By Rick VanSickle
What if we just crushed sparkling wines from now until 2022 and put yet another Covid year in the rear-view mirror? Sound good?
NOTE: As is tradition around these parts, our annual list of the Most Thrilling Niagara White and Red Wines of 2021 will be published on Boxing Day (Dec. 26).
We can help with that as we prepare to celebrate the holidays with family and (hopefully) friends. We have put together a list of 42 Canadian sparkling wines — from B.C. to Niagara to Prince Edward County — that we think are perfect for flashing a middle finger at another year that was anything but normal.
From coast to coast, Canadian winemakers continue to raise the bar of sparkling wines from traditionally made, to the charmat method to the growing category of pét-nats made from a rainbow of varieties that grow best in the cool climate of our main wine growing regions. The results are simply stunning.
Wines In Niagara has tasted and reviewed dozens and dozens of sparkling wines this year and we offer this list to help you prepare for your well-deserved celebrations. The wines are listed in alphabetical order, Ontario wines first with B.C. wines following. I’ve included all sparkling wines regardless if they are sold out. Happy holidays to you one and all!
Ontario sparkling wines
Chateau des Charmes Blanc de Blancs 2016 ($35, 92 points) — A consistently delicious traditionally made blanc de blancs sparkling wine made from 100% Chardonnay grapes and aged on the lees for a minimum of two years. It pours with a vigorous mousse and a nose of toasted/creamy vanilla, brioche, golden apple, ripe pear and subtle lemon peel. It has gorgeous texture and verve on the palate with an elegant bead to carry the toasty vanilla, pear/apple notes, touch of citrus, baked bread all leading to a crisp, fresh finish. Great bubbly at this price point.
Chateau des Charmes Rosé Sparkling Wine 2016 ($35, 92 points) — This rosé sparkling is a classic blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (49.1% Pinot Noir and 50.9% Chard) made in the traditional method. It shows a bright salmon colour in the glass, derived from the Pinot Noir dosage, and a high energy bubble in the glass. The nose is all about fresh-picked strawberries, raspberries, mineral notes and toasty/biscuit accents. The tiny bubbles explode on the palate and offer a lovely persistence for the tangy red berries, subtle brioche/leesy notes and refreshingly bright finish.
Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Blanc de Blanc Carte Blanche 2016 ($50, 94 points) — There are many skews in the Henry of Pelham portfolio, but I would venture that this always consistently excellent wine is the most highly decorated wine in the entire body of work at the Short Hills Bench winery. Carte Blanche is a vintage expression of Cuvée Catharine with the fruit sourced from the oldest and best estate-grown Chardonnay vineyards. The best of the best juice is isolated, partially barrel fermented and than aged on its lees for 54 months. It has an inviting nose of toasty biscuit, pear, mineral, fresh apple, soft vanilla, brioche and cream with a vigorous, elegant mousse. The creamy texture is the first impression on the elegant entry, with a lively bubble, toasty vanilla and brioche, ripe pear, quince, lemon toast and rousing freshness on the perky finish. It’s drinking so well right now, but has the energy and stuffing to age gracefully for a few more years. Beautiful sparkling wine.
Henry of Pelham Cuvee Catharine Carte Blanche Blanc de Blanc 2011 ($45, 92 points) — HoP’s top sparkler is made from hand-picked 100% estate Chardonnay from the Short Hills Bench. The best of the best juice is isolated, partially barrel fermented (20%) and then aged for 60 months in the bottle before being disgorged. Such a treat and always one of the top sparklers in Ontario. The nose shows lemon, toast, brioche, vanilla, apple and lime and pours a fine, persistent bead of bubbles. It’s bright and electric on the palate with flavours of lemon and lime, baked apple, toasted almond, spice with lovely freshness and finesse through the finish. Plenty of room to age and gain complexity and weight with time in the cellar.
Henry of Pelham Lazzara Rosato Secco NV ($18, 88 points) — It shows a bright, expressive nose of field raspberries, cherries, rhubarb pie and citrus accents. It has a vigourous bubble on the palate and shows a basket of red berries, touch of citrus zest and lively finish.
Henry of Pelham Aria Sparkling Rosé 2020 ($15, Vintages, 88 points) — A fun, fruity sparkling rosé with a lively nose of forest berries, raspberries and candied citrus. It has a frothy entry on the palate with zippy red berries, melon and enough juicy acidity to tame the sweetness.
