- Best Sparkling Wine Overall
- Best Budget Sparkling Wine
- Best Moscato
- Best Prosecco
- Best Cava
Best Sparkling Wine
Whether you're celebrating a special occasion or simply looking for an intriguing wine to go with a seafood dish, a sparkling wine is a great choice. Sparkling wines are made all over the world, including Australia, South Africa, the United States, Italy, Spain, and France. There are a number of different types of sparkling wine. Prosecco is an Italian wine made from Glera grapes. This wine is carbonated in large steel vats and designed to be enjoyed soon after bottling. Cava, a Spanish sparkling wine, is made from any number of classic Spanish grapes. This wine is bottle fermented and can be aged in the cellar for a number of years. Finally, there are Champagne-style sparkling wines. These commonly made around the world and make use of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, the three grape varietals that grow in Champagne, France. These wines are also bottle fermented and most are aged for at least a few years before they're ready to enjoy.
The techniques of bottle fermenting were perfected in Champagne, France, which is why many people call any sparkling wine a "champagne." Technically, only wines that come from this provence are allowed to use the name Champagne, though the vast majority of sparkling wines are made in the Champagne-style. Since there is live yeast in the bottle, these wines have a toasty aroma.
When shopping for a sparkling wine, you may notice that these wines are organized by the level of residual sugar. Dry, extra-dry, and brut are the three most common sugar levels, with dry being the sweetest, and Brut being the driest. Less commonly, you may find wines labeled extra brut and brut nature, which are extremely dry, and demi-sec and doux, which signify sweeter wines.
Finally, sparkling wines will be labeled with either the year harvested or the letters NV, which stands for Non-Vintage. Non-Vintage wines are blended from wines from a number of different harvests taken over a number of different years. They tend to be less expensive and more consistent than vintage wines though they are rarely as complex as a good vintage wine. When selecting a vintage wine, you'll want to make sure that the year was a good one for the grapes. Vintage wines are usually more expensive but are excellent when made in good years.
Best Sparkling Wine Overall:
A fine sparkling wine is perfect for toasting a special occasion or making a nice dinner at home an evening to remember. Some of the most famous sparkling wines are produced in Champagne, France, a provence that makes some of the best and most expensive wines in the world. In order to keep prices below $100 a bottle, we gave preference to incredible-quality wines from outside of Champagne, instead choosing wines from Burgundy, France and Northern California. All of the wines that have made this list are made in the Champagne style, which means that they are bottle-fermented and will display the classic toasted bread and yeasty aromas of true Champagnes. We also selected wines that were award winners, highly-rated by critics, and from vintages that produced some of the best grapes in recent years.
A complex, well-crafted wine, Roederer Estate L'Ermitage '04 is our favorite sparkling wine. This wine was crafted in California from some of the best Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes in recent history. It's been aged for years to bring out well-rounded flavors of red apple and toast, and is ready to enjoy right away. Read Full Review
Coming from one of the biggest names in French sparkling wines, Veuve Ambal '10 is one of our favorites. This wine has a lot of fruit to it, with berry and jammy fruit flavors, as well as nutty, sweet aromas. This complex wine is full-bodied and will last for a number of years in the wine cellar. Read Full Review
You don't have to go to Champagne to find great sparkling wine but there's a reason that this small provence put sparkling wines on the map. Joseph Perrier Champagne Cuvee Royale is one of our all-time favorite sparkling wines. It's consistently rated in the high 90s and has a full body with lots of fruit and spice. Read Full Review
As its name suggests, Domaine Carneros Le Reve '06 is a dreamy sparkling wine. It's got an incredibly round body, with complex flavors of fruit, creme brulee, and toasted nuts. Though it's one of the priciest wines on our list, it's also one of the most highly regarded and definitely worth the extra money. Read Full Review
Blended from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with just a splash of Pinot Meunier, Chandon Etoile Brut is one of our favorite sparkling wines. Made in Northern California by wine makers who moved over from Champagne, France, this wine displays all the same characteristics that make true Champagnes some of the most popular wines in the world. This wine is smokey and dry, and since it's non-vintage, incredibly consistent from year to year. Read Full Review
Best Budget Sparkling Wine:
There's no reason to spend a lot of money for a great bottle of sparkling wine. Though even the cheapest true Champagnes are quite expensive, plenty of other regions produce quality sparkling wines, many of them using the same bottle fermenting technique that gives Champagne its toasty flavor. Northern California, South-Eastern Australia, and Spain all produce excellent Champagne-style sparkling wines, and Northern Italy is known for it's fresh and fruit-forward sparkler called Prosecco. Our favorite budget sparkling wines hail from all of these areas and present complex flavor profiles that show off all the best qualities of the grapes used. We also looked for wines that are ready to drink right away and that have received high ratings from professional wine critics.
