Organic Sparkling Wines for the Holidays

Sparkling wine has an illustrious history of livening up celebrations. In 1876 the Tsar of Russia commissioned the now ubiquitous Crystal to make a distinguished sparkler that would impress his court, and Napoleon’s armies famously opened their bottles of bubbly with their sabers, a practice that continues to this day (though as this video attests, you can even “saber” a bottle open with a Champagne flute!) In the United States, we tend to use the word Champagne to describe any sparkling wine, but there is a difference. Sparkling wine refers to any wine from anywhere in the world that is brought to effervescence in any number of ways. In contrast, Champagne must come from the Champagne region of France, where rules establish a painstaking process that results in some of the best, and most expensive, sparkling wine in the world. Here are two sparklers I highly recommend:

Prosecco ‘Riva Moretta’, Perlage ’05 organic Retail Price $17 (Organic Vintages)

This charming sparkler from the Veneto region of Italy is produced in the Charmat method, which differs from the Champagne method in many ways, not the least of which is how long it’s aged. Minimal ageing helps preserve the wine’s fun, fruit-forward nature. It’s notes of green apple, lemon and pear makes it a perfect aperitif.

Blanc de Noir, Hermann J. Weimer NV ’03 practicing organic Retail Price $30 (Martin Scott Wines)

Blanc de Noir means literally “white of black.” As implied, this wine from the Fingerlakes of New York is made entirely of Pinot Noir, yet is vibrantly clear due to a lack of contact with the grape skins. Produced through “Methode Champenoise,” the traditional method of Champagne, this sparkler exhibits notes of strawberry, hazelnut, and a crisp, refreshing minerality.


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