Honsberger Cabernet Franc Brut 2019 ($56, 93 points) — I apologize, I’m working without tech sheets, so I believe (but not certain) the Cabernet Franc fruit was sourced from Creek Shores. It was dosed with itself, so essentially zero dosage and perfectly dry. It presents itself in a very different style than the blanc de blancs above with a variety-correct nose red berries, herbs, lively salinity and citrus notes. It’s bright and lively on the palate with an elegant bead and shows its savoury side to go with brambly red berries, citrus zest and a firm spine of acidity through the long and finessed finish.
Honsberger Blanc de Blancs 2019 ($46, 92 points) — The Chardonnay is sourced from Schuele Vineyard in the Creek Shores sub-appellation. It has an elegant nose of creamy/toasty apple and pear with lemon curd, citrus zest and a vigorous mousse in the glass. Those bubbles tickle the palate and light up the pear, lemon drop and brioche notes with a creamy but vibrant texture through a zippy finish. It’s nice and dry and lively from start to finish.
Honsberger Riesling Brut 2018 ($32, 90 points) — This is 100% sourced from the estate and shows a heady mousse in the glass and then lime, grapefruit, touch of green apple and emerging petrol notes. It’s fresh on the palate with cutting acidity, citus zest, a lively bead and a vibrant, fresh finish.
Inniskillin Sparkling Vidal Icewine 2018 ($80 for 375 mL, 94 points) — This is such a hedonistic, luxurious wonder made by the now retired winemaker Bruce Nicholson. Making a sparkling icewine is tricky business and can only be accomplished via the charmat method where the secondary fermentation creates bubbles, which are captured under pressure in a sealed stainless tank. The bubbles act as a perfect foil for the 241 g/l of residual sugar from the icewine. This shows a subtle bubble in the glass and vivid notes of apricot jam, tropical fruits, peach compote, marmalade, lychee, wild honey and spice notes on the nose. The tiny bubbles of delight light up the palate followed by a gushing river of super-charged peach, apricot, pineapple, candied citrus, honeycomb and caramel that’s all concentrated and long on the finish but nicely held together by those lovely bubbles and acidity. What an exotic treat. Ready to drink now and not recommended for the cellar, if you can avoid, to better enjoy the bubbles.
Jackson-Triggs Entourage Grand Reserve Brut Sparkling 2016 ($30, 93 points) — What a beautiful, nicely mature and elegant sparkling wine from J-T at a remarkably affordable price for a wine at this level. The grapes were hand picked from the estate vineyard and it is a blend of Chardonnay (49%), Pinot Noir (47%) and Pinot Meunier (4%) that was whole-bunch pressed and fermented in individual varietal batches then aged en tirage for three years. It has such a beguiling nose of lemon biscuit, green apple, brioche, creamy pear with a persistent bubble in the glass. It has mouth-filling flavours of apple, pear, quince, some tropical fruits and lemon tart with toasted vanilla, almonds, marzipan and a finessed, luxurious finish. There’s pure elegance here that’s reached a nice plateau and should continue for a few more years.
Leaning Post Pétillant Naturel 2020 ($25, 89 points) — The pét-nat category in Ontario (and everywhere, really) continues to gain new followers at an astonishing clip. “It’s huge,” says Leaning Post owner/winemaker Ilya Senchuk. “We are consistently selling out and upping out production.” This is made from 100% Muscat-Ottonel with the fruit gently pressed into a stainless-steel tank and allowed to settle for two days. It was racked off the heavy lees from pressing and fermentation starts shortly after. It’s bottled while fermenting to create the source of carbon dioxide in the bottle. It’s bottled with the lees. The nose explodes with grapefruit, Mandarin orange, anise seed, cloves, ginger, some earthiness and peach pit. There is a gentle effervescence on the palate and a creamy/leesy texture with notes of fresh peach, lemon, grapefruit, ginger and nectarine with just enough funk (but not too much) to keep it interesting through the vibrant, electric finish.
