It's nice to start off a celebration with a flute of something bubbly. Grower-producer Champagnes like those from Pierre Peters and Gimmonet set my heart aflutter. But this Thanksgiving, I want to recommend a few other sparklers to start your meal off right. These bubblies pair beautifully with hors d'oeuvres like chicken liver mousse, shrimp cocktail, or oysters. And if there's still a bit of bubbly in your glass when dinner starts, you'll be pleased to discover that it's a pretty good choice for drinking with turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes.
If you prefer to drink domestic wine on Thanksgiving—and lots of people do—you don't have to give a festive toast with sparkling wine. We were particularly impressed with the Biltmore Estate Chateau Reserve Méthode Champenoise Blanc de Blancs (2006) from North Carolina. This elegant and creamy wine had hints of fresh pineapple and pears, brioche, and almond. It's a well-structured wine with a pop of refreshing acidity and beautiful fine mousse. ($25-29, find this wine here.) We weren't quite as excited by Biltmore Estate's regular Blanc de Blancs...You won't regret spending the extra five bucks.
A few other tasty American hail from New York state. Try the Blanc de Blanc from Bedell Cellars, which is rich and earthy, with hints of Calvados, toast, hazelnut and spice. ($36-48, find this wine here and here.) I'm also partial to Lamoreaux Landing's Blanc de Blanc, a fresh-tasting bubbly with hints of lemon yogurt and pear. ($25, find this wine here and here.)
Bubbly on a Budget
If you're having tons of Thanksgiving guests and you're on a budget, you may be looking for cheaper alternatives to Champagne. Luckily, there's plenty that's good in the under-$20 range.
One of the best values I've found is Col Vetoraz Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Brut, which retails for around $15, though I've found it for less. It's well balanced and mouthfilling, with chalky minerality and hints of almond and orange marmalade. At just 11.5% ABV, it's a while you can keep drinking. (Find this wine.)
Another fresh and festive affordable find is Cupcake's Brut Rosé, which is delicately floral and fruity without being sweet. We tasted orange zest and watermelon, unripe strawberries, as well as light yeasty buttery notes. (Around $15, find this wine.)
Bubbly for Wine Nerds
For those seeking something slightly more unusual, we recommend looking to the Loire region of France. Domaine de la Taille Aux Loups Montlouis Petillant Triple Zero is a fascinating sparkler made from 100% Chenin Blanc. The name "Triple Zero" reflects the winemaker never adding sugar during the winemaking process: zero chaptalization, zero tirage, and zero dosage. The result is a dry and stony, mineral-rich wine, zingy and low-alcohol, with tart limelike acidity that will cut through the richness of the Thanksgiving meal. (Around $20, find this wine here or here.)