Holiday Wine Guide: The LCBO’s best bottles of champagne and sparkling wine

Holiday Wine Guide: The LCBO’s best bottles of champagne and sparkling wine

A dozen bottles of bubbly worth popping

Villa Sandi Blanc de Blancs

Villa Sandi Blanc de Blancs

$14.95 | Italy
There are several bottles from Villa Sandi currently available at the LCBO, so make sure you’re reaching for the one with the silver label. It stands out not only for its flavour profile but also for the incredible value it offers. Made from a blend of white grapes—but primarily Chardonnay)—its floral, apple and pear notes really shine. Great for drinking on its own or elevating a mid-morning mimosa. LCBO 32537

Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut Cava

Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut Cava

$16.95 ($14.95 until Jan. 31) | Spain
For anyone who grew up in Ontario, there’s a good chance holiday celebrations involved Freixenet. It’s a Cava, which is a traditional sparkling from Spain made with grapes that are hard to pronounce: Macabeo, Xarel·lo and Parellada. There are notes of tropical fruit mixed with floral and citrus pith—dry and sippable but also perfect with appetizers. It’s no wonder why this has been on the LCBO’s shelves for decades. LCBO 216945

Veuve Ambal Cremant De Bourgogne Grande Cuvee Brut

Veuve Ambal Cremant de Bourgogne Grande Cuvée Brut

$25.30 | France
Cremant de Bourgogne is sparkling wine made in the traditional method, which means it’s made the same way as champagne but without the big price tag. We love its crisp, clean finish and the crunchy pear and apple notes. LCBO 429688

Trius Brut VQA

Trius Brut VQA

$29.95 ($26.95 until Jan. 31) | Ontario
For anyone looking to buy local, you can’t go wrong with one of Ontario’s original sparkling wine producers. Trius delivers an outstanding bottle of bubbly for less than $30. It’s crisp and clean, with lots of orchard fruit and biscuit notes—but look out: that acid will sneak up on you and bite the tongue hard with notes of green apple and citrus. Sip slowly and enjoy. LCBO 284539

Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Rosé Brut VQA

Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Rosé Brut VQA

$32.95 | Ontario
This Ontario producer has three staple sparklers in the LCBO, and each year they deliver good to great value. This year it’s the rosé that over-delivers, which is impressive because it’s the hardest to make. Enjoy the elevated red fruits and juiciness of the wine before the acidity kicks in and calls for another sip. LCBO 217505

Mumm Napa

Mumm Cuvée Napa Brut Prestige

$32.95 | California
Mumm Napa can trace its roots back to France with the G. H. Mumm Champagne house. In the late ’70s, they sent a winemaker to California to find the right place to make traditional-method sparkling wine. The bottles currently on shelves may be the best produced by Mumm Napa yet, chock full of the bright and crisp acidity often lacking in Californian bubbles. There are also notes of tangerine and peach—a reminder that the fruit used to make this wine has basked in warm Napa Valley sunshine. LCBO 217273

2020 Flat Rock Riddled Sparkling

2020 Flat Rock Riddled Sparkling

$34.95 | Ontario
Run—don’t walk—to your nearest LCBO, because only 60 cases of this stunning wine were sent to stores province-wide. The fact that it’s sealed under a crown cap (a.k.a. a beer cap) may raise some eyebrows (the vast majority of traditional-method bottles are closed with a cork and cage), but this wine delivers complexity well beyond its price point. Rich notes of Golden Delicious apple and citrus mingle with hints of spice and almond. LCBO 383315

Baron-Fuenté Brut Tradition Champagne

Baron-Fuenté Brut Tradition Champagne

$49.95 | France
Though it may spark some debate among bubbly enthusiasts, the people at Baron Fuenté refer to Pinot Meunier as the king of champagne. What isn’t up for debate, however, is that this—a blend of 70 per cent Pinot Meunier and 30 per cent Chardonnay—is a delicious bottle of bubbles. The base wine spent time in a mix of stainless steel and oak barrels, bringing some complexity to the most affordable champagne on this list. LCBO 29704

Champagne Moutard Grande Cuvée

Champagne Moutard Grande Cuvée

$50.05 | France
This is one of three entry-level bottles of champagne on this year’s list, proving it isn’t always necessary to spend big bucks to get a great bottle worth sharing over the holidays. This bubbly has flavours and aromas of nuts and rising bread layered over lemony notes. LCBO 25900

Monmarthe Secret de Famille 1er Cru Brut Champagne

Monmarthe Secret de Famille Premier Cru Brut Champagne

$52.95 | France
Champagne with the “premier cru” designation means the fruit comes from one of just 43 small communes with superior terroir in the region. Aged for only two years, this wine has a wonderful fruitiness bursting with pear and peach and a citrusy hit of lime. LCBO 624775

Gosset Grande Reserve Brut Champagne

Gosset Grande Réserve Brut Champagne

$85.80 | France
The unique shape of this bottle—which makes it stand out on the LCBO’s shelves—has been a signature of Maison Gosset since 1760. What it contains is a rich bubbly that has intense flavours of green apple and citrus and notes of freshly baked brioche. LCBO 25903

Vilmart Grande Reserve

Vilmart Grande Reserve

$80.95 | France
Founded in 1890, Vilmart et Cie is a grower champagne, meaning it’s produced by the estate that owns the vineyards where the grapes are grown (as opposed to the many large champagne houses that are corporately owned). Its makers own a mere 11 hectares in the country’s Montagne de Reims region and produce 8,500 cases annually from a primarily Chardonnay vineyard. This wine has all the trappings that make champagne so wonderful. With this in your glass, it will be a happy New Year indeed. LCBO 12619