A large portion of the California sparkling market is owned and run by its famous French Champagne counterparts. Sparkling wines are some of the most versatile wines, and you can drink them year-round. Here are some American bubbles to try. This month’s selections are from Surdyk’s, 303 Hennepin Ave. E., Mpls., 612-379-3232.
Domaine Carneros Brut 2006 (Carneros, CA)
French Champagne Connection: Taittinger
BLEND: Chardonnay and pinot noir. Vintage means all grapes are from 2006.
• Full-bodied with pear and raspberry and a bit of that buttered-toast nose, this wine could be drunk all meal long—from greeting your guests to a midnight kiss.
Mumm Napa Brut Rosé NV (Napa Valley, CA)
French Champagne Connection: G.H. Mumm
BLEND: Mostly pinot noir and a little chardonnay
• Robust and full-bodied, its elegant pink color comes from letting the pinot noir sit on the skin for just a bit. Start with salmon or lamb and drink it right through the chocolate tart dessert.
Scharffenberger Brut NV (Anderson Valley, CA)
French Champagne Connection: Once Veuve Clicquot, now Louis Roederer
BLEND: 67% pinot noir and 33% chardonnay
• John Scharffenberger started it, Veuve Clicquot purchased it and changed its name to Pacific Echo, and Louis Roederer recently bought it and changed the name back. Here’s your Veuve at half the price, with tropical fruit and full flavor.
Roederer Estate “L’ERMITAGE” Brut 2002 (Anderson Valley, CA)
French Champagne Connection: Louis Roederer
BLEND: 52% chardonnay, 48% pinot noir
• It may seem expensive, but it’s a fraction of the cost for this quality of Champagne. Made by the winemakers behind Cristal, it’s the best sparkling in California—elegant, complex, and full of flavors like vanilla, caramel, and toffee.