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Holiday season is time for bubbles. Here are five splurge-worthy sparkling wines to get your celebrations started. We have two delicious champagnes, a biodynamic Crémant de Bourgogne to appeal to natural wine fans, a sophisticated Cava from Spain and an off-the-wall selection: A delightful lambrusco from northern Italy to brighten your more casual festivities.
Philipponnat Royale Réserve Brut
Champagne, France, $70
Philipponnat is a celebrated champagne house, and it’s one of the few to make a single-vineyard vintage wine, called Clos des Goisses, each year. The Royale Réserve Brut is a more traditional multi-vintage blend, based on pinot noir. The winery uses a solera system for its reserve wines, which make up about a third of the blend. (A solera combines wines from many vintages. Each year, some is drawn off to serve as reserve wine for the new multi-vintage blend, while fresh wine from the current vintage is added.) The current release, according to the label, was based on the 2013 vintage, and disgorged in November 2017 — details interesting to wine nerds. What you really need to know — this is serious wine, worth the splurge and worthy of a fine meal, not just toasting. Alcohol by volume: 12 percent.
Imported by Banville; distributed in the District and Virginia by Banville, in Maryland by Artisans & Vines: Available in the District at Cordial Fine Wine & Spirits (the Wharf), Magruder’s, Modern Liquors. Available in Maryland at Beer, Wine & Co. in Bethesda, Knowles Station Wine & Co. in Kensington. Available in Virginia at Briedé Family Vineyards in Winchester, Vienna Vintner in Vienna.
Jean Pernet Réserve Brut Chardonnay Grand Cru
Here’s a delicious wine that just happens to have bubbles. It hails from Le Mésnil-sur-Oger, an area of Champagne that features chardonnay at its height. Think of this wine for dinner. Its richness and depth will match robust dishes, while the bubbles give it some lift to leave you ready for another sip. ABV: 12 percent.
Imported and distributed by Le Storie: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Wagshal’s Deli. Available in Virginia at Grape + Bean in Alexandria, Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview), Vino Market in Midlothian.
Cantina della Volta Brutrosso Lambrusco di Sorbara 2016
This is not your typical sparkling wine. It’s lambrusco, which means it is red, but kind of a deep rosé in color. The bubbles don’t give you the same pressure as champagne, and this is lighter with brighter fruit flavors than most lambruscos. Enjoy this with smoked or cured meats — think charcuterie, pizza or barbecue. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Imported and distributed by Le Storie: Available in the District at A. Litteri, Ace Beverage, Via Umbria, Wardman Wines. Available in Virginia at the Bottle Stop in Occoquan, Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean, Grape + Bean in Alexandria, J. Emerson Fine Wines & Cheese in Richmond, Oakton Wine Shop in Oakton, Red Apron Butcher in Fairfax, Tastings of Charlottesville, Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview), Vino Market in Midlothian.
Céline et Laurent Tripoz Crémant de Bourgogne Brut Nature
Burgundy, France, $30
I’ve long admired this small family domain in the Macon region of Burgundy for the quality of its still and sparkling wines. The crémant brut nature, made entirely from chardonnay, is soft and rich, with flavors of earth and apples. Certified biodynamic. ABV: 13 percent.
Imported and distributed by Elite: Available in the District at Cork & Fork, Domestique, Mom’s Organic Market, Rodman’s, Whole Foods Market (P Street). Available in Maryland at Canton Crossing Wine + Spirits and the Remington Bottle in Baltimore, State Line Liquors in Elkton. Available in Virginia at Crystal City Wine Shop in Arlington, Locke Store in Millwood, Mom’s Organic Market (Arlington), Wine Cabinet in Reston, Whole Foods Market (Arlington).
Naveran Cava Brut Vintage 2017
Penedes, Spain, $17
Crisp, medium weight, classic cava with refreshing bubbles, this Naveran vintage brut is ideal as an aperitif or for use in cocktails. This is also available in magnums (1.5 liters, or two bottles’ worth) for your large gatherings. ABV: 11.5 percent.
Imported by Olé, distributed in the District and Maryland by Bacchus, in Virginia by Salveto: Available in the District at Eye Street Cellars, Grand Cata, Magruder’s, Modern Liquors, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits, Zachys. Available in Maryland at Angels Cut Wine & Spirits and Wine Bin in Ellicott City, Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits, Bin 201 Wine Sellers, Eastport Liquors and Giolitti Delicatessen in Annapolis, Bin 604 Wine Sellers, Pinehurst Wine Shoppe and Wine Source in Baltimore, Fairground Discount Beverages and Mays Chapel Wine & Spirit Shop in Timonium, Fenwick Beer & Wine in Silver Spring, Friendship Wine & Liquor and Wine World Beer & Spirits in Abingdon, Franklin Liquors in Ijamsville, Mt. Airy Liquors in Mt. Airy, Montgomery County Wine & Liquor Stores (Clarksburg, White Oak), Roots Market in Olney, the Wine Harvest (Potomac), Ye Old Spirit Shop in Frederick. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese and Crystal City Wine Shop in Arlington, Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview), Vienna Vintner in Vienna, Wine Cabinet in Reston, Wine House in Fairfax.
Availability information is based on distributor records. Wines might not be in stock at every listed store and might be sold at additional stores. Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.