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waters on wine

A recent report from Wine Intelligence shows an increasing trend of serving bubbly as part of informal occasions in Canada, the United States and United Kingdom.Handout

The pop of a bottle of sparkling wine is no longer exclusive to festive events including holidays.

The continuing success of affordably priced Proseccos and cavas has helped turned sparkling wine into an everyday option, but there’s also been an increase in the enjoyment of more expensive selections with casual meals and nights at home. Despite limits on dining out and larger gatherings over the past two years, Canadian consumers maintained their connection with sparkling wine.

A recent report from Wine Intelligence shows an increasing trend of serving bubbly as part of informal occasions in Canada, the United States and United Kingdom.

While sparkling wine still isn’t the wine of choice, interest continues to intensify. Anyone who enjoys a glass of bubbly in the coming weeks, whether it’s one of this week’s recommendations or not, should remember it wasn’t the date on the calendar or a sense of occasion that made that fizzy wine appealing. It was the wine itself. You don’t need to wait for another special occasion to relive that experience.

Blomidon Cuvée L’Acadie Brut NV (Canada)

SCORE: 90 PRICE: $34.99

Located in the Annapolis Valley, Blomidon produces a wide selection of wines with particular focus on sparkling wines. This Cuvée L’Acadie Brut sparkling wine is a terrific introduction to the energetic style of the wines from the estate. Produced with L’Acadie Blanc, this blends wines from different vintages to make a refreshing bubbly that offers bright citrus and floral notes with bread and biscuit notes. It’s a dry and focused sparkling wine that’s best enjoyed with food. Drink now to 2023. Available in Nova Scotia for $34.99, $35 direct through blomidonwine.ca, $40 in Ontario via vintagesshoponline.com.

Blu Giovello Prosecco (Italy)

SCORE: 86 PRICE: $16.05

This popular Prosecco in its distinctive blue bottle is made in a crowd-pleasing style, with ripe yellow apple, pear and lemon flavours balanced by bright acidity. A light and basic sparkling wine style that works well as a base for mimosas or other sparkling cocktails. Available in Ontario at the above price ($14.05 until Jan. 2, 2022), various prices in Alberta, $21.99 in Saskatchewan, $18.49 in Nova Scotia.

Foss Marai Extra Dry (Italy)

SCORE: 89 PRICE: $19.95

The refreshing character of this enjoyable Prosecco makes it easy to appreciate. Extra dry denotes a sweeter style of Prosecco, but nicely calibrated acidity and structure adds a crisp nature to this flavourful and frothy wine. Drink now. Available in Ontario and Quebec at the above price.

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Graham Beck Brut Sparkling (South Africa)

SCORE: 91 PRICE: $22.95

Graham Beck winemaker Pieter Ferreira’s nickname is Bubbles, which gives you an indication of his passion for sparkling wine. Served to celebrate the inauguration of Nelson Mandela and political victories by Barack Obama, this traditional blend of chardonnay and pinot noir continues to be the most popular sparkling wine from South Africa. Its mix of toasty and fruity flavours make for an enjoyable sparkling wine that delivers real value for money. Drink now to 2023. Available in Ontario at the above price, $19.99 in Nova Scotia.

Huff Estates Cuvée Peter F. Huff 2017 (Canada)

SCORE: 90 PRICE: $40

Established in 2004, Huff Estates is one of the pioneering wineries that helped build the reputation for wine made in Ontario’s Prince Edward County. Made with chardonnay grown in estate-owned vineyards, Cuvée Peter F. Huff is the winery’s top sparkling wine each year. An elegant vintage dated bubbly, this offers a pleasing mix of the tangy citrus character common to chardonnay grown in Prince Edward County with appetizing creamy and toasty notes from fermentation and aging in the bottle. Its crisp and refreshing style makes for terrific aperitif or partner for sushi, creamy or salty cheeses or a wide assortment of canapes. Drink now to 2024. Available direct through huffestates.com.

Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Brut Rosé Champagne (France)

SCORE: 93 PRICE: $102.95

One of the bestselling rosé Champagnes in the world, Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Brut Rosé makes the most of its attractive strawberries and cream character. The effervescence and vibrant acidity add brightness to this stylish sparkling wine, which works equally well as an aperitif or companion to a meal. Drink now to 2024. Available in Ontario at the above price, $105.99 in British Columbia, various prices in Alberta, $102.75 in Quebec.

Mumm Grand Cordon Brut Champagne (France)

SCORE: 90 PRICE: $69.95

It’s great to see continuing quality improvements at Mumm continue since the arrival of Chef du Cave Laurent Fresnet, who joined the champagne house in 2020. Made in a classic style, this rich and refreshing sparkling wine offers tangy citrus and apple flavours that gain depth from honey and spice notes that carry to a mouth-watering finish. Drink now to 2024. Available in Ontario at the above price, $69.99 in British Columbia ($65.99 until Jan. 1, 2022), various prices in Alberta, $66.99 in Manitoba, $64.75 in Quebec, $67.99 in Nova Scotia, $63.99 in Prince Edward Island, $69.09 in Newfoundland.

Summerhill Pyramid Winery Cipes Brut NV (Canada)

SCORE: 90 PRICE: $28.99

Established by the Cipes family in 1991, Summerhill is Canada’s largest organic winery, with a particular interest in sparkling wine. First produced in 1992, Cipes Brut has become a classic label for the Okanagan Valley. Offering a mix of zesty and rich aromas and flavours, this refreshing blend of riesling, pinot blanc and chardonnay gains interest from honey and toast notes that come from fermentation and aging in bottle. Its vibrant style makes for a terrific aperitif or sparkling wine to enjoy with a meal. Drink now. Available in British Columbia at the above price ($25.99 until Jan. 1, 2022), $29 direct from summerhill.bc.ca, various prices in Alberta.

Vilarnau Barcelona Reserva Brut Cava (Spain)

SCORE: 88 PRICE: $15.95

This affordable cava is produced with a mix of organically grown, indigenous grape varieties to produce a fresh and intense sparkling wine. Its crisp character is nicely balanced by attractive apple and melon notes. Drink now to 2023. Available in Ontario.

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