Editors' Favorite Value Wines – Sparkling

89 Mont Marçal 2001 Brut Reserva (Cava); $12. This is top-notch value cava, perfectly round, solid and fruity. Pear, apple and pastry aromas carry the nose while orange, lemon, green herb and white pepper flavors are defined and attractive. Rarely does a sparkler at this price register so high on the quality meter, but the structure and totality of this Macabeo-Parellada-Xarello blend is nothing if not commendable. Mont Marçal ranks as a perennial value leader. —M.S.

89 Villa Sandi NV Extra Dry Prosecco di Valdobbiadene; $12. This is a perky wine: Crisp and snappy with bursting citrus notes including lemon drop, pink grapefruit and candied orange peel backed by delicate floral and jasmine aromas. Chalky, mineral notes round off a gorgeous nose. —M.L.

88 Moletto NV Prosecco (Marca Trevigiana); $8. Moletto is a dynamic, family-run company in the province of Treviso. I love this pale-gold sparkler with lively pearling, creamy mousse and tight acidity in the mouth. It has lemon-lime, grassy and floral notes and some bitter almond skin but it also has something that resembles the yellow center of a daisy or a dandelion, giving it distinct personality. —M.L.

87 Mumm Napa NV Cuvée M (Napa Valley); $18. With a slightly sweet finish set off by high natural acidity, this wine is fruity but not cloying. Primarily Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with smaller amounts of Pinots Meunier and Gris, it has rich cherry cream, citrus rind, peach and vanilla flavors, with a clean, yeasty finish. Mumm has set the standard for nonvintage bruts such as this. Try with puff-pastry hors d’oeuvres. —S.H.

87 Segura Viudas NV Aria Brut Rosé (Cava); $12. Plump and nice, with watermelon aromas that match the wine’s watermelon hue. Made from Pinot Noir, Aria carries a mild hint of sweetness along with drier berry and peach-pit flavors. And on the finish you get a clear smack of Pinot-driven cherry skin to offset its richness. Perfect for brunch, as an accompaniment to a mushroom-and-cheese omelet, while that noted touch of sweetness gives it the versatility to go with dessert. —M.S.

86 Lindauer NV Brut (New Zealand); $10. A multiregion blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir, this wine gives bargain hunters a genuine Champagne-style blend instead of the alternate grape varieties (and different flavors) contained in Cava or Prosecco. Toast and lime aromas lead the way, followed by a slightly round midpalate and crisp finish. You could do worse with some Champagne bottlings. —J.C.

86 Sieur d’Arques NV Toques et Clochers (Crémant de Limoux); $15. The locals in Limoux say they created the method of secondary fermentation of a wine in bottle even before the guys up in Champagne. Maybe, but this blend of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Mauzac is deliciously easy and fresh, and cheaper than any Champagne. Flavors of apples and cream dominate a fine celebratory apéritif wine, which comes from the top cooperative of the region. —R.V.

85 Domaine Ste. Michelle NV Blanc de Noirs (Columbia Valley); $12. This is one of the Ste. Michelle Estates brands, and the only producer of inexpensive sparkling wines in the region. They make four at the $12 price point: a blanc de blancs, a brut, a blanc de noirs and an extra dry. All are nonvintage and 100% méthode champenoise. The blanc de noirs is consistently the best of the lineup. This is a pretty, pale copper; lightly Pinot-scented, and a good quaffer that really works well with turkey. —P.G.

85 Korbel NV Brut Rosé (California); $10. In any given year, Korbel wins the bubbly "value" award almost by default. No one else in California has the vineyard acreage and decades of experience to consistently produce low-priced, well-made sparkling wines. This blush bottling, made with Pinot Noir, Chenin Blanc and French Columbard, is dry and crisp, with subtle strawberry and yeast flavors. Try with roast chicken or sushi. —S.H.

84 Banrock Station NV Sparkling Chardonnay (South Eastern Australia); $10. Not a crisp, dry sparkler—this one’s more in the soft-and-moussey camp. It has sweetish, flower and dust aromas, and the dustiness continues through the peachy, floral-laced palate. Perfect for a casual Sunday brunch. —D.T.

Red Wines under $15

White Wines under $15

Rosé Wines under $15

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Published on November 15, 2005
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Dylan Garret

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