Reviews: Our Favorite Sparkling Wines of 2020

For this latest round of Beverage Dynamics wine reviews, we tasked our panel of independent wine professionals to rate sparkling wines.

As always, these selections include brief tasting notes, a grade and the wine’s retail price (which can vary from store to store and market to market). Unless noted otherwise, prices reflect 750-ml. bottles.

If you’re a beverage professional with a specialty in wine and you’re interested in participating in the panel, please contact editor Kyle Swartz at [email protected] or 203-855-8499 x225.

Want more reviews? Our wine panels in the past year have included:

Pinot NoirAmerican WinesRoséThe Best Wines for Spring and SummerFive Star Wines

(97) Marilyn Cuvee-Chehalem 2011 (OR)

This may be the best domestic sparkling wine made.  Pinot noir and chardonnay combine to create a luscious palate of brioche, apple, Meyer lemon, stone and lime zest, all leading to a crisp, creamy, rich finish. If you’re going to pamper yourself, this is the one. ($60)

(97) Bernard Remy Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs (France)

An unusually attractive price for such a high-quality wine. Sourced from top-grade vineyard sites, this grower Champagne is a true value, considering its quality. Elegant and focused, the brut level of sweetness accentuates the bright fruit, along with the wine’s backbone. The finish is long, balanced and confirms the wine’s pedigree. ($43.50)

(96) Besserat de Bellefon Bleu Brut (France)

Using the three traditional Champagne grape varieties, sourced from top sub-regions across Champagne, in a well-balanced blend contributes to this lovely wine’s allure. Fruit and floral characteristics blend into a harmonious whole, with large quantities refinement and panache. ($60)

(95) Rocim Brut Nature Espumante Rosé 2014 (Portugal)

From one of central Portugal’s top producers, this enchanting sparkling wine ticks all of the boxes. Produced from the iconic Touriga Nacional grape — better known for its dark fruit characteristics — this wine is pale salmon in the glass. On the nose and palate it is refined, with focused ethereal fruit notes. The effervescence is long lasting, delivering the fruit and subtle spices to the nose and palate. ($29)

(94) Taittinger Brut La Française (France)

With Chardonnay making up a plurality of the blend, the La Française exhibits an energy and vitality that many of its peers lack. A brilliant pale gold in the glass, the wine delivers a complex mixture of clean stone fruit, with subtle notes of spice and floral characteristics to the nose and palate. ($49.99) 

(94) Mionetto Luxury Cartizze (Italy)

From one the top volume producers in the Prosecco region comes a single-vineyard, top-end wine. Cartizze is the top-rated source for glera, and this fine example of a Cartizze Prosecco Superiore is a prime example of why the site is so highly regarded. On the nose, and in the mouth, you immediately notice the subtle tree and stone fruit, followed by a finish showcasing the quality of the wine. ($35)

(94) Roederer Estate Brut (CA)

Pale lemony color that lights up your glass. Vibrant and creamy bubbles that last on the palate. Ripe citrus fruits with a hint of spice and toast. Well-made, affordable substitute for the consumer who wants a good “Champagne” without paying the big money. ($25)

(93) Gruet Brut Rosé (NM)

Always a favorite — bright and inviting, with hints of wild strawberry and cherry. Rich and fruity, but dry, in the brut style. Lovely in the glass and lovely on your palate. ($18)

(93) Prosper Maufoux Cremant de Bourgogne Brut Rosé (France)

From one of Burgundy’s highly regarded producers, this combination of pinot noir, chardonnay and gamay is a wonderful example of what experience and care can bring to the final product. A lovely pale pink in the glass, the nose and palate share a wide range of aromas and tastes, with bright red fruit and subtle spice among the components. At this price, it’s worth buying multiple bottles. ($19)

(93) Piper Sonoma Brut Rosé (CA)

Utilizing some of the finest grapes Sonoma has to offer, this blend of chardonnay, pinot noir and some pinot blanc exhibits a striking bright pink in the glass. The nose and palate share an attractive profile of bright red fruit, with citrus and tropical notes. The lively finish is alluring and persistent. ($22)

(93) Ferrari Rosé (Italy)

With more than a half century of experience, Ferrari has proven itself to be one of Italy’s top sparkling wine producers, over and over again. This wine serves to confirm the well-deserved reputation. Produced using the classical method, this blend of pinot noir and chardonnay is poised and graceful. The finish, nose, taste and mousse are all persistent and exceptionally well balanced. ($35.99)

(92) Villa Sandi Prosecco Superiore (Italy)

With a family presence going back nearly 400 years, and a multi-generational commitment to quality, Villa Sandi enjoys a well-earned reputation across the Valdobbiadene region. Using a small portion of chardonnay to the traditional glera variety contributes weight, structure and complexity. The appealing nose and palate are dominated by tree fruit, with a long-lasting stream of bubbles. ($21)

(92) Anna de Codorníu Brut Rosé (Spain)

From a centuries-old cava house, this blend of pinot noir and chardonnay spends at least a year on the lees, before being disgorged and prepared for shipment. The effervescence is delicate and persistent. The nose and palate of cherry, red berry and tree fruit add to the complexity and balance. A true bargain, given its price and high level of quality. ($14.99)

(92) Carneros Brut Rosé Cuvée de la Pompadour (CA)

After spending a year and a half in the bottle before disgorgement, this blend of pinot noir and chardonnay develops into a graceful and poised sparkling wine. It has plenty of berry, stone and tree fruit, with a subtle hint of spice. Exceptionally versatile, it’s fruity yet quite dry. ($39.99)

