We have all heard the rules about wine: pair red wine with meat, white wine with lighter fare such as fish and poultry, and rosé, which you can pair with a porterhouse or salmon. But we are here to tell you that while an excellent prime rib can mellow out the taste of the tannins in a Cabernet Sauvignon and the creamy taste of a Chardonnay enhances the mild, milky flavor of cod; sometimes it is OK to break those rules. If you can get your hands on a bottle of the best sparkling summer wine, we enthusiastically encourage it.
“Sparkling wines are refreshing warm weather sippers that can certainly work as wonderful food wines as well,” Richard Vayda, Director of Wine Studies at the Institute of Culinary Education, tells SPY. “Sure, there is always Champagne, but there are so many other possibilities.”
What Are Sparkling Summer Wines
- Champagne: The king of the sparkling wines. Many see bubbles in a glass and call it Champagne by default; however, true Champagne is rather hard to come by. One can only call sparkling wine Champagne if it comes from Champagne, France.
- Prosecco: The “Champagne” of Italy. This sparkling summer wine from Italy tends to be a sweeter sparkling wine than Champagne and has slightly larger bubbles. Prosecco is considered the best sparkling wine for mimosas, bellinis and other brunch cocktails. It’s also typically less expensive than Champagne.
- Cava: This Spanish sparkling wine is also somewhat fruity, and many consider it the best sweet sparkling wine. In a sense, you can think of this as a dessert option, though it’s OK at any time.
- Rosé: This is a pink sparkling wine associated with warm weather days and summer more than any other sparkling wine. You’ll see this varietal in still, too, but the bubbled variety remains the most popular. A good rosé should have a sweetness, and it hails from many parts of the globe, from France to California.
Why Trust SPY
We’ve been studying wine for decades and have traveled the globe visiting vineyards and wineries, learning about the history of the grapes and the land from which their vines grow. Plus, we also just love wine — we drink a lot of wine. Author Aly Walansky has written about food, wine, and spirits for Forbes, The Food Network, Food & Wine, and more. She is a trusted voice when it comes to what to drink.
With warm weather on our minds, we here at SPY wanted to do a roundup of some of the best sparkling summer wines to stock up on in time for Summer 2022. There will be some that you may recognize and others that may surprise you. But not to worry because we aren’t wine snobs here, so though there will be splurges, we will always make sure to include affordable bottles that are just as satisfying.
Read on for our list of the best sparkling summer wines.
1. Champagne Billecart-Salmon Brut Nature
This gorgeous sparkling wine is bright and crisp, made of 40% Meunier, 30% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay that comes from some of the best Crus in Champagne. It has a creamy texture and flavor, with white fruit and lime notes, for a perfect light bubbly for summer.
2. Sparr Crémant d’Alsace Brut Réserve, NV
“If you want to stay in France, try one of the regional Crémants that are produced using the traditional second fermentation method,” says Vayda. Pierre Sparr, Crémant d’Alsace, Brut Réserve, NV (Non-Vintage) is a lovely sparkling wine made mostly from Pinot Blanc grown in the French Alsace region. “Light, bright yellow with apple and melon tones and a touch of fresh yeast notes, it makes a perfect aperitif or accompaniment to seafood and light fare,” Vayda adds.
3. Graham Beck Brut Rosé Méthode Cap Classique
The Graham Beck, Brut Rosé, Méthode Cap Classique, NV hails from the Western Cape of South Africa made from a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. “Ripe-tinged apple alongside red strawberry and raspberry notes, together with the lively bubbles make it a friendly drink by itself or flexibly matches with many foods,” Vayda tells SPY. It’s a perfect wine to cool down a spicy shrimp dish or accompany a soft-ripened cheese.
4. Black Chook The Chook Sparkling Shiraz
BEST RED SPARKLING SUMMER WINE
Want a red wine, but the weather is a little too warm for it to be refreshing? We suggest Black Chook’s The Chook, Sparkling Shiraz, NV, from South Australia. “With ripe raspberry and blackberry fruit, cocoa tones and a creamy mouthfeel, it’s the perfect foil to heavier summer fare, such as grilled and spicy foods like barbecued chicken,” says Vayda.
5. Hush Heath Estate Balfour Brut Rosé 2013
BEST ENGLISH ROSÉ
English wines are known for their acidity and smooth finish, and this rosé has hints of fresh rosehip, greengage, apple, and ginger. This sparkling summer brut rosé wine pairs beautifully with summer fish dishes, light pastas and salads.
6. Barefoot Bubbly Pinot Grigio
BEST SPARKLING PINOT GRIGIO
For a light and delicate wine that will pair well with pasta or popcorn, there is Barefoot Bubbly Pinot Grigio. This easy-to-find and popular brand showcases the distinctive fresh and dry finishes of a Pinot Grigio, balancing out the taste of a sweet apple cobbler. It is excellent with fish and a base for sparkling white wine sangria.
7. Juve & Camps Reserva De La Familia Gran Reserva Brut
BEST SPARKLING WINE FOR A SPECIAL OCCASION
Juve & Camps is a special occasion wine to save for those nights that demand breaking out the good stuff. The grapes are organically farmed and hand-harvested, and the result is a deep, intense flavor with notes of ripe white fruits and fennel, toast and citrus.
8. Langlois Chateau Crémant de Loire NV
BEST SPARKLING WINE VALUE
Langlois is a wine that is crisp, polished and clean. A wine mostly made of Chenin Blanc aged 36-months, this is high quality at a budget-friendly price tag. It’ll be beautiful with salmon straight from the grill or a crisp summer salad.
9. Iron Horse Vineyards Wedding Cuvée 2017
BEST SPARKLING SUMMER WINE FOR A WEDDING
Wine doesn’t have wedding in the name unless they are serious about the level of bubbles going on. The Californian blend is a slightly fruity sparkling Pinot Noir accented with a little bit of Chardonnay with just enough acid and a pink tinge. Flavors of raspberry and nutmeg make this a perfect dessert sparkling wine for the warmer months.
10. Moët & Chandon Ice Impérial Champagne
Moët & Chandon was founded in 1743, and its Ice Imperial champagne is an excellent representation of what the brand is all about. It was made to be served over ice and is a blend of pinot noir, pinot Meunier — red grapes — and chardonnay with sweet and spicy notes. While we could use many descriptors to say how wonderful this Champagne is, it is far simpler to say that Moët & Chandon Ice Impérial Champagne is one-of-a-kind.
11. Mascota Vineyards Unanime Sparkling
BEST FOR DATE NIGHT
This sparkling summer wine from Mascota Vineyards is an unusual sparkling from Mendoza, Argentina, and it is exceptional. The taste offers notes of buttercream and honey, with a finish that feels just as smooth and elegant as we always hope our summer to be. Try it paired with sushi or ceviche; nothing beats a sushi picnic in the summer.
12. Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs
BEST BLANC DE NOIRS
Blanc de Noirs is the flipside of the family of Blanc de Blancs, made from Pinot Noir. The result is a full-bodied wine with tons of flavor from red fruits, strawberries and minerals. Enjoy this sparkling wine with a cheese plate or charcuterie board, as the ideal start to a warm and memorable evening.