BC Bubble – A New Year’s Guide to Local Cheers!

Not that I personally need an excuse to drink bubbly, but if you’re still holding out for a reason, there’s no better one than the holidays. Brunch, canapés, dinner, cheeses or dessert. Morning, noon, evening and beyond. All four seasons and states of mind – there’s a bubble for you. And now, with such a wide array of BC sparkling wines available, you can celebrate – and support – local producers.

Over the holidays I called a few local sommeliers to the tasting table for a dozen BC bubblies. To make your New Year’s festivities merry and bright, we made notes for value, for food-friendliness, and of course, for taste. Our number one pick was unanimous – after that, we started to splinter. Here’s your guide to Cheers!


Top Bubble – our unanimous #1 pick

Blue Mountain Vineyard

Gold Label Brut

Okanagan Falls

Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris

12.5% alcohol

$24 – 27


This was by far the favourite of our flight of fancy. Traditional method bubble, with 24 months on the lees before disgorgement, followed by an additional 9 months of resting before release, this is a complex, evolved and simply delicious wine. And at $24 this was at the low end of the price range too – incredible value! Very fine bubbles with an intense mineral and cereal nose. Lively acid, with apple, mineral bready, citrus and leesy notes and a very lengthy finish. This has balance and finesse in spades. Did I mention the value? Great find here! Drink with anything, liberally.


The Contenders – these were ranked among the favourites of the group

Starling Lane Winery

Celebration Brut NV

Saanich Peninsula

Pinot Noir, Chardonnay

10.8% alcohol

$28 – 32


Our top pick from the Wine Islands, Starling Lane’s Celebration is aptly named. Light gold in hue with sweet pear, Spartan apple and leesy notes and a round, creamy mouthfeel. Pair with lighter pork dishes.


Gray Monk Estate Winery

Odyssey White Brut 2007


Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc

12.1% alcohol



We really noticed, and enjoyed, the Riesling in the mix here – providing more petrol, mineral and limey complexity to this medium bodied bubble. One taster likened it to Sun Ripe Apple Lime Juice – in a positive way. Pair with Asian-inspired fare.


Sumac Ridge Estate Winery

Steller’s Jay Brut 2006


Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay

13% alcohol



We were happy to see Steller’s Jay land in the top group. Pleased because this wine has been held up as BC’s benchmark bubble for a long time, and it’s great to see that the winery is not resting on their laurels. Aged en triage (on the lees) for 3 years, this has a round and creamy mouthfeel, with apple, biscuit, green and red apple and softer acid. Pair with poultry dishes.


See Ya Later Ranch


Okanagan Falls

13.5% alcohol

$23 – 26


This was another stellar value. Every year I taste this wine it seems to get better and better. Fresh citrus, herbal notes and orchard fruit paired with great mouthfeel and bubble quality. Lingering crisp red apple finish. Pair with prawns, shrimp or scallops.


Sperling Vineyards

Sper…itz 2009


Perle of Csaba, Bacchus, Riesling

$13-16 for 375ml

7.4% alcohol


Hello brunch! Light, frothy mousse, perfumed roses, pink grapefruit and stony minerality. Chill it down and lap it up – this is low alcohol, moderate acid deliciousness. Pair with fruit salad.


The bubble bunch – a few more BC sparkling wines to know about

Neck of the Woods Winery

Backyard Vineyards Blanc de Noir 2007


Pinot Noir

12.8% alcohol

$25 at winery only


This is the 2nd sparkling wine from this Langley winery, and the first vintage bubble. A creamy and mouth filling sparkler with red apple and mineral notes. Winemaker Tom DiBello (ex-CedarCreek) joined this winery in 2010 as a consultant.


Rocky Creek Winery

Katherine’s Sparkle Brut 2008

Cowichan Valley

Ortega, Gewürztraminer, Bacchus

11.5% alcohol

$28 – 32


Using Vancouver Island’s cooler climate to their advantage, Rocky Creek started making sparkling wines last year. Sweet lime, cider apples and floral notes plus high acidity.


Salt Spring Vineyards

Karma 2007

Salt Spring Island

Pinot Noir, Chardonnay

12% alcohol

$35 – 40


This was the priciest wine in the lineup. Red and yellow apple, pear and cranberry notes, with searing citrus acidity and a cider finish.


Zanatta Winery

Glenora Fantasia Brut

Cowichan Valley


11% alcohol



Made from the obscure hybrid Cayuga grape, this has distinctive and assertive herbal notes plus crisp, limey acid.


Summerhill Pyramid Winery

Cipes Rose


Pinot Noir

12% alcohol

$30 – 34


Deep salmon/raspberry in hue, with notes of sweet strawberry, Kir, jammy currants and chokecherry.


Bonus Bubble – the bubble that was supposed to be, but wasn’t, but was still incredible

Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate

Proprietor’s Grand Reserve Sparkling Riesling Icewine 2005



9% alcohol

$70-80 for 375ml


This was a bonus, and the last wine we tasted, plumbed from the depths of my cellar. A rarity, this sparkling icewine was made in the Method Cuvee Close, meaning the 2nd fermentation (responsible for creating the bubbles) takes place in a tank, rather than in each individual bottle. Unfortunately, by the time we opened this, there was no effervescence left – the wine was completely flat. So if you happen to have some older bottles of sparkling icewine sitting around, now’s the time to pop that cork! The wine itself was still stunningly delicious, with rich honey, unctuous baked pear and apricot, and ripe orange and mango flavours. Very long honeycomb finish, and balanced acidity throughout to match the astronomical sugar levels here. Drink on its own – no pairing required.


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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