Champagne has long been the benchmark for sparkling wine, but there is a world of wines with bubbles out there that are as exciting and delicious. Here is a set that also packs a ton of value.
Alta Alella, ‘Mirgin’ Gran Reserva Brut Nature Cava 2018
When we first tasted this wine a couple vintages ago, we put our glasses down and stared at each other. We could not believe the complexity and grace it presented, and then when we heard the price we were floored – no pun intended. The 2018 is even better. Alta Alella is right on the outskirts of Barcelona and is a family run, completely organic winery. The grapes are the traditional ones; Xarel-lo, Macabeau, and Parellada. The wine spends over 40 months aging on its lees, which is an incredible length of time for a Cava. These bubbles will help usher in the celebration with aromas of white peach, flowers, hay, and almonds.
Jo Landron, ‘Atmospheres’ Brut NV
We can’t get enough of this wine and feature it with some regularity at the shop. It does have a great label, no doubt, but it is the surprisingly broad texture, structure, and depth, that is balanced by the acidity you’d expect from a wine made by a Muscadet master, that keeps us coming back. Jo Landron took over the family domaine from his father in 1990 and has been making profound and age-worthy white wines ever since. The combination of folle blanche and pinot noir makes a wine that presents red apple, lemon pulp, sea spray, and slight floral notes.
Fiorano, ‘Scighera’ Bianco Col Fondo Pet-Nat NV
In the rolling hills of the Marches, 10 miles from the Adriatic Sea lies Azienda Agricola Fiorano. This Col Fondo, or Pet-Nat, is made by being bottle before the primary fermentation is complete. As it finishes the CO2 gets trapped creating the bubbles. This is the most ancient form of sparkling wine, and in this case made with am ancient grape variety grown across central Italy. Pecorino is no relation to the cheese other than that it is likely named because it is grown in hilly vineyards where sheep would graze. The wine is cloudy in the glass but clear on the palate with beguiling notes, of lemon, pear, fennel, and fenugreek. Fully dry with a fresh note of acidity in the finish.