Here are some sparkling wines that will brighten your holidays but not lighten your wallet. Next week I’ll offer champagne recommendations.

— D.M.

Chateau de l’Aulee NV Brut


Loire Valley, France, $23

This fabulous Cremant de Loire is 100 percent chenin blanc, and it shows remarkable depth and precision with bright fruit flavors. It is so good that restaurants have snatched most of the supply, but it is getting into retail stores. A delightful wine at a very good price.

Bacchus: Available in the District at Cork Market. On the list at Matisse Cafe, Central Michel Richard, Cork Wine Bar, DGS Delicatessen, the Hamilton, Medium Rare and Vinoteca. Available in Maryland at Fairgrounds Discount Beverages in Timonium, Viniferous in Frederick; on the list at Silo 0.5% Wine Bar in Baltimore.

Domaine de Clos de l’Epinay Brut

★★1 / 2

Vouvray, Loire Valley, France, $19

Also 100 percent chenin blanc, this wine is on the earthy side, with bruised-apple flavor and a hint of autumn.

Dionysus: Available in the District at Rodman’s, Wagshal’s Market. Available in Maryland at Balducci’s in Bethesda, Wine Cellars of Annapolis; on the list at Sushiko in Chevy Chase. Available in Virginia at Unwined in Alexandria and Belleview, Wegmans locations (Gainesville, Leesburg, Woodbridge), Whole Foods Market locations (Alexandria, Arlington, Vienna).

L’Antica Quercia Matiu Brut


Prosecco Superiore Conegliano, Italy, $20

Bright and citrusy, this delicious wine could dispel the image of prosecco as a simple fizz. It is new to the area and should become more widely available.

Potomac Selections: Available in Maryland at Grand Cru and Wine Source in Baltimore, Wine Bin in Ellicott City. Available in Virginia at Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean.

Portium Cava Brut


Penedes, Spain, $14

This is a bit richer and brighter than most cavas, perhaps because chardonnay accounts for 30 percent of the blend. The Spanish varieties Xarel-lo, Macabeu and Parellada make up the rest.

Siema: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits. Available in Maryland at Bay Wine & Spirits in North Beach, Fairgrounds Discount Beverages in Timonium, Fenwick Beer & Wine in Silver Spring, Open Til Midnight in Bethesda, the Tasting Room Wine Bar & Shop in National Harbor, the Wine Harvest in Gaithersburg and Potomac, Wine Source in Baltimore, Viniferous in Frederick. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s and Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, Curious Grape and Oby Lee Winery in Arlington, Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market in Richmond, Grapes of Taste in Ladysmith, Norm’s Beer & Wine in Vienna, Unwined in Alexandria and Belleview, Virginia Wine Experience in Fredericksburg.

Cuvee Tsar’s Legend Blanc de Blancs 2009

1 / 2

Moldova, $18

Sparkling wine from Moldova: Why not? This well-made wine offers flavors of apricot and cream, and would go nicely with coulibiac, pierogi or Doctor Zhivago.

Nice Legs: Available in the District at Chat’s Liquors, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, S&R Liquors; on the list at Veritas. Available in Maryland at Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington. Available in Virginia at Grape + Bean in Alexandria and Rosemont, Oakton Wine Shop, Wine Cabinet in Reston.

Vickery Park Chardonnay Brut

France, $9

If you’re looking for a fizz to pour at a party and your budget is tight, this straightforward bubbly can do the trick.

Exclusive to Trader Joe’s in the District and Virginia.