Champagne, Crémant, Cava, Prosecco…. let’s talk Sparkling wines!
There are quality sparkling wines to suit every budget if you know what to look for. Champagne is the epitome of sparkling wines and has become synonymous with celebrations and luxury but it comes with a jarring price tag.
In a nutshell here are some recommendations on Sparkling Wines that won’t break the bank. How do these other bubblies compare to Champagne? We are going to explore:
- Cava from Spain
- Cremant from France
- Prosecco from Italy
- and our own Ontario sparklings
Including Ontario sparklings is not just being ‘hometown proud’. Ontario has a climate very similar to the Champagne region of France and we excel at producing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir- the main Champagne grapes. We also share lots of limestone soil with the Champagne region. Hmmm…. may make you look at Ontario sparkling differently from now on!
If you want to learn more about how you make sparkling wines and how they compare check out What Makes a Good Sparkling Wine?
Price range $64 +++
There is no denying that the region of Champagne has earned its reputation having perfected the ‘methode champenoise’, known as the traditional method outside of the Champagne region. But that comes with a price tag. Current offerings in the LCBO start at about $64/ bottle and top out at $3,440 for Cristal Brut Champagne 2007. ‘Nuff said – let’s move on to our alternatives.
Price range $20-$45
Crémant simple refers to a sparkling wine from France (and one designation in Luxembourg) that is not from the regulated Champagne region of France.
Crémant de Bourgogne- this is an excellent alternative to its pricey neighbour Champagne. Crémant de Bourgogne uses the same main grapes varieties as Champagne, namely Chardonnay and/or Pinot Noir. And the area harvested just south of the Champagne region. This sparkling only requires 9 months on aging on the lees so it will be less complex than a Champagne with 15 months on the lees but it is nevertheless very good quality. Crémant is bottled at a lower pressure than Champagne so bubbles will be larger. Some argue that is a good thing….
Other Crémants from other regions can may use different grape varietals. The Loire region is the biggest producer of sparkling wines in France outside of the Champagne region.
DUFOULEUR PÈRE & FILS BRUT CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE
Traditional method (AC, Burgundy, France)
631762 (D) $19.95
BAILLY LAPIERRE RÉSERVE BRUT CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE
Traditional method, AC, Burgundy, France
991562 750 mL (D) Score 91 $19.95
JEAN GEILER BRUT CRÉMANT D’ALSACE, Traditional method,
(AC, Alsace, France)
624783 (XD) $21.95
Score: Gold Medal (Concours Général Paris, 2017)
168559 (XD) Score: 90 $19.95
Price range $14-$26
Prosecco is a light fruity low alcohol sparkling with aromas of white peach, meyer lemon, honeysuckle, and creamy vanilla. Drink it young and enjoy. Look for Proseccos referencing the region of Valdobbiadene or Prosecco Superiore which has slightly higher standards than basic Prosecco.
Zardetto Molín Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore 2015
514521 750 mL bottle Score 91 $18.95
Val d’Oca Prosecco DOCG
340570 750 mL bottle $18.95
Ontario Sparkling Wines
Price range $15-$50
As stated above, Ontario has a similar climate and soil profile to the Champagne region. That is the not-so-easy-to-control part so employing the same Traditional Method is a cinch after that. Niagara region has a number of wineries noted for their sparkling wines, Angel’s Gate, Kew Vineyards, Henry of Pelham. Hinterland in Prince Edward County specialized in sparkling wines as well and is worth a visit if you are in the area. For more check out Rick Van Sickle’s 40 Ontario and BC Sparkling Wine recommendations.
FLAT ROCK RIDDLED SPARKLING 2011 Traditional method ( VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada)
383315 750 mL (D) Score 91 $34.95
MEGALOMANIAC BUBBLEHEAD SPARKLING ROSÉ Traditional method
(VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada)
363655 750 mL (D) Score 91 $34.95