May 8, 2019

The best domestic sparklers are well-priced and well-made

Wine Spectatorby Alison Napjus

“Sparkling wine is made by wineries throughout the United States, but as with still wine, the lion’s share is from California, followed by Oregon and Washington.

In these centers for sparkling production, there are no set regulations regarding method or allowed grape varieties. But most quality producers lean on the Champagne model: sparklers made by the traditional method from a blend based primarily (if not wholly) on Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.

Many of California’s top sparkling brands have French roots, bringing Champagne expertise to bear in California’s generally warmer, more even-keeled conditions. The state’s most expressive versions offer a lush creaminess of texture, an ample range of ripe fruit, spice and brioche flavors, and well-knit fresh acidity. Most California sparklers retail for between $20 and $40 per bottle, though top cuvées approach, and occasionally surpass, $100 per bottle.

In comparison, Oregon sparkling wines often show more vibrancy than their California counterparts, the result of generally cooler growing conditions that preserve the grapes’ natural acidity. These elegant examples carry white fruit, floral and spice flavors on a fine mousse and are priced from about $30 to $65 per bottle.

For wallet-friendly prices among domestic sparklers, look to Washington state. Area producers often offer bubbly for $20 or less per bottle. These balanced and approachable versions highlight lively cherry and berry fruit flavors, with accents of spice and citrus zest.”

2014 Argyle Vintage Brut
“Vibrant and floral aromas of apple and cherry lead to layered and lively cinnamon, fresh ginger and spice flavors that linger on the long finish.” – Tim Fish