A non-vintage sparkling wine in the tradition of classic Champagne, Scharffenberger Brut Excellence is our favorite budget sparkling wine. Made from California-grown Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, this wine is well-balanced between fruit flavors and notes of pastry, vanilla, and caramel, making it a round, robust wine that pairs well with seafood. Read Full Review
The vineyards at Segura Viudas have been growing high quality Spanish grapes for a thousand years. This winery's ARIA Brut is an excellent sparkling wine that, since it's non-vintage, has a consistent character from year to year. It's fruity, toasty, and has such a hint of honey, though it's perfectly dry on the palate. Read Full Review
Made from a blend of classic Champagne grapes, Greg Norman Estates Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir is one of our favorite sparkling wines. This wine hails from South-Eastern Australia, and is designed to be more fruit-forward than many other sparkling wines. It has notes of strawberry and citrus, and a long, incredibly smooth finish. Read Full Review
For a budget sparkling wine that stands out from the crowd, try La Marca Prosecco DOC Extra Dry. This Italian sparkler has notes of melon and citrus and plenty of tiny, boisterous bubbles. Since it's fermented in steel tanks rather than in the bottle, there's no yeastiness to get in the way of the fresh fruit flavors. Read Full Review
With a beautiful blush color, Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs is as beautiful to look at as it is delicious to drink. It's a fruit forward, dry wine that features notes of cherry, strawberry, and vanilla, and a long, crisp finish. This wine is excellent right now but it will benefit from a few more years in the cellar. Read Full Review
A great wine for dessert or wine drinkers who prefer things on the sweet side, Moscato is a grape varietal that's been gaining popularity over the past few years. Moscato grapes are from Northern Italy, though they also do well in many other parts of the world, especially Northern California. These grapes are on the sweet side, which is why they are styled into sweet wines. Moscato can be flat or sparkling. Sparkling Moscato is called Moscato d'Asti after the part of Italy that makes this style of wine. When looking for the best Moscato, we chose wines from Northern California and Northern Italy, two regions widely regarded to be the best for these grapes. We also looked for wines that show off the sweetness of the grape, even if they don't have much residual sugar. Finally, we chose wines that are respected by wine critics and connoisseurs.
Luisi Moscato d'Asti '12 is one of the most well-loved Moscatos around. This wine is sweet, floral, fruity, slightly bubbly, and very easy to drink. Fortunately, it's also low in alcohol so you won't have to worry about having seconds. Read Full Review
A sweet wine with a slight bubble and plenty of floral notes, Fratelli Moscato d'Asti '12 is one of our favorite Moscatos. This wine is from Northern Italy, from the region of Asti which made a name for itself perfecting these wines. This Moscato is sweet enough to drink for dessert and acidic enough to cut through the richness of any dessert foods you might be enjoying it with. Read Full Review
Hailing from one of the best years for Northern California, the Robert Mondavi Moscato d'Oro '09 is one of the world's best Moscatos. This wine is slightly sweet and packed full of fruit flavor. It's well-balanced and goes well with desserts as well as light, spicy meals. Read Full Review
Boeri Ribota Moscato D'Asti 2010 is one of the best Moscatos made during an excellent year for Italian wines. This wine is made extra dry and frizzante, making it a great choice for a before dinner drink. It shows off all the best qualities of the grape, including flavors of peach and white flower, and an orange citrus bouquet. Read Full Review
A sparkling wine that hails from Northern Italy, Prosecco is a popular drink that's great for toasting at a celebration and inexpensive enough to enjoy without a waiting for a special occasion to come around. Though it's bubbly like Champagne-style wines, Prosecco is made in a completely different way and exhibits vastly different characteristics. It's made from green Glera grapes that are fermented in pressurized tanks that keep carbonation in the drink. Once fermentation is complete, the yeast is removed and the wine is bottled under pressure. Since there is no bottle fermentation, there should be no yeasty or bready notes in a good Prosecco. Instead, these wines feature crisp, fresh, fruit forward flavors that can run on the sweeter side, especially in Proseccos favored by the Italian market. When looking for the best Proseccos, we selected wines that ran from dry to off-dry and that taste fresh and crisp. We also looked for Proseccos that don't require any time in the cellar, since this style of wine is designed to be enjoyed right away. Finally, we considered ratings by professional wine critics.
