Sparkling Personality: the best bubblies under 50 bucks a bottle

Sparkling Personality: the best bubblies under 50 bucks a bottle

There’s nothing like French bubbly for swank luxury, but for everyday enjoyment, these international labels deliver great fizz

Sparkling Personality

A midnight coupe on New Year’s Eve is champagne’s shining moment. But bubbles can bring levity and refreshment to more mundane occasions, like toasting the end of a bad day at the office. There’s no need to spend wildly. The quality of sparkling wine from regions around the world—Italy’s fast-rising prosecco, Spain’s staunch cava and ­Canada’s new generation of cool-climate sparklers—is dramatically improving. Here are my favourites, and they’re all under 50 bucks.

1Jackson-Triggs 2011 Entourage Grand Reserve Brut
$22.95 | Niagara Peninsula | 89 points

Chardonnay-based sparklers from the Niagara region are quickly gaining converts, and Jackson-Triggs is delivering the goods at a very reasonable price. This dry classic by winemaker Marco Piccoli is biscuity, lemony and a little fruity, and offers very good flavour depth. Vintages 234161

2Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine 2008 Carte Blanche Estate Blanc de Blanc
$44.95 | Niagara Peninsula | 91 points

The Speck brothers played a key role in launching Niagara bubbly with their Cuvée Catharine non-vintage in the ’90s. This longer-aged edition is the next step. It’s a nuanced and deeply flavoured wine that stands easily with champagne. Vintages 315200

3Tawse 2012 Spark Limestone Ridge Riesling Sparkling Wine
$19.95 | Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara | 90 points

Champagne-like sparklers are prizes in Ontario, but several wineries are looking to grapes other than typical chardonnay and pinot noir. Tawse uses riesling to make a light, ultra-crisp version that has fresh aromas of granny smith apple, lime and wet stone. Vintages 370361

4Juvé y Camps Pinot Noir Reserva Brut Rosé
$19.95 | Penedès, Spain | 89 points

Most Spanish cava is made from white native varieties, but pinot noir is sneaking in to make increasingly popular rosés. Juvé y Camps is a leading small house in a field dominated by giants like Codorníu and Freixenet, and makes a fine, light and lively pinkie with a whiff of strawberry fruit. Vintages 385088

5Fantinel 2012 One and Only Single Vineyard Brut Prosecco
$19.95 | Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy | 88 points

The skyrocketing appeal of prosecco is based on its price and its simple, fruity satisfaction. This single vineyard edition adds a layer of flavour depth and ripeness, with fresh peach and pear aromas, and a hint of vanilla. It’s a touch sweet but lively. Chill well. Vintages 390617

6Bailly Lapierre Réserve Brut Crémant de Bourgogne
$19.95 | Burgundy | 89 points

Like champagne, crémant de Bourgogne is made with pinot noir and chardonnay. It delivers similar nuanced dried fruit, and toasty and nutty aromas in a racy dry style—for a third of the price. Bailly Lapierre produces minor classics, time after time. Vintages 991562