Maenad Vidal Pét-Nat 2020 ($29, 89 points) —Vidal grapes are co-fermented with Niagara peaches and sumac to add subtle complexity and fun. This wine is bottled before the primary fermentation is complete to capture the carbon dioxide and produce all those bubbles. Owner and maker of the virtual brand, Yvonne Irvine, feels Vidal as a table wine can be one dimensional, so she looked to what Niagara has to offer to spice things up. “Peaches felt specific to the region. Sumac added a citrusy vibe, an interesting addition. It’s fun, different and goes along with the vibe of not taking things too seriously. I love the flavours and complexity.” It shows a hazy light orange colour in the glass and pours a big, frothy head. Lots of orange blossoms, citrus, mulled peaches and no reductive notes at all. It’s quite energetic on the palate with an orangy-spruce needle thing going on, some herbs, peach skin and citrus fruits with a refreshing finish.
Malivoire Bisous Sparkling Rosé NV ($30, 91 points) — This is made from 100% estate Pinot Noir in the traditional method with lees aging for 24 months. It has a beautifully expressive nose of cherries, brambly raspberries, strawberries and a lovely mineral component. It shows an elegant and persistent bead in the glass with an array of fresh red berries, subtle herbs, green apple and a kiss of sweetness on a vibrant and finessed finish.
Nyarai Cellars Folklore 2020 ($23, 89 points) — The Folklore sparkling wine is inspired by the Spumante wines of Italy and is a blend of Riesling, Vidal Blanc, Muscat Ottonel, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer made in the charmat method. It shows a light golden colour in the glass with a soft bubble and then a mélange of citrus fruits, peach and melon. It’s crisp, fresh and joyous on the palate with bright orchard fruits, lemon-lime, a touch of sweetness, a light effervescence and lovely vibrance on the finish. Great value here for a well-made sparkling wine.
Redstone Pinot Noir Sparkling Rosé 2019 ($31, 91 points) — Made in the traditional method from fruit sourced in the estate’s Limestone Ridge Vineyard with 12 months on the lees. It shows a pale salmon colour in the glass and has a bright core of ripe cherries, raspberries and toasty/leesy notes. It has an elegant bead in the glass with lifted red berries in a fresh and lively style, touch of earthiness and bright, finessed finish.
Rosehall Run Pét-Nat 2020, Prince Edward County ($20, 88 points) — What a fun cider-wine! Rosehall owner/winemaker Dan Sullivan decided to create a marriage between the agricultural bounty offered in The County and created this unique blend of estate Muscat Ottonel grapes (40%) and apples grown at Cheer Family Farms (60%). It’s bottled unfiltered and unfined within a month of harvest and no additives were used. The nose displays peach, lemon, golden apple and fresh lime juice. It has vigorous pop on the palate with underlying earthy notes then a lively mélange of orchard fruits, with apple on top. It’s juicy, fresh and crushable and will leave you wondering — is it a wine or is it a cider?
Rosehall Run Stardust Brut Cuvée 2013 ($50, 94 points) — Turning to more serious matters, here is a traditionally-made sparkling wine crafted from 57% Pinot Noir and 43% Chardonnay grown in the estate’s Rosehall Vineyard. It spent seven nervous (at least for Sullivan, who wasn’t certain he could pull off this wine from the difficult 2013 vintage in PEC) years en tirage before it started to “reveal itself” in 2019. “The searing acidity and gangly structure of the 2013 vintage gave way to grace and delicacy driven by precise acidity revealing complexity and depth,” said Sullivan. It shows beautiful colour in the glass with a persistent, elegant mousse. It has a lovely nose of creamy pear, a vein of minerality, cut lemon, baked apple, salinity and a brioche note. It’s immensely pleasurable on the palate with ripe pear, golden apple and zesty citrus with a creamy texture and lovely tension and structure. This is a pristine, layered and minerally-driven sparkling wine with length and a finessed finish. Pair it with a little Stardust from prog-rocker David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
Rosehall Run Loveless Brut Rosé 2017 ($45, 92 points) — Now, the first question is why Loveless? If you know Sullivan, he’s a music man with a vast knowledge and interest across a wide swath of genres. A few years ago, the story goes, Toronto restaurateur Jen Agg visited Rosehall Run, and, as it often does, a lively discussion ensued about music. The topic of the masterpiece by My Bloody Valentine (an Irish-English alternative rock band) came up. Agg joked that it would be unlikely, but “awesome,” if someone ever dared to name a wine Loveless, the second studio album from the band. Says Sullivan: “So, Jen, this one’s for you!” It’s made from 100% Pinot Noir (87% from 2017, 13% from the ill-fated 2014 vintage), left en tirage for about 33 months and made in the traditional method. It shows a gentle bead in the glass with a pretty light rosé colour. The nose teems with strawberries, brambly raspberries, forest berries and light creamy notes. It has soft bubbles on the palate and is super dry with a basket of red berries, brambly notes, a creamy texture and a fresh finish.
