are clean, crisp, and bubbly, but check the bottle's label to see if the sparkling wine you're looking at falls into the dry or sweet category.
These wines bestow various aromas. While sipping a glass, you may enjoy the smell of flowers, fruits, nuts, spices, even bread. The aroma will vary depending on the type of sparkling wine that's currently tickling your nose and tingling your mouth with those wondrous bubbles.
Should sparkling wine be served chilled?
Place that bottle into the refrigerator and let it chill down to 40 F to 45 F for serving.
How do you store sparkling wine?
Once opened, this wine should be refrigerated, where it will keep for three to five days. Make sure that cork is tightly back in place, or if you don't have one, use a wine stopper that fits snugly.
What food do you pair with sparkling wine?
These wines pair well with appetizers, entrées, and desserts. From steak to salmon, soups to caviar, oysters to fried fish and chips, cheeses to pizza, veggies to fruits, pasta to frittatas, you just can't go wrong with opening up a bottle.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Wine and spirits writer Céline Bossart has long been a proponent of sparkling wines. From her five-Euro-Asti-soaked college days in Italy, to a present in which she has nearly 30 different bottles of bubbles from around the world in her wine fridge, she’s the one to ask if you want a half-hour unbridled soliloquy on the subject.
United States Department of Agriculture. Guidelines for labeling wine with organic references. 2009.