All that sparkles is not Champagne: Bubbles – Methods & Recommendations

It’s true that Champagne is THE gold standard of sparkling wines, but it’s not necessary to fill your flute with gold, and pay that price, to enjoy a spectacular sparkling wine. Many other places around the world, including our BC backyard, craft high quality sparkling wines. We do share the 49th parallel with the Champagne region, after all. The painstaking traditional method of production is mandated by law not only for Champagne, but for numerous other bubbles, including Spanish Cava, French Crémant and Italian Franciacorta. Naturally, the grapes, soils and climate affect the final wine dramatically, no matter the procedure. Other, less labour intensive methods of production yield different results in the glass, and at lower prices.

There are four main methods of sparkling wine production:

Carbonation: simple injection of CO2, like soft drinks.

Tank: a.k.a. Charmat or Cuve Close. Used for Prosecco and Asti, the wine undergoes a secondary fermentation in bulk tanks, and is bottled under pressure.

Transfer: Secondary fermentation in the bottle for interaction with lees, then transferred to tank, filtered and then rebottled. Compromise between Tank & Traditional.

Traditional Method: Most complex and lengthy, where secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle, wine is aged on the lees, and then clarified slowly by remuage/riddling, moving the spent yeast into the neck of the bottle. The yeast is then disgorged, the wine topped up with dosage and recorked before resting for several months (or years) before sale.

Whichever time of day, day of the week, food pairing or occasion (special or not), there’s a sparkling wine to match. Here are 6 interesting and unique sparklers from around the world that are definitely worth filling your flute with. Cheers!



Bella Wines
Oliver West Side Chardonnay 2012
Okanagan Valley, BC
*$24-27   12.6%

Try pouring West Side Chardonnay next to East Side Chardonnay and you’ll see what a big difference 13km can make. Here grapes at higher elevation Secrest Mountain vineyard have yielded a crisp, green apple and mineral sharp sparkler, with light earthy, struck stone notes, and a bitter grapefruit pith finish. The wine is brut natural (no dosage) so acidity is tendered only by the sunbright fruit and light lees work.


torres, santa_digna, rose, estelado, 75clINNOVATIVE

Miguel Torres Chile
Santa Digna Estelado Rosé
Central Valley, Chile
$20-23  12%

What’s old is new again, in this case, Chile’s indigenous, ancient and maligned Pais grape variety, here receiving much investment and care from the Torres family. Pink roses, assertive thorniness, young strawberries, bitter melon, hyacinth, bone dry, with a creamy mousse.



Tasmania Premium Cuvee
Tasmania, Australia
*30-34  12%

Premium sparkling wine from Tazzie? You bet! This cool climate island is ideal for sparkling wine. Chardonnay based, this “method Tasmanoise” opens with notes of bready lees and green apple and into a ripe and creamy palate full of juicy lime, lime blossom, greengage and kicky lemon kick on the finish.



Marca Oro Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG
Verona, Veneto, Italy
$21-24  11%

If you’ve shunned Prosecco for being too ‘simple’, allow me to make introductions to Valdo. Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG denotes the peak of the Prosecco pyramid. Here, prosecco is lightly floral, peach scented and aromatic, with citrus acidity lifting fruit loops and pear flavours over the smooth, soft palate.



Lini 910
Labrusca Rosso Secco NV
DOP Lambrusco Reggiano, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
$20-23  11%

Dry Lambrusco is gaining popularity, and with excellent reason: interesting red berry depth and tannin to tackle foods plus fresh and taut acidity to carry them. And bubbles! Here notes of plum, blueberry and cherry compote, juicy and lively in the mouth, reigned by cherry pit/chalky tannins.


terra andinaFUN

Terra Andina
Sparkling Moscato
$16-19  7.5%

What else do you expect but FUN from a Brazilian Moscato? C’mon! Floral and frothy, with a mid-sweet grapey pear, sweet lime, pink grapefruit and peach blossom perfume. Pair with beach volleyball or the World Cup.

 Photo of Bella Wines in the Snow is by Jeannette Montgomery

DRINKing Guide: How to use our purchasing information:
*Asterisks denote wines that are only available at the winery or select private liquor stores. All other wines are available through BC Liquor Stores.

Written By:

Treve Ring is a wine writer, editor, judge, consultant and certified sommelier, and has been with EAT Magazine for over a decade.\r\n\r\nIn addition to her work with EAT, she is a Wine Critic and National Judge for ...

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