Special edition – holiday sparkling wines (WVN 252)

As the holidays approach we think of sparkling wines as a way to make special the celebratory occasions we share with family and friends.  There are several great value sparklers currently available at the LCBO and I highlight a small handful below that get the TWR nod. None will break the bank and all will be delightful.

All the wines I list will be found in the Vintages section except for the Victoire which is on the LCBO General List.

France, Champagne – AOC Champagne 1er Cru Marc Hébrart Brut Blanc de Blancs NV

Hébrart is a récoltant-manipulant operation which means this family makes wine from fruit it grows on its own vines. The house is known for approachable wines of some intensity and this wine follows that style. It has brilliant acid, brioche on nose and palate, firm minerals and lime, green apple and some toasted almond notes. The finish is long with lingering citrus.

Extra dry, sparkling wine – $48.95 per bottle

France, Champagne – AOC Champagne Gardet Cuvée Saint Flavy Brut Tradition NV

I reviewed this wine in August 2016 (WVN 243) and it is now back for the holidays. This may the value star of this small group of wines.  It is precise, fruit-forward and refreshing. The character is youthful with wonderful citrus aromas and flavours, modest biscuit notes and a flinty minerality of the mid palate. If you didn’t stock up in the summer you have another chance.  Run, don’t walk… now! This wine will move quickly.

Extra dry, sparking wine – $42.95 per bottle

Italy, Lombardy – DOCG Franciacorta Ca’ del Bosco Cuvée Prestige Brut NV

Consider Franciacorta a perfect substitute for Champagne when we want something different but with the character of a high quality traditional method sparking wine. It seems we see this wine once a year at this time and it is worth stocking up on… This one is intense and refined with fresh aromas of citrus, brioche, hazelnut, followed by flavours of yellow apple, lemon, brioche and peach.  The acid is crisp and the mousse is creamy.  The finish is long and clean.  This will please your guests, most of whom will find Franciacorta to be a new experience.

Extra dry, sparkling wine – $39.95 per bottle

France, Champagne – AOC Champagne Victoire Brut Prestige NV

This is a straightforward entry-level Champagne which is very fine value with lots of citrus and green apple, modest biscuit on the nose and palate and precise, crisp acid.  The finish is long and clean.  This wine is lighter in body than those listed above and thus would be a perfect aperitif wine.

Extra dry, sparkling wine – $39.80 per bottle

This will be the last posting from the desk of TWR for 2016.

I wish all readers a happy Christmas season and for those don’t celebrate Christmas all best wishes for a restful end of the year.

May 2017 bring health, happiness, fulfilment and prosperity to all.

à bientôt…

Copyright© W. John Switzer 2003 – 2016.


Author: John Switzer

I am wine writer, educator and tour guide. From 2005 to June 2014 I published a bi-weekly newsletter, the Winesights Vintages Newsletter (WVN). This Newsletter was closed in July 2014 when the Government of Canada put in place the onerous administrative requirements of Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation. The legacy of WVN continues on this blog spot where I post wine-related articles as well as reviews of a small selection of best-value wines from each bi-weekly LCBO Vintages release. I hold the WSET Diploma, I am a WSET Certified Educator, I teach in the WSET program at the Independent Wine Education Guild in Toronto where I am the past Director of the WSET Diploma program. Since 2010 I have been a judge at Decanter World Wine Awards on the Rhône panel and I am a member of the Society of Wine Educators.

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