Peak season for drinking sparkling wine is usually around New Year’s Eve, with other popular days including February 14 and whenever your birthday or rap album drop goes down. But come on guys, let's get real. Anytime is a good time for fizzy wine — especially when the mercury starts to climb. Summer sparklers make brunch more scintillating (and interesting) and brings a touch of splendor to evenings on the patio. Plus, bubbles can be the perfect pairing for a barbecue or picnic.
Of course, we’re not necessarily talking about breaking out the Dom here. There are occasions for drinking baller champagnes and others that call for summer sparklers. The difference between the two? A summer sparkler is a light, easy-drinking wine — nothing too intellectual. Something that pairs well with a smoky grilled foods or a simple al fresco lunch. A wine you don’t feel bad about building into an aperitif cocktail or pouring over juice for a mid-morning mimosa. Anything pink (because we know, you’re man enough to drink pink) or with a hint of sweetness is sure to make the grade. Time to summon your inner reverse wine snob. Here are six summer sparklers we suggest you seek out:
1. Zardetto Prosecco Brut, Italy ($14)
Prosecco is the ideal summer sparkler, quite simply a no-brainer. It’s dry and light and generally not too hard on the wallet. This one pours frothy with bubbles that persist. Peachy and floral notes give way to a clean finish.
2. Cellers de Can Suriol del Castell "Azimut" Cava Brut Nature, Spain ($15)
This organic cava is fermented naturally and disgorged to order. It’s called “brut nature” for the extremely low sugar dosage. Soft and subtle, it might come across as too complex to be a summer sparkler. But it’s not. It’s just right.
3. Atwater Riesling Bubble, Finger Lakes ($16)
Unlike champagne — or cava, for that matter — which is made using the “méthode traditionelle,” this wine gets its effervescence from a little jolt of CO2. The result is a fine fizz with stone fruit aromas and a lively acidity that takes the edge off the sweetness.
4. Albert Mann Crémant d'Alsace Brut 2010, France ($21)
For our money, if we aren’t sipping the “other” French bubbles, we are drinking Crémant d’Alsace. Made from hand-picked organic pinot blanc and auxerrois grapes, it’s crisp and tart, with a hint of minerality. Call it your summer sparkler splurge.
5. Cascinetta Vietti Moscato d'Asti 2011, Italy ($15)
Once rappers started big-upping moscato, we knew we had to reconsider this fun-loving frizzante wine. This one is fruity and lush, with a floral and honeyed character. Tiny, fine bubbles and a bright acidity keep the sweetness in check.
6. Huber Hugo Rosé Sparkling, Austria ($15)
This pink bubbly made of zweigelt and pinot noir grapes pours creamy and frothy. Skin contact with the grapes not only gives it a salmon color, but intensifies the wine’s forest fruit and spice notes. Fruity yet dry, it’s lean and elegant, but with a distinctly wild side.
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