For a toast, as a gift, with a celebratory feast or even mixed in a cocktail, these sparkling wines may be more obscure than Champagne, but they’ll still add a touch of luxury to almost any bash.
Cremant Bourgogne Philippe Marquis
What: Buttery, round and tasting of apples, this Champagne method sparkling wine from Burgundy boasts fine bubbles and is made from 100 percent Chardonnay grapes. The bottle is pretty classy looking too (green and gold with a fancy French name scrawled in cursive script across the label) and at first glance could pass for a pricey Champagne.
Why: This good-looking bottle would work great as a gift. Bring it along for your hosts and have them save it for after dinner. Though dry, because the wine is buttery, it makes it a smart pairing with dessert, especially rich pastry.
$32 from Le Benaton
Cremant d’ Alsace Buecher
What: Crisp and acidic, this wine from Alsace is made from pinot blanc, Riesling, tokay and pinot gris. Comes in a classic-style bottle with a “prestige” label—looks expensive.
Why: For a pre-dinner toast. The bottle’s classy and festive, and the wine gets the appetite going with its lemony acidity.
$45 from Le Benaton
Finca Flichman Extra Brut
What: A salmon-hued vino (though you won’t know it from the dark bottle) made from Chardonnay and Malbec from a dry rocky vineyard off the Mendoza River. It’s got more body than the average sparkling wine and though it’s produced by Charmat method, the bubbles are not too aggressive.
Why: It’s light and fresh but—because of the Malbec—has enough body to stand up to food. Have it with high-end seasonal offerings like lobster, oysters and caviar.
$32.10 from Le Vigne Wines
Langford Blanc de Blanc
What: Made from hand-harvested Chardonnay grapes, this New Zealand sparkling wine boasts fine bubbles and a creamy, mousse-like texture.
Why: Appropriate for a pre-dinner tipple or to accompany seafood and white meat, this little number is a real crowd pleaser. Phoenix Wines managing director Manfred Tan says, “The wine’s pure flavor makes it easy to appreciate and I find it’s always a hit when I host corporate tastings.”
$47 from Phoenix Wines
Sumarroca Brut Rosado Cava
What: Rosé phobics might be scared off by this cherry pink cava which comes in a clear bottle. Thankfully, it isn’t as sweet as it looks. Made from pinot noir and Garnacha, it’s also got enough flavor to stand up to food.
Why: It’s a pretty pink tipple that doesn’t taste like a sugary cliché from the ’80s. Pick it up for a romantic get-together.
$35 from Wines Online
What: This extra dry Prosecco comes in a cool dark bottle with a great big “X” on the front: très edgy. Tastewise, it’s got plenty to offer—fine bubbles, a bright green apple-like flavor—and would make a cleansing pairing with salty antipasti (think briny anchovies and sardines).
Why: The modern-looking bottle’s a perfect fit if you’re afraid of looking stuffy (those cremants can look pretty dated). It’s also clean-tasting enough to go with small bites or even work in a good Bellini.
$48 from TOQUE, ToTT