Bubbly on a Budget by Mattie Jackson of Salt & Vine
Spring has finally arrived and with the weather warming up nothing tastes better than a crisp, refreshing glass of champagne! In the spirit of the season Mattie Jackson of Salt & Vine has put together a list of her top 5 sparkling recommendations under $35 for champagne lovers on a budget.
Domaine de la Rouletiere ‘Gilet’ Crémant NV
Vouvray, France, $19.99
From the small town of Vouvray in France’s chilly Loire Valley comes a range of enigmatic, mineral driven white wines. My favorites are made from Vouvray’s flagship variety, Chenin Blanc — a plump, creamy, yet intriguingly aromatic grape. Though traditional sparkling wines are made with more neutrally flavored grapes (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier), the floral, peachy, playful notes of Chenin Blanc in crémant (sparkling) form can bring a sense of celebration and revelry to day to day drinking. Drink if you like Laurent Perrier Brut NV.
Cruzat Reserve Extra Brut Sparkling NV
75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonay
Valle de Uco, Argentina $22.99
An international forerunner for premium sparkling wine in South America, Bodega Cruzat has taken advantage of some of Mendoza’s highest elevation vineyard sites in the Valle de Uco, planting classic Champagne varieties, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. They boast extended aging sur lie (meaning in contact with the yeast) for at least 18 months then age the wine further in bottle for 24 additional months to ensure the bready richness of the wine comes together in complete harmony. Very elegant at an under $25 price point. Drink if you love Taittinger ‘La Francaise’ Brut NV.
Juve & Camps ‘Essential’ Reserva Cava NV
Catalonia, Spain, $19.99
This outside the box single varietal sparkling comes from one of the oldest Cava houses in Spain, Juve & Camps. You’ll see J&C bubbles poured everywhere from neighborhood bars in Barcelona to crystal flutes at the royal palace. Cava, the domestic sparkling pride of Spain, is made in the traditional champagne method, but typically uses a blend of local grape varieties, Xarello, Macabeo, Parellada. In their ‘Essential’ bottling, they isolate Xarello to yield a savory, dusty style sparkler. Drink if you love Brut Nature or Zero Dosage Champagnes.
SoloUva Franciacorta Brut NV
Lombardy, Italy, $32.99
Perhaps the closest to a true Champagne in terms of overall character and ageability, SoloUva prides itself on natural farming practices and 'metodo classico’ style winemaking that shows on pitch with some of France’s best sparklers. Made from 100% Chardonnay, aged in bottle for 18mo to soak up all the beautifully savory bready flavors that Champagne lovers long for, this bottle beats out the big Champagne houses by at least $15 a bottle and shows a delicious dark horse alongside them. Drink if you love Bollinger Special Cuvee NV.
Anton Ohlig 50°N Rosé Sekt NV
Pinot Noir, Dornfelder, Portugieser
No sparkling lineup is complete without a delicate bubbly rosé. This soft, playful pink sparkler from Germany gives ode to its extremely northerly latitude — 50°N — where grapes are especially suited for sparkling wines. The leading character is a champenois classic, Pinot Noir, alongside two local varieties, Dornfelder and Portugieser. It goes by its German alias, “sekt,” which is their term for fresh, light, tank method sparkling. Rosé also pairs beautifully with garlicy seafood dishes throughout Spring & Summer. Drink if you love Prosecco.--Mattie Jackson
A Nashville native, Mattie got her taste for the grape while studying abroad in Greece and traveling to Tuscany to visit century old classic wineries. After returning to the U.S. and studying under her mentor in Austin, she completed the CSW & Certified Sommelier before moving to Napa to intern with Joseph Phelps Vineyards where she was the only female on the cellar crew for their 2013 harvest. Mattie is now the proud owner of new Nashville hot spot SALT & VINE which includes a boutique bottle shop carrying incredible yet affordable labels to fit every taste.