Sparkling Wine
 

Best Sparkling Wine

 

The Fifty Best Sparkling Wine Tasting of 2021

 

The Tasting:
The Fifty Best held a “blind” tasting of 23 wines with 11 members of our wine judging panel. The order of service was established beforehand by lottery. Strict tasting rules were applied. Each of the sparklers were poured into fresh glasses from new sealed bottles and served well chilled. Only crusty peasant bread were available to cleanse the palate.

The judges wrote down their impressions of each wine on score sheets. The scoring was based on a 5-point system, with 5 as the highest. Double-Gold, Gold, Silver and Bronze medals are awarded according to a set range of final point scores received from the judges. Medals are provided based entirely on merit and only to products judged worthy of such award.

The tasting notes that follow are summaries of the judges’ opinions, with all replicated commentary eliminated. Prices indicated do not include tax. Clicking on the brands' names will link to their websites.

DOUBLE-GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

Cinzano Prosecco DOC Cuvée Storica
(Italy)   $11

This wine was made from Glera grapes by the Charmat method, in which the second fermentation to induce the bubbles was conducted in large pressurized stainless steel tanks.

Aroma: Asian pear, green apple, light lemon, lemon zest, tangerine, peach rings, banana cream, vanilla pudding, white flowers, pollen, hazelnut, almond, nutty, fresh grass, damp soil, wet stones, minerality.

Palate: Peach, guava, passion fruit, melon, red grapes, tangerine, pink grapefruit, lemon, fruit punch, tropical, peaches & cream, gardenia, night jasmine, vanilla, brioche French toast, toast, yeast, minerality, oaky, high dosage, nice balance of sweetness, very effervescent, crisp, rich.

Finish: Ripe pear, Asian pear juice, green apple, lemon/lime, pleasant citrus, lemon cream, bread, toast, balanced high dosage, well balanced, crisp, rich, yummy.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Cinzano Prosecco DOC Cuvée Storica



Gancia Veneto Rosé 2019 Prosecco DOC
(Italy)  $14

This wine was made from a blend of Glera and Pinot Noir grapes processed by the Charmat method (in which bubbles are induced by a second fermentation in large stainless steel tanks).

Aroma: Bright raspberry, tart raspberry, strawberry, red berries, light cherry, red apple, nectarine, banana, citrus zest, powdered sugar, rose petals, yeast, river rocks.

Palate: Sweet strawberry, blackberry, pomegranate, festive cranberry, tart cherry, Fuji apple, new apples, pear, pink grapefruit, toasted cherry, Sweet Tart candies, wild rose, vanilla, vanilla cream, cake, sourdough, bread dough, slight flintiness, refreshing.

Finish: Lingering raspberry, strawberry, tart cranberry, cranberry sauce, apricot, pear, lemon, lime zest, strong citrus, floral, earth, crisp, silky, soft, creamy.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Gancia Veneto Rosé 2019 Prosecco



Colutta Prosecco Brut DOC
(Italy)  $14

This wine was made from 100% Glera grapes (grown in the Colli Orientali dei Friuli area) by the Charmat method in which bubbles are induced by a second fermentation in large tanks.

Aroma: Green apple, green apple peel, Golden apple juice, ripe peach, pleasant peach, white peach fuzz, pear, melon, hints of pineapple, soft citrus, honey, Danish sugar cookies, brioche, sweet cream, mineral, musty.

Palate: Green apple, red apple, green apple skin, apple cider, pear, crab apple, Golden apple crisp, peach, tangerine, grapefruit, lemon zest, citrus, honey, pastry, creamy, almond, smoky, crisp, lively.

Finish: Grapefruit, green apple skin, tangerine, delicate banana, clover honey, crisp, toasty, crusty bread, mineral, dry, balanced, rich, creamy, smooth, lively.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Colutta Prosecco Brut DOC



GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

AlbaRossa Valdobbiadene Brut Prosecco Superiore
(Italy)  $14

This wine was fashioned from 100% Glera grapes grown in Italy’s northeastern classic Prosecco area and processed by the Charmat method (with bubbles induced by a second fermentation in large stainless steel tanks).

Aroma: Apple, Golden Delicious apple, green apple, pear, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, white peach, strawberry, a touch of honey, lemon meringue, egg whites, magnolia, white flowers, sweet rosewater, tropical fruit flower, saline, salt water, aromatic.

