The pandemic bubble may be starting to burst. Celebrate with bubbles all under $20.
By Dave McIntyre,
The Washington Post
The days are getting longer and the weather warmer, and we are beginning to emerge from our pandemic bubbles. So why not celebrate with some bubbles? Here are five sparkling wines for spring, from the trendy to the tried and true. The key here is value: All five are $20 or less.
Simonnet-Febvre Crémant de Bourgogne Brut
Burgundy, France, $20
Simonnet-Febvre is located in Chablis, the northern part of Burgundy closest to Champagne. And yet the winery claims it is the only Chablis producer to make a bubbly in the champagne style. This 60 percent chardonnay and 40 percent pinot noir sparkler is bright and refreshing, with persistent bubbles and a soft, comforting texture. Look for flavors of apple and pear, and pair with salty appetizers. Alcohol by volume: 12 percent.
Imported by Louis Latour Inc., distributed in the District and Maryland by M. Touton Selection, in Virginia by Select: Available in the District at Burka’s Wine & Liquor, Cairo Wine & Liquor, Congress Market, Downtown Liquors, Eye Street Cellars, Freedom Market, Hayden’s Liquor, Mimi’s Convenience Mart, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, Rodman’s, Rosebud Liquor, Southeast Market and Liquor, Sunset Wine & Spirits, Town & Country Market, U Street Mini Mart, Virginia Market. Available in Virginia at Magnolias at the Mill in Purcellville, Pentagon City Wine Merchant in Arlington, Total Wine & More (various locations), Wegmans (various locations).
Clara C Feminine Bio Fiori di Prosecco
Look for the squat bottle with a green sash across the label to find this lovely organic bubbly from the Cantine di Clara C. It’s textbook prosecco: soft and lightly bubbly, with bright red berry flavors and an appealing hint of citrus and wild herbs. ABV: 11.5 percent.
Imported and distributed in the District and Virginia by Banville, distributed in Maryland by Artisans & Vines: Available in the District at Magruder’s, Modern Liquors, Radici, Rodman’s, Toscana Market. Available in Maryland at Beer Wine & Co. in Bethesda, Dawson’s Market in Rockville, Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Roots Market in Olney. Available in Virginia at Aldie Peddler in Aldie; Farm Fresh in Richmond; the Italian Store (Lyon Village, Westover) in Arlington; Kimberly’s, Murphy Beverage in Winchester; Wayside Inn in Middletown.
Biutiful Brut Cava
Penedes, Spain, $15
This nice cava lives up to its name, with delicious flavors of red berries and melon, and a fine bead of bubbles. The label also makes a brut nature and a rosé that are great values and candidates for celebrations such as Mother’s Day or weddings. ABV: 11.5 percent.
Imported by Grapes of Spain, distributed by Elite: Available in the District at Best World Supermarket, Bloomingdale Wine & Spirits, the Bottle Shop, Central Liquors, Cork ’N Bottle Wine & Spirits, DC Mini Supermarket, Dixie Liquor, Eye Street Cellars, Harvard Liquors, Hill Spirits Unlimited, Irving Wine & Spirits, Lion’s Fine Wine & Spirits, Oasis Gourmet Deli, Pearson’s, Rodman’s, Sane Wine & Spirits, Select Reserves, Streets Market (various locations), Uptown Market, Watergate Vintners & Spirits, West End Market, Westchester Market, Wine Specialist. Available in Maryland at Amendment 21, Chesapeake Wine Co., Red Fish Liquors in Baltimore; Annebeth’s in Annapolis; Beers & Cheers, Hop N Cru in Germantown; Beers & Cheers Too, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer, Finewine.com in Gaithersburg; Botanero, Grosvenor Market, On the Vine Craft Beer & Wine, Rockville Pike Craft Beer Wine & More in Rockville; the Bottle Shop in Potomac; Bradley Food & Beverage, Butchers Alley, Capital Beer & Wine, Georgetown Square Wine and Beer, Geste Beer & Wine in Bethesda; Cheers & Spirits in Arnold; Hop N Grape in North Bethesda; Hops & Vines in Odenton; Landover Liquor in Cheverly; Mays Chapel Wine & Spirits in Timonium; New Market Beer & Wine in New Market; One Eleven Main in Bel Air; Pine Orchard Liquors, Wine Bin in Ellicott City; Snider’s Super Foods, Veridian Market & Wine in Silver Spring; Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-Op in Takoma Park; Town & Country Wine Liquor Etc. in Easton; Town Center Market in Riverdale Park; UnCorked in Towson. Available in Virginia at Aldie Peddler in Aldie; Arrowine and Cheese, K-1 Beer and Wine, Towers Foods, Westover Market in Arlington; City Vino in Fredericksburg; Classic Wines in Great Falls; Department of Beer and Wine, Lee’s Market, Sonoma Cellar, Unwined (Belleview) in Alexandria; Kelsick Specialty Market in Gloucester; Wayside Inn in Middletown; Locke Store in Millwood; Lokl Gourmet in McLean; Lombardy Market, Oxford Cellars, Tugwells Market in Richmond; Norm’s Beer & Wine in Vienna; Potomac Point Winery in Stafford; Stop In Food Store in Williamsburg; Trummer’s on Main in Clifton; Wine Cabinet in Reston; Yiannis in Virginia Beach.
