Exceptional Excellent Very Good
Here are five more outstanding sparkling wines for your holiday celebrations, including two delicious champagnes and a standout California bubbly. For more budget-conscious celebrants, we add two Spanish cavas that deliver the fizz at a comfier price.
Goutorbe Bouillot Reflets de Rivière Brut
Champagne, France, $54
This seductive wine comes from vineyards along the Marne River and its tributaries, thus the name. The blend is 60 percent pinot meunier, with the rest equal parts chardonnay and pinot noir. I could happily sit and contemplate this wine, perhaps with some light snacks or seafood. 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 Craft Wine, Beer & Spirits; Grand Cata; Magruder’s. Available in Maryland at Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda. Available in Virginia at Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview), Vienna Vintner in Vienna.
Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve
Beautifully ripe and toasty, this lovely champagne seems to speak of sunnier harvests than this northerly wine region is typically known for. It shows impressive depth and length as well, and provides some freshness dating on the label. The bottle I tasted was cellared in 2011 and disgorged in 2018 — that extended aging in the house’s chalk cellars indicates quality, while the fairly recent disgorgement gives confidence that the wine hasn’t been kicking around for years in a warehouse or store. ABV: 12 percent.
Imported by Folio, distributed by M. Touton Selection: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, Cork & Fork, Eye Street Cellars, Harry’s Reserve Fine Wine & Spirits, McReynold’s Liquors, Modern Liquors, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, Pearson’s, Potomac Wine & Spirits, Rodman’s, S&S Liquors, Wide World of Wines, Wine Specialist. Available in Maryland at Bradley Food & Beverage and Lance’s Beer & Wine in Bethesda; Village Liquors of Clarksville in Clarksville; Franklins Restaurant, Brewery and General Store in Hyattsville; Frederick Wine House; Old Farm Liquors and Viniferous in Frederick; Hop N Grape in North Bethesda; Montgomery County Wine & Liquor Store in Cabin John; Pine Orchard Liquors in Ellicott City; Shawan Liquors in Cockeysville; Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington; Wine Source in Baltimore.
Roederer Estate Brut L'Ermitage 2012
Anderson Valley, Calif., $54
Here’s a last-chance wine: L’Ermitage 2012 nearly sold out after Wine Spectator magazine ranked it No. 5 on its top 100 wines of the year list last month. This is the tête de cuvée from Roederer Estate, the California outpost of the Louis Roederer champagne house. The company farms its vineyards biodynamically, and the care shows in this sophisticated, stylish bubbly. The new vintage will be reaching stores soon, but you should be able to find some of the 2012. The Roederer Estate Brut is also consistently good, at a much lower price. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Distributed by RNDC: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, Crown Liquors, Pearson’s.
1+1=3 Cygnus Brut Nature
Penedes, Spain, $20
This lovely cava comes from one of my favorite producers for bargain bubbly. Made from organically grown grapes, the wine is remarkably sophisticated, with baked apple and quince flavors kissed with citrus and pastry crust. It is not sweet by any means, yet as I sip it I find myself craving an apple pie. Bravo! ABV: 11.5 percent.
Imported by Grapes of Spain, distributed by Elite: Available in the District at Cordial Craft Wine, Beer & Spirits; Georgetown Wine & Spirits; Rodman’s; Wide World of Wines. Available in Maryland at Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits in Annapolis, Bethesda Co-Op in Cabin John; the Bottle Shop in Potomac; Bradley Food & Beverage, Georgetown Square Wine and Beer and Goshen Plaza Beer and Wine in Bethesda; Downtown Crown Wine and Beer and Finewine.com in Gaithersburg; Knowles Station Wine & Co. in Kensington; Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring; Westside Wine Cellar and Beer in Derwood; Wine Underground in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington.
Here’s a cava with bright flavors of red currant and raspberries, and a persistent finish. A fun, delightful quaff. ABV: 11.5 percent.
Imported by Peninsula Wines, distributed by Salveto: Available in the District at Chat’s Liquors, Grand Cata, Modern Liquors, S&R Liquors, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean, Reston), Crystal City Wine Shop and Screwtop Wine Bar & Cheese Shop in Arlington, Department of Beer and Wine in Alexandria, Pazzo Pomodoro (Ashburn, Vienna), Wine Cabinet in Reston, the Wine Outlet (Great Falls, McLean, Vienna), WineStyles (Montclair, Chantilly).
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.