It’s finally (finally!) the end of 2020. Break out the bubbles.
No year has earned their end of the year glass of Champagne more than 2020, to be sure. But if you haven’t stocked up on classic French bubbles yet, or want to try to something new, consider elegant sparklers from around the world.
There are several ways that winemakers achieve bubbles in sparkling wines; when wines say they are made in “the classic method,” this means they are produced in the way that French bubbles have been made for centuries, by maturing wines on the lees. This distinction is often touted on sparkling wine labels, because it’s a more laborious and expensive process than adding bubbles via carbonation or the tank method.
D.M. Brut is a new wine brand from Brazil, which blends Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Southern Brazil into a sprightly fresh wine. Produced in the traditional way, D.M. Brut is snappy and versatile, with a fresh aroma and crisp acidity that can be enjoyed alone or with food.
Italy boasts several world-class wine-making regions; two of them, Franciacorta and Trento, each produce metodo classico-style sparkling wines that aim to rival the best France has to offer.
Because Italian sparkling wines are lesser known abroad, they are still very much a value, offering sophisticated charming wines at a fraction of its French counterparts. Consider the 2015 rose from Antica Fratta, which delivers delicate salmon-hued bubbles, a berry-scented bouquet and a lilting structure that showcases the Pinot Noir character.
Schramsberg is a highly regarded Napa Valley vineyard, in part for their laborious production methods, which ages some wines for as long as eight years before release. They also age and ferment wine in oak barrels, producing liquids that will give the finished wines more complexity.
Look for the Blanc de Blancs in particular, as it was the brand’s first style when the winery debuted in 1965. According to the winery, their wine represented the first American Chardonnay-based sparkling wine commercially sold.
Trento is Franciacorta’s competitive sister region located in the Dolomite Alpine region. The high altitude means that vineyards are built into the sides of mountains, under conditions that include intense sun as well as cold nights. Trento’s winemakers will argue that the resulting grapes, and climate, rivals those found in France’s Reims.
Among the best known names from Trento is Ferrari (no relation to the car maker), a wine brand established at the turn of the century. With multiple awards and accolades, this is a great introduction into the Trentodoc wine style, which typically boasts creamy, charming liquids and small pearls of bubbles.