Sommelier Emily Walker’s Five Sparkling Wines Picks For Summer

Gone are the days when sparkling wines were viewed merely as drinks reserved for special occasions – and thank goodness for that! Bubbles should never require a reason, but if they did, what better reason is there than celebrating the long awaited arrival of summer in Vancouver?

Here are five great value bubblies for your summer festivities.

1. Prosecco – “The Beer of Bubbly”

Bastianich “Flor” Spumante Veneto IGT, Italy – $20 – at select private wine stores – prices may vary

Prosecco is the ideal beverage for a hot summer day. It’s quite simply one of the most refreshing sparkling wines out there. This lively Spumante (meaning “sparkling” in Italian) is dry and exceedingly crisp with an exuberant fruit-salad nose and hints of honeyed almond on the palate.

2. Cremant – The “non-Champagne” French Sparkling

Caves de Lugny, Crémant de Bourgogne Millesimée, Burgundy, France, 2008 – $24 at select Liberty Wine Merchant locations

 It’s rare to see vintage Cremant in Vancouver. If you’re craving the complex, savory flavor profile of Champagne, but not the hefty price tag; hit up any Liberty Wine Merchant location and snatch up a bottle of this quality crafted Cremant while it lasts.

3. Champagne – The real deal

Pierre Paillard, Brut, Grand Cru, Champagne, France – $55- at select private wine stores, prices may vary

Family owned and sustainably produced on Grand Cru vineyard sites, Pierre Paillard is justly priced in the realm of true Champagne. The lengthy ageing process results in fine elegant bubbles and the palate is rich with flavors of almonds and brioche married with ripe tree-fruit and balanced acidity.

4. Grey Monk Odyssey Brut, Okanagan, BC, 2009 – $25 – at select VQA stores, prices may vary

I am delighted by this sprightly BC bubble. Produced in the traditional Champagne Method, it offers both freshness and complexity. The grapes used are Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay Musque  – a highly perfumed “muscat-like” clone of Chardonnay, which lends lovely aromatics.

5. Bella, Sparkling Rosè, Gamay Noir, Okanagan, BC, 2011, $24 –at select VQA stores, prices may vary

Bella Wines is a brand new fully dedicated sparkling wine producer based out of the Okanagan Crushpad facility in Summerland, BC. This light, crisp, sparkling rose made from Gamay Noir grapes, is charming with floral aromas and delicate notes of strawberry-rhubarb. A wonderful illustration of the Okanagan Valley’s budding potential and focus in sparkling wine production.

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