Les Alliés Sparkling Brut
France, $12; $9 for a 2-pack of 187-milliliter bottles
While it’s no champagne, this delightfully fruity and inexpensive bubbly feels like drinking orange gummies, candied ginger and lemon drops. This is an excellent choice for an everyday celebration or a large party, once we’re allowed to have those again. ABV: 11 percent.
Imported by Tri-Vin, distributed in the District and Maryland by DMV, in Virginia by Service Distributing: Available in the District at Magruder’s, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at All Saints Liquors in Ellicott City, Apple Greene Wine & Spirits in Dunkirk, Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda, Common Brook Liquors in Owings Mills, Country Spirits in Cascade, Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Harrison’s Wines and Liquors in Easton, Hops & Vines in Odenton, Key Bridge Liquors in Curtis Bay, Liberty Liquors in LaVale, Market Tavern in Sykesville, Pratt Liquor & Convenience in Baltimore, Smitty’s Fine Wine & Spirits in Fallston, Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring, Thirsty’s Wine & Spirits in Oxon Hill, Town Center Market in Riverdale Park, Vintage 414 in Cambridge, Wild Tomato in Cabin John. Available in Virginia at WineStyles and Giorgio’s Family Restaurant in Montclair, the Inn at Vint Hill in Warrenton.
Las Espinas Piquette Frizzante Rosso 2020
Texas High Plains, Texas, $18
Piquette is the “everything old is new again” trend du jour. “The Oxford Companion to Wine” defines piquette as “thin, vinous liquid made by adding water to the grape pomace,” the skins and pulp that are shoveled out of the fermenting bin after the wine is barreled. It was a way to make something from nothing, traditionally given “to slaves and low-paid workers.” This most authoritative tome of wine orthodoxy notes that given the quality of wine today and constant labor shortages, “few employers would dare to offer even the most lowly worker such a drink.” And yet, piquette is now trendy among the natural wine crowd. Think of it as a thin pet-nat, which is already a thin sparkling wine. Sometimes funky and always low-alcohol, piquette appeals to fans of cider and kombucha. Piquette is also a French word, which is never a disadvantage in wine. Las Espinas piquette is made by Kassandra McPherson, daughter of Kim McPherson, a leading winemaker in Texas. She makes a white from roussanne and this fruity red from montepulciano, sangiovese and sagrantino grapes. It’s a tasty aperitif, and a creative mixologist could use this to add some sparkle to a cocktail. ABV: 6.9 percent.
Distributed by Siema: Available online at thenaturalwineshoppe.com and rosecreekwine.com. Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Each Peach Market, Glen’s Garden Market, Little Red Fox, Odd Provisions, Wagshal’s Deli. Available in Maryland at Apple Greene Wine & Spirits and Dunkirk Wine & Spirits in Dunkirk, District East Beer & Wine in Frederick. Available in Virginia at Bombolini Pasta, Ellwood Thompson’s Natural Market and Vine Wine Club in Richmond; Department of Beer and Wine in Alexandria; Market Street Wineshop in Charlottesville.
Availability information is based on distributor records. Wines might not be in stock at every listed store and might be sold at additional stores. Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly described the importer and distribution network for the Clara C Feminine Bio Fiori di Prosecco. It is imported and distributed in the District and Virginia by Banville, distributed in Maryland by Artisans & Vines. This version has been corrected.
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