No sound gets a party flowing like the pop of a bottle of bubbly. Champagne may be the king, but it’s gotten really expensive. The good news is there’s a wide world of stylish sparklers. Remember that every wine reflects its underlying grapes, so a bubbly made from pinot noir will taste similar to its flat iteration. Also, there are two ways to introduce CO2: fermenting in the bottle, which imparts a yeastiness, or fermenting in a tank, which tends to enhance fruity flavors. The following are all superb.
JCB “No. 21” Cremant de Bourgogne, Brut NV
$21, Federal Wine & Spirits
Crafted in the traditional method, this outstanding Burgundy is a smooth wine with all the elegance of a Blanc de Blancs Champagne. Created by the dynamic Jean-Charles Boisset, its delicate toastiness and hint of lemon are thoroughly delicious. A testament to balance, it’s composed of roughly equal parts chardonnay and pinot noir. Completely dry, it’s an understated complement to shellfish or light hors d’oeuvres.
Adriano Adami “Garbél” Prosecco, NV
$13, Bauer Wine & Spirits
Produced from the expressive glera grape, prosecco is one of the hottest rising stars not only in the sparkling category but in the world of wine. This is a dry, apple-and-floral-scented wine made by the third-generation Adami family on the hillsides of the Veneto in northeastern Italy. Crisp, clean and mellow with delicious fruitiness, this prosecco is a refreshing accompaniment for crudités, cured meats and cheeses.
Michele Chiarlo Moscato d’Asti “Nivole” 2011
$14, half bottle, Winestone
Unashamedly sweet, this is one of the most versatile wines you’ll ever taste. Scented with notes of jasmine and lavender, moscato has a distinctively peach-and-melon flavor. Fine and delicate, it’s only partially sparkling and extremely low in alcohol (5 percent), so it makes a fantastic brunch bubbly. Like cantaloupe with prosciutto, this wine loves salty flavors. Or enjoy as either a liquid dessert or an accompaniment to fruit tarts.