(92) Miss Anaïs Red Blend 2019 (France)

Our best value of the year! Gorgeous mix of dark grenache and syrah. Velvety smooth, with hints of ripe fresh berry, red rose petal and a bit of black cinnamon on the finish. A real treat! ($14.99)

(92) Gruet Brut NV (NM)

Year after year, this NV brut — made from 75% chardonnay and the balance, pinot noir — over-delivers. Beautiful, translucent bright gold. Small, lively, uniform bubbles. Fresh baked brioche with stone fruit and a hint of citrus on the nose. On the palate it is pleasantly dry, with early peach, apple and a hint of tropical fruit. The closest you can get to Champagne in this price range. ($15)

(92) Banfi Rosa Regale Sparkling Red (Italy)

The gold standard for sweet bubblies. There is endless sweet berry fruit, with huge depth of flavor all encapsulated in small savory bubbles that perfect the finish. Cheesecake with raspberry sauce and chocolate shavings with this sparkling is one of the most perfect food/wine pairings on the planet. ($18)

(92) Aveleda Vinho Verde 2019 (Portugal)

While not a full-on sparkling wine, this delicious frizzante is perfect for summer. Low in alcohol, with a Stelvin closure and a bright, crisp palate, it is a match for any salad, light cheese or Bacalhau. Best buy! ($8.95)

(92) 90 Plus Cellars Lot 50 Prosecco (Italy)

Inviting aromas of peaches, pear, green apple and ginger. Refreshing and not too sweet. Great with appetizers or just on its own. Great value. ($12)

Four Star Wines

(91) Chandon Blanc de Pinot Noir (CA)

This sparkling wine offers a wonderful fresh and elegant experience. There is a gentle and savory fruitiness from the start of the first sip to the finish. Extremely well rounded, and an impressive bubbly to pair with all sorts of foods. ($20)

(91) Terre dei Buth Frizzante Rosé Special Cuvée (Italy)

Bright berry in combination with subtle black plum on the nose and in the mouth are just some of the qualities that make this sparkling rosé from northeast Italy such a crowd pleaser. Using stainless steel vinification preserves the fruitiness and acidity. Easy on the budget, and versatile at the table, make this a wine to keep in inventory — at the store, restaurant or home. ($15.99)

(90) Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace (France)

Fresh with fine, delicate bubbles. Aromas of fresh apple, white peach and apricot. Pairs well with shrimp and light salads. ($17)

(90) Mumm Napa Cuvee M (CA)

A crisp freshness and subtle citrus notes give this sparkling the perfect balance of vibrancy and flavor. The controlled bubbles lead into a slightly creamy mouthfeel and an energetic pop. ($21)

(90) Cune Cava 2018 (Spain)

Pear and citrus upfront, with a touch of butter on the finish. Methode Traditional from parellada, xarel-lo and macabeo. Fine for an aperitif or shellfish. Why buy Champagne when you can have three bottles of this delight? ($15.95)

(90) Miss Anaïs White Blend 2019 (France)

Lovely French blend of chardonnay, viognier and sauv blanc. The viognier adds a soft lush texture and hints of ripe white peach, which adds to the crisp dry pear and melon from the other two grapes. Great finish. Lovely bottle, too. ($14.99)

(89) Gerard Bertrand Cremant de Limoux Brut Rosé (France)

Beautiful French sparkling wine from Limoux — the land where sparkling wine’s originated. Crisp, but with a lush texture due to a small amount of chenin blanc to go along with chardonnay and pinot noir. Dry nectarine and fragrant rose petal with a lovely nose of subtle fresh strawberry and a classic hint of toasted bread on the finish. Great value. ($18.99)

(88) Miss Anaïs Rosé 2019 (France)

An elegant grenache-based rosé from France’s underrated Languedoc region. Gentle citrus, fresh berry and cherry overtones. Beautiful color. Serve as an aperitif or with grilled pork/chicken. ($14.99)

(88) Just Peachy (France)

Very clear and crisp to the taste. The peach flavor reminds me of fresh-cut peaches from the farmers market; you get that aroma right after the cork is popped. Just Peachy gave a great bubble on the pour and went well with our dark chocolate. The nice thing about Just Peachy is that it is 65 calories and 6 grams of sugar. ($10.99)

(87-88) Bryn Mawr Sparkling Rosé (OR)

An interesting take on sparkling rosé, it utilizes grapes not very commonly found in sparklers, like marechal foch and tempranillo, with the backbone being pinot noir. Quite dark pink in the glass. The nose is rather muted. The bubbles are fairly fine and persistent. On the palate, it shows fresh and zippy acidity, well balanced, with early Bing cherries, green apple and a touch of Meyer lemon. Overall, well balanced. It is presented in an informal package with a crown cap closure. ($28)

Feature photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash.The post Reviews: Our Favorite Sparkling Wines of 2020 first appeared on Beverage Dynamics.
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Author: Kyle Swartz

Timothy Kelly

Tim is the Founder & Master Distiller at Felene. He developed his passion for the spirits and hospitality business while growing-up and working in his family's restaurant and liquor store business. Tim’s passion for the epicurean lifestyle has found it’s latest manifestation in the Felene Distillery. Tim is a 5-time Gold Medal Award winning Distiller. He has won a Platinum medal at the Prestigious Los Angeles Spirits Awards and his signature vodka was named Best-in-Category by the American Distilling Institute. Mr. Kelly is also a prolific author and writer and his blog is filled with ideas, discoveries, observations and recommendations to help his readers enjoy life’s simple epicurean pleasures.

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