5 Sparkling Wines You Probably Didn't Know
November 05, 2023

5 Sparkling Wines You Probably Didn't Know

As the holiday season comes closer, we're here to bring you wines that will give you the same festive bubbly that will not break the bank and be something new that you might not have tried yet! While Champagne and Prosecco are often the go-to choices, the world of sparkling wines is a treasure trove of options waiting to be explored. In this guide, we will introduce you to an expanded list of sparkling wines to enliven your holidays with a touch of elegance and a dash of excitement, all while staying budget-friendly.

1. Cava: Spain's Hidden Gem

Cava is Spain's response to the need for affordable yet high-quality sparkling wine. Produced using the traditional method, similar to Champagne, it offers a crisp and refreshing profile that won't put a dent in your wallet.

Grapes: Typically made with Macabeo, Xarello, and Parellada, although some premium Cavas incorporate Chardonnay.

Tasting Notes: With its bright acidity, expect notes of green apple, citrus, and a pleasing minerality.

Pairing: Cava is an ideal companion for seafood, tapas, and light salads.

When exploring Cavas, it's worth noting that the aging process and the degree of sweetness vary. Some Cavas are labeled as "Reserva" or "Gran Reserva," indicating longer aging and often a richer flavor profile. On the sweetness scale, you can find "Brut Nature" (dry) to "Dulce" (sweet). This variety allows you to select the Cava that suits your palate perfectly.


2. Franciacorta: Italy's Premium Sparkler

Franciacorta, hailing from the Lombardy region of Italy, offers an affordable alternative to Champagne. It is crafted using the traditional method, resulting in a wine that exudes elegance without a hefty price tag.

Grapes: The primary grape varieties used are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Blanc.

Tasting Notes: Franciacorta boasts a zesty profile with hints of green apple, white flowers, and almond.

Pairing: Seafood, creamy pasta dishes, and white meat dishes are excellent partners for Franciacorta.

In the world of Italian sparkling wines, Franciacorta stands out as a premium option. Unlike some other sparkling wines that are produced using the tank method (like Prosecco), Franciacorta adheres to the traditional method, involving a second fermentation in the bottle. This process results in finer bubbles and a more complex flavor profile.


3. Crémant: France's Hidden Treasure

France's Crémant wines, hailing from regions like Alsace, Loire, and Bourgogne, are sparkling wines produced in the traditional method. They are known for their affordability while maintaining a distinct French charm.

Varieties: Crémant d'Alsace, Crémant de Loire, and Crémant de Bourgogne offer unique regional flavors.

Tasting Notes: Although the flavors vary by region, you can generally anticipate refreshing acidity and an array of fruit notes.

Pairing: Crémant wines are versatile, pairing wonderfully with oysters, poultry, and a wide range of dishes.

Crémant wines are an excellent choice for those who appreciate the craftsmanship of French winemaking but want to explore beyond the borders of Champagne. Each Crémant-producing region in France has its unique characteristics. For example, Crémant d'Alsace often exhibits a floral and fruity bouquet, while Crémant de Bourgogne leans towards a more classic, Chardonnay-driven profile. These wines offer an opportunity to experience French finesse without the premium price tag associated with Champagne.


4. Lambrusco: Italy's Sparkling Red

Lambrusco, an Italian sparkling red wine from Emilia-Romagna, provides a unique twist for those seeking something different during the holidays.

Grapes: Various clones of the Lambrusco grape are used, including Lambrusco Salamino and Lambrusco Grasparossa.

Tasting Notes: Dry Lambruscos offer tangy, dark cherry and blackberry flavors, while sweet versions provide a lively, fruity profile.

Pairing: Dry Lambrusco complements rich pasta dishes, grilled meats, and charcuterie, while sweet Lambrusco pairs well with desserts.

Lambrusco is the epitome of versatility. This effervescent red wine comes in various styles, from bone-dry to sweet, and it can be either still or sparkling. Its versatility makes it an excellent choice for holiday gatherings where diverse tastes and dishes are on the menu. Dry Lambruscos provide a palate-cleansing effect, balancing out rich and savory dishes, while sweet Lambruscos are dessert wines in their own right, pairing perfectly with a range of sweet treats.



5. Sekt: Germany's Sparkling Revelation

Germany's Sekt offers an intriguing alternative to traditional sparkling wines. Made using various methods, including tank fermentation, it's a budget-friendly choice for the adventurous.

Grapes: Sekt can be crafted from grapes like Riesling, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Noir.

Tasting Notes: Expect vibrant acidity, floral notes, and a touch of stone fruit. The style varies from bone-dry to sweet.

Pairing: Sekt's versatility makes it an ideal companion for spicy Asian cuisine, seafood, and light appetizers.

Germany might not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking of sparkling wines, but the country has been making significant strides in producing high-quality Sekt. It is an excellent option for those who enjoy wines with a touch of sweetness, as many German Sekts offer a balance between acidity and residual sugar. It's perfect for those who love floral and fruity notes in their wines.


As the holiday season approaches, it's time to venture beyond the well-known sparkling wine choices and explore these hidden gems. Each of these wines tells a story of its region of origin and the craftsmanship of the winemakers who produce it. Whether you're celebrating with friends and family or looking for the perfect wine to gift, consider trying one of these sparkling wines to add a touch of sophistication and excitement to your holiday festivities.

With these options on your lap, you can enjoy the festive bubbly without straining your budget. So, as the holiday season approaches, raise a glass of Cava, Franciacorta, Crémant, Lambrusco, or Sekt to toast to new discoveries and cherished moments. Your holiday celebrations will be all the more memorable with these affordable yet exquisite sparkling wine selections. Cheers to a sparkling holiday season!