I’m enjoying a bottle of the honeyed, beeswax-y 2000 Huet Vouvray Pétillant, which is just about as perfectly slurpable a beverage as one could possibly imagine. I opened it because I recently drank a bottle of 2002 that I found astounding, with a perfect balance of ripe, summer fruit aromas, incisive acidity and scintillating chalkiness. It’s the sort of wine you could imagine aging gracefully for decades. While the two wines definitely show a familial resemblance, the comparison between the vintages is quite intriguing: where the 2002 is sleek and knife-like in its racy intensity, the 2000 feels bold and ample, with a mouthfilling presence and generous depth. I love them both.
Huet makes one of my favorite sparklers outside of Champagne—it’s a magical, intensely expressive wine, and ridiculously inexpensive for the quality. In the Loire, I also like the Montlouis Brut of François Chidaine, the Vouvray Pétillant L’Ancestrale of Vincent Carême and the Bulles by Jean-François Mérieau, all of which have very distinct personalities. I love the sparkling wines of Bründlmayer and Schloss Gobelsburg in Austria, which I think are two of the very best anywhere outside of Champagne (and better than many wines in Champagne as well). In the United States, Roederer Estate is my favorite sparkling wine, and when I’m in Catalunya I always look for the wines of Gramona. Georg Breuer has impressed me from Germany, a country which I don’t find very impressive when it comes to sparklers, although I’ll admit that I have a definite weakness for Maximin Grünhäuser Sekt (as I do for anything from that outstanding estate).
That’s only the tip of the iceberg, of course, and it seems that one can find good sparkling wines in every corner of the wine world. What are some of your favorites?