Our Wine Panel Reviews Sparkling Wines

sparkling wine wines reviews grades tasting notes

For our latest wine panel, we asked panelists to taste and grade sparkling wines. These bubblies could be any style within the category, from anywhere in the world.

As always, these selections include brief tasting notes, a rating and the wine’s retail price (which can vary from store to store and market to market). Unless noted otherwise, prices reflect a 750-ml. bottle. If you are a beverage professional with a specialty in wine who is interested in participating in the panel, please contact Editor Kyle Swartz at 763-383-4447, or email him at kswartz@epgacceleration.com.

Rating System

Five Stars (100-92): A top-flight wine, superior in taste and character, and providing a superior price/value ratio.

Four Stars (91-86): A very good wine and an excellent value. A wine for which customers will keep coming back.


Five Stars

(97) Gusbourne Brut Rosé (England)

Yes, you read that correctly, England. Southern England shares much of the same characteristics as the Champagne region of France. This combination of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier creates a wine with a profile similar to some Champagne houses’ top offering, at a much more attractive price. Elegant berry, cherry and tree fruit notes abound on the nose and palate. Lovely mouthfeel and the long finish add to the wine’s appeal. ($79.99)

(96) Sea Smoke Sea Spray Blanc de Noir 2014 (CA)

100% pinot noir, which was hand-harvested early from select lots of the biodynamically farmed estate vineyards. Vinified in the traditional methode champenoise method, with a regimented sur lie and bottle aging program. Light touches of color, beautiful minerality and subtle yeast notes reflect an elegant wine with balanced acidity. A wonderful excuse to treat yourself to the best for any occasion! ($99.99)


(96) Champagne Georges Cartier Brut Tradition NV (France)

Using a large percentage of red grape varieties, this Champagne offers plenty of richness and weight on the palate. The chardonnay contributes energy, and hints of white fruit. An outstanding example of Champagne, from a house you may not know so well. Here’s the chance to know them better. ($61.50)

(96) Roger Coulon “Henri Hodie” Premier Cru Champagne NV (France)

Crafted from mostly meunier (formerly referred to as pinot meunier), this wine is sourced from over 100 plots and is aged for three years. The final wine bursts with aromas and flavors of brioche toast, hazelnuts and green apples on a full-bodied palate. ($52.99)

(95) Seconde Collard La Cuvee Perpetuelle Grand Cru NV (France)

This is a phenomenal value for a grand cru. 70% pinot noir and 30% chardonnay. This cuvee accounts for both its roundness and fresh palate. Notes of black fruits, black currants and cherry are balanced out by roasted almonds. ($99.99)

(95) Ca’del Bosco Cuvee Prestige Franciacorta Extra Brut (Italy)

Upon opening the bottle, you are immediately welcomed with bready aromas of yeast and toasted bread. Tasting this extra brut sparkler, it shows plenty of stone fruit on the palate, short mousse, but lingering finish. ($36.99)

(95) Robert Hall Sparkling Grenache Blanc 2020 (CA)

Paso Robles has shown to be a great growing region for Rhône Valley varieties, and this sparkling grenache blanc is no exception. Bright and pale in the glass, the nose and palate show plenty of citrus, minerality, with toasty notes. Excellent focus and length on the finish. ($40)

(94) McPherson Sparkling Brut NV (TX)

“Brothers blend” is how I refer to this collaborative project between Kim and Jon McPherson. 100% chenin from the Lepard vineyard is vinified by Kim in Lubbock, TX, and then shipped to his brother in Temecula, CA, for finishing as a sparkling using the Charmat process. Reminiscent of a classic sparkling Vouvray, with crisp acidity, wonderful citrus notes and a touch of sweetness on the finish. Perfect for those hot summer days on the patio. Great value, and 100% Texas to boot! ($21.99)

(94) Gusbourne Brut Reserve 2018 (England)

Elegant, with superb fruit and weight on the palate that showcase the wine’s pedigree. About two-thirds red grape varieties, there is a richness, tempered by the acidic backbone. Another world-class sparkling wine from England, which can go toe to toe with top-end Champagnes. ($63.99)

(94) Domaine Carneros Brut Vintage Cuvée (CA)

From one of the pioneers of high-end sparkling wine production in California, the 2018 Brut Cuvée shows plenty of class, with a brilliant pale yellow gold in the glass, and lots of delicate tree fruit on the nose and palate. Very food-friendly, and a great value. ($36.99)

(94) Herdade do Rocim Mariana Espumante Blanc de Blancs (Portugal)

Clean, bright, elegant. All apt descriptors for this superb sparkling wine. The nose is dominated by tree fruit notes, with subtle floral hints. The focus on the palate keeps things lively, with balancing acidity and a longer finish, balancing the fruit and subtle toastiness. ($20.99)

(94) Jacky Blot Chenin Blanc Brut Tradition Sparkling (France)

Two years of aging in the bottle during its methode traditionelle winemaking produces a fine and persistent bead. Aromas of graham cracker, almonds and minerals lead to flavors of citrus, honey and toast. A delightful bubbly made from 100% chenin blanc. ($29.99)

(94) Francois Chidaine Montlouis Sur Loire “Les Vendages” Brut Tradition 2018 (France)

The aromatics are fresh, filled with citrus zest and green apple. On the palate, the mousse is dry, pleasant, creamy, not aggressive. Flavors of ripe stone fruits, and Golden Delicious apples. ($23)