Palate: Apple, Golden Delicious apple, grapefruit, bright lemon, lemon/lime, melon, peach, sweet strawberries, honey, floral, bread dough, mint, mineral, tight bubbles, lean, tart, fresh.

Finish: Golden apples, figs, lemon/lime, strawberry, vanilla, wet stone, tangy, crisp, zesty, bouncy, bright, delicate, excellent.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



AlbaRossa Valdobbiadene Brut Prosecco Superiore



Rovellats Imperial Cava Brut Reserva
(Spain)  $15

This wine was made in Catalonia from a blend of Macabeo, Xarel-lo and Parallada grapes.

Aroma: Meyer lemon, lemon meringue, lemon curd, lime, fermented apples, peach, creamy, honey, honeysuckle, elderflower, clover, bread dough, sourdough bread, toast, dough, yeast, wet wheat, wet rocks, minerals.

Palate: Bright lemon peel, lemon curd, lemon meringue, Seven-Up, lemon blossom, tangerine, melon, pear, peach, pineapple, ripe blackberry, pastry dough, bread dough, hazelnut, nutty, a bit of smoke, nicely tart, lively.

Finish: Apple, lime, lemon zest, nut, minerality, summery, smooth, big, bold, lively, refreshing.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Rovellats Imperial Cava Brut Reserva



Ca' Furlan Prosecco Cuvée Beatrice
DOC Extra Dry

(Italy)  $11

This wine was made from Glera grapes grown in Italy’s Veneto area on vines over 15 years old. Following a primary fermentation, a secondary fermentation to induce the bubbles was conducted by the Charmat method in large stainless steel tanks.

Aroma: Fresh white peach, light apricot, stone fruit, pear, pomegranate, guava, grapefruit zest, light lemon zest, citrus, subtle peony, sourdough bread, Bisquick, smoky, minerals, wet stones, crisp, fresh.

Palate: Crisp apple, green apple slices, tart apple skin, pear, papaya, melon, pomegranate, red berries, tropical fruit, grapefruit, lemon zest, fresh citrus, vanilla, sourdough bread, spearmint, minerals, good acidity, balanced, refreshing, elegant.

Finish: Apple, baked apple, apricot, red berries, lemon blossom, spearmint, elderflower, baked bread, pastry dough, toast, Bisquick, pistachios, clean, crisp, well balanced.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Ca' Furlan Prosecco Cuvée Beatrice DOC Extra Dry



Tre Donne Moscato d'Asti DOCG Donna Blu 2020
(Italy)  $15

Made from Moscato Bianco grapes grown in the Piedmont area. Bubbles were produced by fermenting the wine in large stainless steel tanks and chilling to stop the process.

Aroma: Lemon curd forward, lemon, orange peel, pink grapefruit, citrus, ripe mango, passion fruit, peach tart, raspberries, honey, elderflower, white flowers, floral, spicy peppers, cream.

Palate: Lemon, lemon zest, lime, pink grapefruit, tangerine, citrus, papaya, ripe apricot, caramel apple, banana cream, passion fruit, ginger, quince paste, biscuit, honey, sugars, chewy, rich, creamy.

Finish: Lemon curd, lingering honey, vanilla, elderflower, sweet basil, minerals, nicely tart, sweet, rich, soft, delicate, pretty, elegant, delicious.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Tre Donne Moscato d'Asti DOCG Donna Blu



Banfi Alta Langa Cuvée Aurora Rosé Prosecco
Extra Brut Millesimato 2015

(Italy)  $26

Made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes grown just south of Alba in the Piedmont region. This wine had its bubbles induced by the classic Champagne method of adding yeast to the bottle and then disgorgement before release.

Aroma: Strawberry, young strawberries, raspberry, boysenberry, toasted berries, red currant, grapefruit, very light apricot, rose, rose petal, wild flowers, nice floral, leather, fired wood, very spumante.

Palate: Strawberry, fresh raspberry, cranberry, watermelon, peach, fizzy plum, a meadow of wild flowers, elderflower, minerals, burnt wood chips, tangy.

Finish: Raspberry, tart cherry, red currant, apricot, lime, citrus, Sprite, apple skin, rose, earth, grappa, tart, refreshing.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Banfi Alta Langa Cuvée Aurora Rosé Prosecco Extra Brut Millesimato



Lunetta Prosecco DOC
(Italy)  $12

This wine was made from hand-harvested Glera grapes by the Charmat method (in which the second fermentation to produce the bubbles is conducted in large, pressurized and temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks).

