When you think of American sparkling wine, you probably picture yourself sipping bubbles in the vineyards of Napa and Sonoma (...can I come?). You wouldn't be off track: many of California’s most famous wineries were set up by OGs in the Champagne world, including Domaine Chandon (Moet et Chandon), Roederer Estate (Louis Roederer), and Domaine Carneros (Taittinger). (Note: Before Champagne restrictions were placed, certain domestic producers had already been labeling their product as California Champagne; they were grandfathered in and are still allowed to label their wines as such.)
And so, the desire for domestic bubbly grew, and continues to do so. But beyond the Golden State, wine regions in Oregon, Washington, and New York’s Finger Lakes are also flourishing, bottling tons of the fizzy stuff made with Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, and other grapes that thrive in cooler climates.
Farmstead Long Meadow Ranch Brut ($32): With aromas of apple, pear, and citrus plus floral and spice notes, this structured Sonoma County sparkling is made in the Traditional Method and then aged in the bottle for 18 months. It’s affordable, but still elegant and steps above Netflix-and-Chill, so pop the cork and have yourself a night (plus-one optional): enjoy it with oysters and caviar or a fruit and cheese board.
Treveri Cellars Gerürztraminer ($18.99): This wine house nestled in Columbia Valley, Washington uses the Traditional Method to make sparklers from various varietals; and this fizzy features the Gewürztraminer grape, which is slightly zippy with mild fruit aromas and the perfect touch of sweetness ($3.5% sugar). Use it as a base for a festive wine spritzers, or pair it with spicy Thai takeout and reruns of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Finke’s Sparkling White Blend 2017 ($16): You and this California sparkling wine from Winc’s portfolio have something in common: you’re both ready to drink immediately. Bottled six months after harvest, this youthful blend of Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay was made by harvesting the grapes early in the season using Charmat Method. The result: a fresh, crisp, effervescent bubbly that’s dry on the palette with tropical fruit notes. Thus, it bodes well light, salty foods like sushi, fish, and cured meats.