Most people think of champagne when they think of sparkling wines, and champagne toasts are included in every celebration from weddings to christenings to New Year’s Eve. However, if you are interested in investigating sparkling red wines, there are plenty of fine wines for you to choose from. Sparkling red wines come from Italy, France, Australia, the United States, and other countries. For more information on the sparkling red wines of different countries, as well as some recommended wines, see below. (Most of these sparkling red wines, or sparklers, can be purchased for $15 or less.)
Sparkling red wines are made the same way champagne is, but instead of using Chardonnay or Pinot as the base, red wines are used instead. Sparkling red wines tend to be less fizzy than champagnes, which is why some people prefer them to the white sparklers. Red sparkling wines are versatile when it comes to food pairings, too; try them with seafood, barbecue, chicken and even pizza!
California has been making sparkling wines since 1892. This state produces excellent champagne-type wines (the name Champagne can only be used by wines from the Champagne region of France), but don’t discount their sparkling reds. Try Domaine Carneros Brut 2003 – it has incredible pear and spice aromas, followed by flavors of vanilla and berry. You’ll recognize both the Pinot Noir and the Chardonnay in this sparkling red wine. Another great California wine to try is Mumm Napa Blanc de Blanc NV – a tangy, fruity wine with aromas that include strawberry and green apple, and flavors of lemon and lime. These wines pair especially well with seafood, and can hold their own against pork dishes, too.
Most people think champagne when they think France, but the French do sparkling reds just as well. Try the Louis Bouillot Cremant de Bourgogne Brut Rose Perle d’Aurore. This Pinot Noir sparkling red has a lovely floral bouquet, and flavors of fruit that include strawberries and pears. You’ll also enjoy Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace Brut Rose NV, made from Pinot Blanc grapes, with flavors of cherry, strawberry and stone fruits. These French wines make the perfect aperitif.
Italy and wine are practically synonymous, with many incredible red wines being produced in its various wine regions. But there are some excellent sparkling red wines from Italy, especially the cooler areas of Northern Italy, that you should take the time to taste. Try Prosecco di Valdobbiadene NV – with citrus aromas and flavors of peaches and pairs, you’ll enjoy this sparkling red wine. Another good example of these wines is the Braida Brachetto d’Acqui 2007, a crisp, fruity wine with flavors that include caramel. Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco di Grasparossa di Castelvetro Centenario is another fine choice – this lovely sparkling red wine is sweet without being too sweet, with just a touch of fizziness and a lovely rich, pink froth. Serve any of these Italian sparkling red wines with your favorite cheeses or a red sauce dish.
Australia is well known for its Sparkling Shiraz, although they also produce sparklers from Merlot, Pinot Noir and even Malbec. Australian sparkling red wine will amaze you with its variations in texture and taste, sparklers that can be sweet or dry or somewhere in between. Try The Black Chook Sparkling Shiraz NV, a gorgeous wine with strawberry aromas and sweet berry flavors with a touch of oak. This is perfect for serving with sushi or barbecue! You also might enjoy Bleasdale ‘The Red Brute’ Sparkling Shiraz NV, which has aromas of blueberry and flavors of currant and melon.
So put down that champagne and give these wines a try!