6 of the Best Sparkling Wines to Celebrate Silly Season

Among life’s many memorable epiphanies, there is perhaps none more enjoyable than discovering the versatility of sparkling wines. From consummate Brut to distant regional styles like Franciacorta, the addition of light – or as the case may be, pronounced – effervescence makes this vinous style of traditional winemaking the definition of an ideal all-rounder. Great with food, on the trail or even, depending on the bottle you’re working with, as a finish in cocktails.

In that vein, you really don’t have to wait for Christmas to show up to serve you a glass of bubbly, but it’s a universally accepted truth that any expression of sparkling wine is that much more enjoyable. when you have the ‘out the automatic response from the office is triggered; and long lunches are the only pressing thing on the horizon.

Luckily, if you’re like us at BH Holdfast, you’ll know the importance of showing up to your big Christmas get-together with enough ammo. To prove you right, we’ve selected 6 of the best sparkling wines we’ve tasted in 2022, and in doing so, we’ve been careful to include a few bottles that you might have missed. After all, a little indulgence is not limited to champagne.

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Maison d’Arras Great Vintage 2014

Often considered as the phrase that put Tasmanian bubbly on the map, from Arras The “Grand Vintage” is a very traditional blend – marrying cold-climate Chardonnay (67%) with Pinot Noir (33%) according to the “low-voiced genius” of head winemaker Ed Carr. Left to mature on the lees for 7 years – a period which elevates the Grand Vintage to a pedestal commensurate with vintage Champagne – it is, even by the world-class standards of Australian winemaking, a sparkling wine of a power and complexity unusual.

On offer at just under $100, it’s the perfect way to elevate the multiple meals you’re sure to have this Christmas, with the precise, balanced flavor of wine at its best alongside a fruit platter. classic cold sea.

Ayala Le Blanc de Blancs 2015

best sparkling wines

One of the original 24 Great Brands of Champagne, Ayala is almost the antithesis of its larger sister brand Bollinger (which acquired the first in 2005). Few wines better illustrate these differences in character than Le Blanc de Blancs: a limited edition that Caroline Latrive, Ayala’s Cellar Master, has gone so far as to call “an identity vintage of the House”.

Made from only the best parcels of Chardonnay grown in the most exemplary vintages, the 2015 Blanc de Blancs is suitably matured – due to a large proportion of grapes from the Côte des Blancs used in the final blend. In keeping with Latrive’s style, this is a dry, refreshing take on single-variety champagne: great for toasting the inner circle (but maybe not those distant aunts and uncles you only see once a half). -decade).

Bellavista Alma Gran Cuvée Brut NV

best sparkling wines

Among the most affordable bottles that managed to crack our sparkling wine list for the silly season, the Grande Cuvée Alma will ring a bell for those who spend a lot of time sorting through reference lists at Australia’s top Italian restaurants. This expression is the flagship of Bellavista – a hillside estate in Franciacorta, firmly associated with the territory’s eponymous sparkling wine.

While Arras is Australia’s answer to world-class bubbles, Bellavista’s Alma is testament to Franciacorta’s ability to give champagne, particularly at the non-vintage level, a run for its money. The three traditional varietals (Chardonnay; Pinot Nero; Pinot Bianco) vinified here are all hand-harvested, and in a very thoughtful twist, Bellavista has focused on sourcing from plots where the average age of the vine is d about 25 years old.

In the glass, the Alma pours a beautiful straw color; and the intense bread aromas (usually associated with the prolonged autolysis favored in Champagne) are instead replaced by stone fruit and candied citrus zest. A great option to crack for gifts.

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Laherte Frères Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature NV

6 of the best sparkling wines to bring in the silly season

One to splurge on if you’re thinking of buying for that special someone who prefers a touch of funk in its fizz, Laherte’s Brut Nature is – as the name suggests – a champagne that has been bottled without just one gram of added sugar. A blend of Chardonnays from the Laherte family’s incredibly biodiverse estates in Chavot and Epernay, it’s a mineral, driving style that (for some) will border on austere: perfect for wine snobs who demand an extremely pure Blanc de Blancs .

Like many other figures in the elite guard of Champagne winemakers, the Laherte family takes a no-compromise approach to winemaking that is typically impractical for larger houses. The head winemaker Aurèlien is keen to cultivate the balance of the estate in biodynamics (including the plots used to make this BdB expression). Plus, there’s a trend toward relatively generous proportions of reserve wine: the youngest in this blend from 2017. Truly, a delicious, underrated bottle that’s destined for greatness.

Mumm Marlborough Vintage Rosé

best sparkling wines

Produced in close consultation with Laurent Fresnet, GH Mumm Cellar Master, the new Mumm Marlborough rosé is a first vote of confidence in the future of New Zealand sparkling wines – now in its third year of production. Made in the classic champagne method, this is a terrific value offering that uses the highest quality pinot noir grapes that Pernot Ricard (Mumm’s parent company) can source locally. The resulting rosé, currently based on the 2016 vintage, undergoes an extended maturation period – in the draw for four years.

Pierre Gimonnet Special Club Great Terroirs of Chardonnay 2014

6 of the best sparkling wines to bring in the silly season

One of the three terroir expressions of Champagne produced by Pierre Gimonnet, this “Spécial Club” is built on a backbone of Chardonnay that comes (mostly) from Grand Cru plots in Cramant. Here, the vine systems are on average 40 years old; and fruit grown on the village’s limestone-rich belemnite chalk soil results in a wine that stands out for its freshness and silky, satisfying mouthfeel.

Like nearly every wine in Gimonnet’s portfolio, this Special Club expression is fermented and aged in steel. Along with head winemaker Didier’s preference for as discreet a dosage as possible (in this case, 5g per litre), the resulting wine is crafted with enormous aging potential in mind – a quality that makes it a superb gesture for all your friends who are embarking on new stages in 2023.

Shirley M. Pinder