Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Monday, December 4 2017

All That Sparkles is Not Champagne

By: Treve Ring
The shine of sparkling wine outside of Champagne is worth seeking out

It’s true that Champagne is the gold standard for all wines that sparkle.

Tradition, time, tenure, terroir: Champagne reigns supreme. But it’s no longer necessary to fill your flute with gold, and pay that price, to enjoy a spectacular sparkling wine. It seems everywhere I travel around the world, from South Africa to Germany to Argentina to Italy and home to Canada (YAY), sparkling wine is being made, and consumed, at a streaming rate. In BC alone there are more than 75 producers of sparkling and half of those are crafted in traditional method. Canucks do share the 49th parallel with the Champenois, after all.

Of course, there are numerous styles / method of sparkling wine, from injecting a tank of wine with gas on up through the Traditional, or Champenoise, method of performing the second fermentation in bottle. The painstaking traditional method of production is mandated by law not only for Champagne, of course, but also for numerous other bubbles, including Spanish Cava, French Crémant, Italian Franciacorta and South African Method Cap Classique. Naturally, the grapes, soils and climate affect the final wine dramatically, and regional appellation laws vary with respect to grapes, time on lees and yields. But it is widely accepted that for the most complex sparkling wines, secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle, wine is aged on the lees and clarified slowly by hand or by gyropalette with remuage (riddling). That said, sometimes, possibly most times, you might want a simple, bright, crisp and fun fizz that is affordable to drink on any day of the week, as we oft do here at GOW. Sparkling wine, of all types, are the most versatile for wine pairings, taking on everything from canapes to main courses to desserts, and refreshing the palate all the while.

Here are 105 other wines around the world beyond Champagne, including right here at home, that are making serious, quality, sparkling wine that we've tasted this year at GOW. Not that you need a season, or a reason, to drink bubbles. We've ordered it by country, and then by score. Keep this guide bookmarked for your everyday drinking in 2018 and beyond.


Written By: TR
Treve Ring
Treve Ring

Treve Ring is a writer, editor, judge, consultant, educator and certified sommelier based on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. After completing her Art History degree with Distinction from the University of Victoria and being exposed to the world of wine business at Christie's in London, England, she switched gears, leaving the realm of art for the world of wine.