NV Campo Viejo Cava Brut Reserva ($13) A surprisingly good Cava given that it’s from a producer much better known for Riojas, this refined sparkling wine offers bright green apple flavors and a dry, lightly saline finish. NV Cleto Charli Lambrusco Vecchia Modena ($16) Crisp, dry and even slightly tannic (in a good way), this red sparkling wine from Italy would be ideal with ribs or burgers.
Bring It to a Party:
NV François Pinon Vouvray Brut ($22) Loire sparkling wines tend to get overlooked, which is a shame. The best, like this one, offer crisp orchard fruit notes and a nice nuttiness on the finish; Pinon’s grapes are also organically farmed. Loire sparklings are some of my very favorites!
NV J Vineyards Cuvée 20 ($28) Even California’s cooler regions, like the Russian River Valley, bring out more richness and fruitiness in sparkling wines than Champagne’s marginal climate does. This bottling from J is no exception, with its lush citrus and toast notes. J Vineyards is very underrated!
Splurge for a Special Occasion:
NV Drappier Brut Nature Champagne ($50) One of the most well-known producers in the southern Aube region of Champagne, Drappier makes a range of very good Champagnes; this vivid, lemon blossom–scented cuvée is impressive for the price.
NV Andre Clouet Grand Reserve Brut Champagne ($45) Clouet’s vineyards are located in the Pinot Noir–focused villages of Ambonnay and Bouzy, so it’s no surprise that this biscuity, creamy Champagne, with its notes of red fruit, is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir. Excellent for the price!