Aroma: Apple, green apple, grapefruit, tangerine, lemon, fresh lime juice, lime zest, citrus, pear, apricot, subtle peach, honeysuckle, pastry cream, straw, woodsy, earth, minerality, river stones, crisp, fresh, fragrant.

Palate: Green apple, bright lime, orange, citrus, lemon zest, Sweet Tarts, fresh peach, banana, creamy, vanilla, honeysuckle, pleasant flowers, toasted honey, toast, bright, fresh.

Finish: Green apple, peach, apricot, banana, citrus, fields of clover, toast, balanced, tart, crisp, tasty.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Lunetta Prosecco DOC



Candoni Prosecco Brut DOC
(Italy)  $14

This wine was made from early-harvested grapes from vineyards near the historic city of Pottogruaro in the Veneto region, with the second fermentation to induce the bubbles conducted in large pressurized stainless steel tanks.

Aroma: Fuji apple, green apple, ripe Anjou pear, peach, papaya, mandarin orange, citrus, lemon Gummy Bears, honey, vanilla, almond, hazelnut, croissant, bread dough, toast, minerals, smoky, effervescent.

Palate: Lemon, lime, citrus, green apple, tropical fruit, blackberry, peach, peach cobbler, cream soda, banana peel, blossom, nutty, crisp toast, mineral notes, balanced brightness.

Finish: Pear, baked pear, berries, lemon, lime, soft vanilla, creamy, balanced, tart, crisp, refreshing.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Candoni Prosecco Brut DOC



Bottega Gold Prosecco DOC
(Italy)  $30

For this wine, hand-harvested Glera grapes were first fermented to a still wine with bubbles added by the Charmat method (a second fermentation in large stainless steel tanks).

Aroma: Granny Smith apple, green apple, baked apple, pear, Bosch pear, guava, strawberry, honeydew, citrus, banana cream, sweet cotton candy, bubblegum, elderflower, spearmint, honey minerals.

Palate: Red Delicious apple, tart green apple, bright pear, white nectarine, strawberry, berry jam, sour cherry, lemon-lime, sweet cotton candy, banana cream, vanilla, cinnamon, chalk, light minerals, delicate, rich, mouth filling, lovely.

Finish: Alluring apple, green apple, tart apple, strawberry, grapefruit, citrus, floral, mild brie, intense, soft, harmonious, a great ride.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Bottega Gold Prosecco DOC



SILVER MEDAL WINNERS

Col Vetoraz Valdobbiadene
Brut 2019 Prosecco Superiore

(Italy)  $14

For this wine Glera grapes underwent a second fermentation in pressurized stainless tanks to induce the bubbles.

Aroma: Golden apple, pear, white peach, sweet pineapple, light grapefruit, lemon, lime, blueberry mash, banana cream, Bavarian cream, honey, honeycomb, elderflower, floral, wet stone.

Palate: Fresh picked peaches, white peach skin, pineapple, zippy apple, lemon, citrus, elderflower, grapefruit, lemon zest, honey, honeycomb, spring bouquet, white flower, soft herbal notes, bread, toast, wet stones.

Finish: Ripe peaches, Golden apple, lemon, honey, creamy, mineral, oaky, dry, tart, piquant, complex, refreshing, delicious.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Col Vetoraz Valdobbiadene Brut Prosecco Superiore



Le Contesse Prosecco Rosè Brut DOC
(Italy)  $17

This wine was made from a blend of Glera and Pinot Noir grapes that went through an intitial fermentation to produce a still wine, and a secondary fermentation to produce the bubbles   both in the same stainless steel tank.

Aroma: Fresh berries, strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, ripe pear, pineapple, lime zest, soft citrus, strawberries & cream, banana pie, violet, rose petals, white flowers, bread, crackers.

Palate: Strawberry, stewed strawberries, fresh raspberry, watermelon Jolly Rancher, grapefruit, vanilla bean, vanilla, pastry cream, fizzy herbal, mint, minerality, soft tartness, fresh, delicate.

Finish: Tart cranberry, vanilla, pie crust, potpourri, white flower, saline, minerals, soft, smooth, pleasantly tart, refreshing.