La Marca Prosecco DOC Extra Dry has earned itself a spot at the top of our list of Best Prosecco because it's well-balanced, well-regarded by critics, and relatively inexpensive. This is a fruit forward wine with a delicate sweetness that doesn't overpower. In addition, the bubbles are small and vigorous, giving this Prosecco a bite that balances out the fruit. Read Full Review
A fruit forward Prosecco that's incredibly dry, Nino Franco Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG is a classically-made Prosecco that beautifully embodies the freshness of this style of wine. It has notes of apple, pear, and flowers, and a warm, medium-length finish. Read Full Review
Cavit Lunetta Prosecco DOC Brut is made by one of the best-known Italian winemakers. This Prosecco is made in the classic style, with extremely tiny bubbles that last a long time, and lots of fruit on the palate. Though there are notes of honeydew and peach, there isn't any sweetness to this wine, making it an incredibly refreshing drink. Read Full Review
A frizzante style wine rather than a Prosecco with a full, vigorous bubble, Mionetto Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Frizzante Treviso Brut is an incredible wine that stands out from the competition. It features bold fruit flavors, though as a brut it doesn't have any sweetness to it. The finish is clean, and the slight bubbliness helps to give this wine a slight bite that balances out the melon and pear notes. Read Full Review
For lovers of dry wines, Silvano Follador Prosecco Brut Nature is a great choice. Though it still shows off all the rich fruit and white flower aromas that Prosecco is known for, this wine has almost no sugar to it at all, giving it an incredibly crisp finish. It's also well-balanced and has plenty of boisterous, tiny bubbles. Read Full Review
Made using the same process as French Champagne, Spanish Cava is an excellent sparkling wine that's usually much more reasonably priced than its French counterpart. Almost all Cava is made in Catalonia, and Spain has strict regulations about which areas can produce this type of wine, so you won't find any that's made outside of the country. Cava can make use of a variety of different grapes, and like Champagne, can be white or rose. Our favorite bottles of Cava are on the dry side, with complex fruit and floral flavors. The wines that made this list are also highly regarded by wine critics, though they won't put too much of a dent on your wallet, because all of them are very reasonably priced.
Segura Viudas ARIA Brut is an incredible Cava made by one of Spain's most highly regarded winemakers. This wine has notes of tropical fruit, honey, and bread, and yet remains perfectly dry, with a clean finish that contains just a hint of bitterness. Read Full Review
Smooth and dry, Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut is an excellent Cava with a great reputation. This wine has fresh fruit flavors, as well as a spiciness and a crisp mouthfeel. It's also highly regarded by professional critics and one of the most popular sparkling wines in the world. Read Full Review
Made from a blend of classic Cava grapes, Canals & Nubiola Cava Brut is a classic dry Cava with complex flavors and aromas. This wine is well-balanced, very bubbly, and features notes of citrus and earth. Read Full Review
A well-rated wine that's a great value, Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Cava is one of our Best Picks. This wine has notes of spice, fruit, and pastry, and a beautiful finish with a long smokey aftertaste. It's been aged on the lees for 18 months, which lends to its complexity and gives it the body to hold up to a number of years of further aging. Read Full Review
If you like your sparkling wines as dry as they get, Princesa Cava Brut Nature is a great choice. This wine is bone dry, with mineral notes on the finish, and a crisp, fruit-forward flavor. It also has a vigorous bubble that's long lasting and gives this wine quite a bite. Read Full Review