(93) Champagne Marie de Moy Demi Sec NV (France)

Pure indulgence at this price point. Pale yellow in color with a beautiful florality on the nose. This is a medium-bodied wine with a subtle finish. Hints of apples and honey blossoms are revealed on the palate. ($49.99)

(93) Champagne Dalys Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs NV (France)

Made from 100% chardonnay and produced in the heart of the Cote des Blancs. This has a softer and lovely delicate palate for a Grand Cru. Fine and delicate bubbles bring forth notes of butter cookies, floral blossoms and fresh-baked brioche. ($59.99)

(93) Bella Conchi Cava NV (Spain)

Produced from traditional Cava varieties, with a bit of chardonnay, showcases the clean tree and citrus fruit aspects. Brilliant pale gold, with green hints in the glass. The nose and palate share similar profiles. Very capable of matching with a wide range of foods, it’s an excellent value. ($18)

(93) Wolfberger Cremant d’Alsace Rosé Brut NV (France)

Using 100% pinot noir, this Cremant d’Alsace rivals many a more expensive bottle. Pale salmon in the glass, the nose and palate enjoy a generous combination of berry and sour cherry notes. The mouthfeel is quite generous, and the finish is quite lengthy. ($25.99)

(92) Valdo Marca Oro Rosé NV (Italy)

With a touch of pinot noir to provide the brilliant pink notes in the glass, the nose radiates with notes of tree and delicate berry fruit. The texture and finish provide a subtle elegance. A great wine, at a great price. ($15.99)

(92) Szigeti Grüner Veltliner Brut NV (Austria)

Brilliant pale yellow, with the slightest hints of green in the glass. 100% grüner veltliner provides lots of clean and bright notes of citrus and tree fruit. The finish is very long, elegant and lingering. A great wine to match up with a wide range of foods. ($26.99)

(92) Champagne Dalys Grand Cru Demi Sec Blanc de Blancs NV (France)

This wine has beautiful light-yellow hue with tiny, fine bubbles. Crisp apple and honeyed floral notes greet you on the nose, with those tones continuing through the palate with a fresh, sweet fruity finish. ($59.99)

(92) Champagne Gerin Grande Reserve Brut NV (France)

This cuvee is 50% pinot meunier, 30% pinot noir, and 20% chardonnay and all hand harvested. Notes of apples and ripe bartlett pears with fine bubbles that is full and rounded on the palate. Champagne enthusiasts will enjoy this unique, higher-pinot meunier blend. ($44.99)

Four Stars

(91) Gerard Bertrand Cremant de Limoux Brut Rose (France)

Excellent wine from the home of sparkling wine. This blend of chardonnay, chenin blanc and pinot noir has a lovely salmon color, with a luxurious texture and bright flavors of dry nectarine, wild strawberry and a touch of rose petal tied together with a hint of toast.  Very well-balanced aperitif or dinner wine (grilled salmon, pork tenderloin). Excellent value. ($17.99)

(91) Decoy Brut Cuvee NV (CA)

This debut offering pretty much completes the overall Duckhorn portfolio. What bridge have they not crossed? Expanding their horizons one more time, they use the time-proven success for the shared winemaking teams and shared sourcing from prime sites all over California. Classic blend of 49% pinot noir, 47% chardonnay, and 4% pinot meunier, vinified in the methode champenoise process. Final dosage is French oak barrel-fermented Napa chardonnay for a final elegant touch. Toasted apple, pear, citrus and yeast dominate the nose. Good acidity with a hint of sweetness. Perfect sparking for any celebration. ($27.99)

(91) Tissot Maire Crémant du Jura Brut NV (France)

Hand-harvested and from the famed Maison Michel Tissot & Fils, this clean and delicate wine opens with honeyed notes on the nose, with dainty white flowers and dried fruits on the palate. Fruity but balanced. ($17.99)

(90) Blanc de Bleu Cuvee Mousseux Blanc de Rose Brut NV (CA)

This is a great example of easy, light, with lots of fruit-forward flavor. Bubbles are cheery, but not aggressive. Pleasant with notes of citrus peel, and Granny Smith apple, lingering finish. Great by itself or paired with food. ($18.99)

(90) Forbidden Kiss Rosé NV (France)

A great value for a deliciously sweeter sparkling rosé. Intense notes of tangy fruits like cranberries, strawberries and cherries with hints of currants. ($12.99)

(90) Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blanc NV (CA)

Nose has bready, yeasty, toasty aromas, with a very vibrant and long-lasting mousse. The acidity is balanced, crisp and bright on the palate, short finish. ($21.99)

(90) Forbidden Kiss NV (France)

This lively sparkling wine has a natural sweetness and lower alcohol that will be a party pleaser. Full bodied but fresh, and bursting with raspberry and cherry notes. ($12.99)

(89) Simonnet-Febvre Crémant de Bourgogne Brut Rosé NV (France)

Made entirely from pinot noir, this wine is bottle-aged just like Champagne. It is fruity and soft, with flavors of strawberry, raspberry and pie crust. ($19.99)

(89) Bella Strada Peach Bellini NV (Germany)

Fresh and light bodied, this slightly sweet-yet-refreshing ready-to-drink has fruity and crisp notes of white peach and grapefruit. ($12.99)

Want more reviews? Our wine panels in the past year have included:

Feature photo by Mads Eneqvist on Unsplash.


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