Silver Medal
Silver medal



Le Contesse Prosecco Rosè Brut DOC



Zardetto Prosecco DOC Brut
(Italy)  $16

This wine was made primarily from Glera grapes with about 15% juice from Pinot Blanco and Chardonnay grapes, all grown in the Veneto area. The secondary fermentation to induce the bubbles was conducted in pressurized stainless steel containers.

Aroma: Apple, McIntosh apple skin, green apple skin, lemon, citrus, fresh pear. kiwi, lychee, honeydew, tropical fruits, tropical notes, vanilla, vanilla wafers, marzipan, honeycomb, honeysuckle, spring flowers, wet stones.

Palate: Lemon, lime, Golden apple, white strawberries, honey, vanilla, Graham cracker, elderflower, white flower, dandelion, bread, minerality, crisp acidity, tart, refreshing.

Finish: Lingering apple, Anjou pear juice, lemon, lime, grapefruit, citrus, tropical, baked bread, tart, crisp.


Silver Medal
Silver medal



Zardetto Prosecco DOC Brut



Banfi Rosa Regale Sparkling Red 2019
(Italy)  $23

This wine was made from Brachetto d’Accqui grapes grown in calciferous soil in the Piedmont region. The secondary fermentation to induce bubble was conducted in large stainless steel tanks.

Aroma: Ripe tart cherry, dark cherries, sour cherry, dried cherries, red currants, berries, pomegranate, rhubarb, red apple, Golden apple, banana peel, cola note, caramel, rich sherry, Lambrusco.

Palate: Black cherry, sweet cherry, cherry candy, sweet cherry pie, sweet strawberry, blackberry, ripe raspberry, raspberry soda, plum, peach, orange, lime, sweet candied apple, cotton candy, sweet brioche, high sugar, dense.

Finish: Cherry, black cherry, raspberry, blackberry, currant, orange, lime, honey, candy apple, Italian soda, sweet but not cloying, surprisingly light, lively, Sunday sparkler, fun, delicious.


Silver Medal
Silver medal



Banfi Rosa Regale Sparkling Red



Tosti Asti Dolce DOCG
(Italy)  $15

This low alcohol (7%) wine was made from 100% Moscato Bianco di Canalli grapes that had its bubbles induced by fermentation in large stainless steel tanks.

Aroma: Moscato grape, Golden apple, grapefruit, baked fruit, honey, lemon chiffon cake, sweet pastry, pastry cream, cherry blossom, hibiscus, elderflower, clover, dough, baked bread.

Palate: Moscato grape, cherry, orange, orange marmalade, pink grapefruit, apricot, peach cobbler, baked apple, Apple Frog candy, candied ginger, taffy, sweet honey, honeycomb, honeysuckle, sweet breakfast bread, dough, anisette, night jasmine.

Finish: Dried apricot, apple, honeydew, pink grapefruit, cinnamon apple, ginger, baked bread, honey, elderflower liqueur, good balance, great for cocktails.


Silver Medal
Silver medal



Tosti Asti Dolce DOCG



Le Contesse Brut Nature Prosecco DOC
(Italy)  $14

To make this wine, hand-harvested Glera grapes from vineyards near the town of San Vendemiano (in the Veneto region) were fermented and then introduced to temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks to complete the second fermentation that produced the bubbles.

Aroma: Golden Delicious apple, sweet grapefruit, lemon, lime, cantaloupe, melon, fresh peach juice, banana, banana Now & Later candy, banana mash, tropical fruit, rich honey, vanilla cake batter, bright pastry cream, brioche, bread dough, white flowers.

Palate: Peach, passion fruit, strawberry, light banana, tropical fruits, melon, grapefruit, lime, apples, tart green apple skin, cotton candy, cream, pastry cream, hazelnut, minerality, beautiful blend of floral notes, tart, cider-like.

Finish: Lime forward, lemon, cider, cotton candy, cinnamon, refreshingly clean, soft, creamy, balanced dosage.


Silver Medal
Silver medal



Le Contesse Brut Nature Prosecco DOC



Gancia Prosecco Brut DOC
(Italy)  $11

For this wine, Glera grapes from the Veneto region were soft pressed and fermented without skins, with a second fermentation in large tanks to produce the bubbles.

