Wine Wednesday: Fizz the Season!

by Robin Barr Sussman on December 27, 2023 in Food+Drink,

From Champagne, France, to California, Texas, Italy and New Zealand, we’ve rounded up tried and true sparklers in all price ranges. Here’s what to uncork from beloved regions and a few novel discoveries for the New Year.


Benovia Blanc de Noir 2018 Sparkling

Ring in the New Year with Benovia Winery’s exquisite blend of chardonnay and pinot noir sparkling wine from its Martaella Estate Vineyard in the Russian River Valley, California. Aromas of lime blossom, red plum and cherry lead to a full palate of ripe apricot and candied lemon flavors with a lingering finish. $60

Billecart-Salmon ‘Exceptions Duo’ Gift Set

The Duo gift set brings together Billecart-Salmon’s coveted Brut Reserve and Cuvee Nicolas Francois, two exceptional Champagnes that epitomize the art of blending. Sourced from the best sites in the Champagne region, the brut reserve is a mélange of pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier. Set off by an eruption of fine bubbles, the elegant Nicolas Francois 2008 is a blend of chardonnay and pinot noir grand crus partially aged in oak casks. Here’s the ultimate hostess gift for New Year’s Eve. $334.99

 Bricoleur Vineyards Flying by the Seat of Our Pants North Coast Brut 

Humorously named but highly regarded, here’s a sparkler that is game for whatever the new year throws our way. Its creamily textured, multilayered flavors of guava and mango segue into a crisp vibrant finish. $50

 Domaine Carneros, Carneros

Of the many lovely tiers to choose in this portfolio, the tongue-tingling dry brut combined with fruit forward Chardonnay and Pinot grapes is best for groups. About $25 at Spec’s, Total Wine & More, Houston Wine Merchant.

 Faire La Fête Cremant de Limoux NV

Up your game with brut crémant, French sparkling wine made the authentic way in Limoux, France, with low sugar residual and one third the price of Champagne. Tangy and crisp, it pairs with almost any food. About $20

Foley Family 2019 Brut, Sta. Rita Hills

Make someone’s New Year by bringing over this vivacious sparkler that opens with aromas of pear, brioche and Golden Delicious apple. Flavors of apple compote, hazelnut and hints of walnut linger on the finish with smooth richness and velvety bubbles. The Foley Family portfolio includes myriad brands including still wines, California sparklers, and Crémant d’Alsace. $65

 Heath Sparkling Wines

It’s hard to choose from the assortment of bubbles at this stunning tasting room in Fredericksburg, Texas. Its original wine, Euphoria, is a brut blend with characteristics of white peach, honeysuckle and citrus zest. Blanc de Blancs 2021 is pure chardonnay with aromas of melon, Granny Smith apple, pear and caramel. Rosé fans should consider Adoration 2020 crafted with pinot noir bubbling over with vibrant red fruit. Besides Heath Sparkling Wine, the Heath family portfolio includes Grape Creek Vineyards, Invention Vineyards and JenBlossom Cellars. $55 range

 La Crema 2018 Saralee’s Vineyard Blanc de Blancs

This rich one hundred percent chardonnay sparkler is made from grapes grown in the Russian River Valley. Anticipate notes of Meyer lemon, lime, hazelnut, and proofing bread dough. $65

 MacRostie Blanc de Blancs 2020 Sonoma Coast

Balanced and so refreshing, this lip-smacking sparkler was created using chardonnay from the famed Sangiacomo Family Kiser Ranch. FYI, blanc de blancs refers to making a white wine from white grapes. The Bubbles & Light set comes with an elegant scented candle in a repurposed MacRostie wine bottle and makes a thoughtful gift. $85

 Martini & Rossi Prosecco

Onward to the village of Prosecco where sun-cracked foothills are lined with Glera grapes. Ripened in the ideal climate, this crisp bubbly has a stimulating fragrance of fresh apple, pear and honey. Cheap and cheerful, so let it flow! About $12

 McBride Sisters Collection NV Hawke’s Bay New Zealand Sparkling Brut Rosé

From the largest Black-owned wine company in America comes this rosé from one of the most exalted fine wine regions in New Zealand. The dry style bubbly dances on your tongue with flavors of cranberry and peach, a hint of toast, and kiss of spice. It earned 91 points from the Wine Enthusiast. $24.99

 Moet & Chandon

This sophisticated Champagne house in France impresses from packaging to flavor. Of the wide variety of styles including the exclusive MC111 ($650 magnum for that VIP or very important party), Imperial Brut is the most approachable at about $35. Moet also makes mini bottles—think party favors to ring in the New Year. Buy it: Spec’s, Total Wine & More, The Austin Wine Merchant, many supermarkets.

 Sojourn Cellars Brut Sparkling Wine

This inaugural release offers aromas of crisp yellow apple, ripe pear and toasty brioche, alongside a luscious palate of lemon, panna cotta, and  soft spice with a fine mousse. Wine Enthusiast awarded it 92 points. If you decide to visit, its recently renovated tasting room is in downtown Sonoma. $54.00


Cover Photo courtesy Unsplash

Robin Barr Sussman ( is a freelance culinary and travel writer who studied at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone, Calif. As a chef for Sonoma County wineries, her specialty was food and wine pairing. Sussman is a columnist for Houston Modern Luxury, Houston CityBook Magazine, Prime Living and Houston House & Home. Her work also appears in Texas Monthly, Fodor’s and Private Clubs Magazine.