“Come quickly, I am tasting the stars!” -Dom Perignon
While this famous quote refers to the heavenly sensations of French Champagne, we in California love our bubbles too. Whether it is in the form of craft beer, fizzy cocktails, or sparkling wine, our love affair with carbonation is endless. Just as fervently, we are loyal to our local and statewide producers, with the support of organic farms, creameries, family wineries, distilleries and craft breweries.
So it is only appropriate this holiday season that we look to our own incredible and community-supporting wineries when we search for affordable bubbles to grace our tables and treat our guests from around the world. Here are a few fantastic sparkling values from California, all under $25. (Nearly all of the following have received at least 90-91 points from major reviewers, including Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast):
Anderson Valley Brut: A true classic by 200-year old renowned Champagne house Louis Roederer (yes, of Cristal fame), it is a sure bet if you are unfamiliar with California sparkling wine. Comprised of 60 percent chardonnay and 40 percent pinot noir, the Roederer shows notes of honey, pear and apple. $20-23.
This famous winery gives you three choices under $25, all solid for holiday festivities.
Napa Brut Rose: Who doesn’t love pink bubbles? Made with 80 percent pinot noir and 20 percent chardonnay, it shows wild strawberry, cherry, peach and vanilla. $19-22.
Brut Prestige: This blend of chardonnay and pinot noir offers notes of apple, ginger, citrus and vanilla, and was named No. 54 on Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines of 2014. $20.
Cuvee M: A unique blend of 48 percent chardonnay, 43 percent pinot noir, 6 percent pinot gris and 3 percent pinot meunier, this carefully gathered cuvee has notes of pear, white peach and honey. $23.
Blanc de Blancs: The perfect present for those California chardonnay lovers in your family. With 100 percent of the varietal, this wine shows luscious notes of vanilla cream, brioche bread, apple and pear. $20-23.
Blanc de Noirs: A favorite winery for Napa visitors, the Blanc de Noirs features pinot noir and pinot meunier. It’s creamy, yet refreshing with notes of strawberry, cherry and vanilla. $22.
Blowout: From wine renegade Abe Schoener, this cheeky sparkler is a tribute to the ritual of hair blowouts. This unique diversion from tradition is produced with 80 percent verdelho and 20 percent grüner veltliner from the Sacramento River Delta. Using a process they term Méthode Futuriste, Blowout is for your own renegade spirit and assuredly any wine geeks in the family. $24.
Brut Cuvee: From Arroyo Grande comes a popular bubbly at a great price. Made with pinot noir, chardonnay, and nontraditional pinot blanc, it shows lovely apple, lemon curd, toast and honey. $21-25.
Hovering just above the $25 mark are two wines worth checking on (sometimes they are on sale below $25!): Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut, a 60 percent chardonnay and 40 percent pinot noir blend shows notes of juicy peaches, cream and brioche. $26
J Vineyards Cuvee 20, a California classic comprised of 55 percent chardonnay, 43 percent pinot noir and 2 percent pinot meunier offering citrus, honeysuckle, toast and vanilla. $26-30.
With 18 years in the restaurant and beverage industry and more than 850 reviews under her belt, Laurie Delk is a one-stop guide to all things craft beer, wine and spirits. You can follow Delk on Twitter @100beers30days or Instagram @sandiegobeer. Send ideas for featured drinks to firstname.lastname@example.org.