The Fourth of July is here and we are feeling patriotic. It’s America’s birthday, after all, and we know that celebrations are more fun when you pop open a few bottles. Whether you are grilling up some hot dogs, hitting the beach or taking in a spectacular fireworks display, these budget-friendly, all-American sparklers are your go-to bottles this Fourth. Below, our tasting panel weighed in on their favorite pours, with hand-selected pairings for each bottle.
Rooster Hill NV Bubbly Bantam Sparkling (Finger Lakes); $15, 89 points. Bantam Bubbly is a delightfully fun, fizzy blend of often-ignored hybrid grapes (Vidal Blanc, Seyval Blanc and Cayuga White). Just a touch sweet, as if glazed with honey and sugar cookie crumbles, it offers loads of sweet-tart lemon and lime flavors. Delicate effervescence and refreshing acidity make it irresistibly gulpable.
Pair with: Coconut Almond Macaroons
Ancestrale 2016 Pet Nat Method Ancestral Bassi Vineyard Pinot Noir (San Luis Obispo County); $25, 92 points. Mike Sinor’s pet-nat experiment scored big in 2016. This pink sparkler offers complex yeasty bread, crushed rock and turned clay aromas. Zingy and racy, it grabs hold of the palate. It’s all about fascinating texture and refreshing acidity.
Pair with: Charred Cauliflower Salad
Korbel NV Brut Sparkling (California); $14, 88 points. Earthy and doughy aromas lead to subtle, crisp apple and bright lemon flavors in this very good, go-to wine that has lasting fine-beaded bubbles. It tastes dry and refreshing and feels crisp and lively on the palate.
Pair with: North Carolina Pulled Pork
14 Hands NV Brut Méthode Champenoise Sparkling (Columbia Valley); $15, 87 points. Light aromas of lemon, apple, pineapple, toast and spice lead to just off-dry flavors. It drinks a little sweet for a brut but still delivers enjoyment—a straightforward crowd pleaser.
Pair with: Sweet Corn with White Miso
Season 2015 Transparency Sparkling (Southern Oregon); $18, 88 points. This is labeled as table wine, but given its frizzante with a blend of 48% Müller-Thurgau, 35% Muscat and 17% Riesling, it bears a close resemblance to Asti Spumante. It’s off dry, but not too sweet, and has appealing flavors of lemon meringue, vanilla cream and a touch of spice.
Pair with: Crab Cakes
Lundeen NV Brut Blanc de Noirs Sparkling (Willamette Valley); $29, 91 points. Made in the traditional method, this is a blend of base wines from the 2011 and 2014 vintages. The freshness of the recent vintage is annotated with mildly mature flavors from the earlier one, creating a delightful wine with rich flavors of lemon, lime, pink grapefruit and a touch of honey. The posh fruit says New World, but the overall elegance nods gracefully in the direction of France. Editor’s Choice.
Pair with: Smoked Salmon Mousse
Gloria Ferrer NV Sonoma Brut Sparkling (Sonoma County) $22, 90 points. Creamy, lush and somewhat robust, this dry sparkler offers a thick mousse and touch of richness in its mix of nutty bread dough, green apple, pear and lime.
Pair with: Roasted Chicken
Block Wines NV Farmhouse Block Marchant Vineyard Extra Brut Rosé Pinot Noir (Columbia Valley); $25, 89 points. This pale-salmon sparkler brings aromas of citrus, strawberry and baked bread. The flavors are dry and lively, with tart acidity stretching out the finish.
Pair with: Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri
Domaine Ste. Michelle NV Luxe Brut Méthode Champenoise Chardonnay (Columbia Valley); $20, 88 points. Toasty aromas mix with notes of freshly shucked corn and biscuit. The flavors are spritzy and lively, with berry flavors on the finish.
Pair with: Salad With Old Bay Dressing
Mumm Napa NV Brut Prestige Sparkling (Napa County); $22, 91 points. The winery’s signature sparkler, this blend of equal parts Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with touches of Pinot Gris and Pinot Meunier, dazzles in rounded oak and a soft texture marked by grapefruit zest and fresh nectarine. Crisp and vibrant, it becomes richer on the finish, showing a spark of honey-baked brioche.
Pair with: Smoked Trout Dip