Editor's note: We like sparkling wine, and we're always searching for delicious bottles of bubbly, from affordable options to small-producer Champagnes that truly reflect the character of the place where they're grown. In this new series, Bubbles, we'll pop a few corks to let you know which fizzy wines are worth a splurge and which you can skip. Got bubbly recommendations? Please let us know your favorites in the comments!
This is one of the best values in sparkling wine I've come across. If I were planning a wedding or a big New Year's Eve bash, this bubbly from southern France would be high on my list; no one would ever guess that this delicious sparkler doesn't cost $25 or $30.
The scent is like apple cider donuts in a pine crate, and a bit of that nutmeg and cardamom spice comes through in the toasty-spice-cake flavor, but this elegant, creamy wine is lively and tart, with a piercing green apple acidity and a focused brightness that stands out. The bubbles are very fine on your tongue, and lots of lemon zest, poached pear, and almond butter flavor rounds it out.
If you're going upscale, serve with crab cakes, but since this stuff is cheap enough for a weeknight, try it with creamy Indian dishes, Chinese takeout, or a roast chicken stuffed with lemons.
Around $14, sample provided for review.
About the author: Maggie Hoffman is the editor of Serious Eats: Drinks.