Aroma: Pear, Bosch pear, white grape, lemon, banana, Banana Runts candy, Bazooka Joe, soft vanilla, elderflower, floral, musty, minerality, bright, spring rain.

Palate: Peach forward, white peach, Red Delicious apple, tropical fruit, lemon, grapefruit, lime zest, citrus, vanilla cream, dough, toast, earth, minerality, crisp, bright.

Finish: Tart Mcintosh apple, lingering melon, fresh white grape, white grapefruit, lime peel, sandstone, dry, long tail, refreshing, pleasant.


Silver Medal
Silver medal



Gancia Prosecco Brut DOC



BRONZE MEDAL WINNERS

Altemasi Brut Trento
(Italy)  $18

This wine was made from 100% Chardonnay grapes grown in the mountainous Trentino region. Bubbles were induced by the traditional Champagne method of a second fermentation in the final bottle.

Aroma: Apple, green apple, lychee, apricot, grape, Welch’s grape juice, sour cherry, tangerine, grapefruit, lemon essence, Creamsicle, vanilla cream, honey, hibiscus, early spring flower, bread dough, baked bread, biscuit, toast, earth.

Palate: Apple, green apple, apple juice, Jolly Rancher, apricot, grape juice, fresh lemon, citrus, tropical fruits, honey, bread, Bisquick, earth, minerality, balanced.

Finish: Lemon zest, lemon drops, citrus, nice honeydew, peach, ripe plum, white grape juice, light strawberry.


Bronze Medal
Bronze medal



Altemasi Brut Trento



Sartori Love Story Sparkling Brut Soave DOC
(Italy)  $18

This wine was made from 100% Garganaga grapes grown in the Soave region (near the city of Verona).

Aroma:Red Delicious apple, ripe pineapple, citrus, green citrus, white flowers, vanilla, caramel, bread dough, toast, yeast, grassy terroir, rainfall, lake breezes, crushed rocks, minerality, super delicate.

Palate: Lemon/lime, bright lemonade, lemon zest, Thompson pink grapefruit, citrus, ripe pear, white peach, first harvest apple picking, melon, white flower, mint, brioche, sourdough bread, dough, minerals, dry, crisp.

Finish: Lingering peach, apple, grapefruit, light lemon, baked bread, wet stone, balanced dosage, dry, tart, smooth, mouthwatering.


Bronze Medal
Bronze medal



Sartori Love Story Sparkling Brut Soave



Oak Mountain Winery The Cave
Pinotage Sparkling Wine

(Temecula, CA)  $35

This white wine from red grapes was carbonated by the Charmat method (with bubbles formed during a second fermentation in large stainless steel tanks), after which the wine was aged in American oak.

Aroma: Strawberry, strawberry cotton candy, raspberry, blueberries, dark cherry, plum, pomegranate, black currants, red apple, apple blossom, sweet ripe banana, banana pudding, fermented raisin, vanilla, caramel, sweet vermouth.

Palate: Strawberry, candied strawberry, red berry blend, cherry, sticky plum, peach, banana, sweet marshmallow, chocolate, pastry cream, honeysuckle flowers, rose petals, minerality, citrus, slightly tart, creamy, smooth, chewy, rich.

Finish: Lingering papaya, mandarin orange, pomegranate, strawberry, blackberry, elderflower, creamy, vanilla, balanced high dosage.


Bronze Medal
Bronze medal



Oak Mountain Winery The Cave Pinotage Sparkling Wine



À la Volée by Waxwing
Riesling Sparkling Wine 2017

(Santa Lucia Highlands, CA)  $35

Riesling grapes harvested from the Tondré Grapefield vineyard were used to produce this wine that obtained its bubbles through the traditional Champagne method of adding yeast to the already bottled wine to produce a second fermentation.

Aroma: Passion fruit, apricot, mango, cantaloupe, grilled pineapple, coconut, honey, raw honey, honeycomb, honeysuckle, floral sherry, musty, baked crackers.

Palate: Ripe apple, sour apple, apple juice, hybrid grape, tamarind, quince, honeysuckle, elderflower, brioche, orange wine, mead-like, barrel, musty, funky, delicate, interesting.

Finish: Honey, raw honey, honeycomb, white flowers, lemon, torte, sourdough bread, toast.


Bronze Medal
Bronze medal



À la Volée by Waxwing Riesling Sparkling Wine

 

 

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