Sue-Ann Staff Fancy Farm Girl Flirty Bubbles 2020 ($27, 88 points) — This new charmat bubbly is made from 100% estate grown Vidal (95%) and Cabernet Franc (5%). This shows a pretty pale salmon with an elegant bead of bubbles in the glass. The nose is fruity mix of strawberries, peach and candy apple with citrus accents. It has good pop on the palate with a basket of ripe red berries, zesty citrus notes and freshening acidity on the finish.
Sue-Ann Staff Fancy Farm Girl Frosty Fizz 2020 ($27, 89 points) — This charmat method sparkling wine is a blend of Vidal with a splash of Riesling with a soft, persistent bubble in the glass and a highly aromatic nose of peach, apple, lime and grapefruit. It has high energy on the palate with notes of ripe peach, lemon-lime, fresh apples and a pinch of sweetness that finds balance on the finish. A pair of festive and friendly sparklers for the holidays.
Tawse Quarry Road Spark Pinot Noir Rosé 2019 ($30, 92 points) — This traditionally made single-vineyard sparkling rosé saw 24 hours of skin contact, which gives the wine a light gold colour in the glass. It has an elegant nose of field raspberries, strawberry patch, zesty citrus, toasty brioche and cream. It shows an elegant and persistent bead in the glass with a creamy texture, mélange of red berries, lemon tart, white peach and rousing acidity through a finessed finish.
Trius Brut Rosé Sparkling NV ($30, 92 points) — The blend for this rosé brut (only 4 g/l of residual sugar) is Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Gamay (primarily for colour), with 18 months resting on the lees, and shows a pretty light pink hue in the glass. The nose is fresh and inviting with notes of crushed red berries, smoky/yeasty notes, cassis and biscuit. It’s lively on the palate with raspberries, strawberries and subtle cassis with bright acidity through the finish that keeps it fresh and popping.
2027 Cellars Edgerock Vineyard Brut Rosé 2017 ($45, 93 points) — This traditionally made, 100% Pinot Noir, sourced from the Twenty Mile Bench, was fermented in steel tanks and held on the gross less for 4 months prior to triage. The finished wine was aged on the lees for 30 months prior to disgorging with zero dosage. It has a lovely onion skin colour in the glass and a complex, inviting nose of brioche, leesy notes, bright red berries and lemon toast. It has an elegant, vigorous bead in the glass with notes of fresh-picked red berries, raspberry bush, brioche/toasty/bready notes and a bright, lifted and finessed finish from the mouth-watering acidity. A lovely bubble.
Two Sisters Blanc de Franc 2018 ($62, 93 points) — This is the signature and unique style of traditionally made bubbly by winemaker Adam Pearce. It spends 795 days on the lees and is made in a “brut nature” style (zero dosage). It shows a nice light golden colour in the glass, which is a “nice nod to the Cabernet Franc,” says Pearce, then a lively mousse and a fresh nose of perfumed pear, toasted apple, subtle herbs, biroche/bready/autolytic notes and red currants. It’s textured and creamy on the palate with nervy acidity, richness and depth and showing pear, apple, quince and red currants with a long, finessed finish. Can age this for 5+ years. Delicious!
Two Sisters Lush Sparkling Rosé 2019 ($54, new review, 93 points) — This is a traditionally made Chardonnay (63%) and Pinot Noir blend that spends over 588 days on the lees before disgorging. It’s the first Lush from Two Sisters that is vintage dated and was tasted recently with Pearce at the winery. A small amount of Cabernet Franc from 2015 is used for the dosage (primarily for colour). It shows a pretty soft pink hue in the glass with a vigorous, frothy mousse. The nose shows enticing field strawberries and cream, fresh lemon, biscuit and toasty notes. It’s crisp and lively on the palate with an energetic mouse, an elegant creamy texture, bright red berries, citrus zest, toasty vanilla and baked bread in a dry and refreshing style through a lifted finish.
Vineland Estates Frirenzy Sparkling Rosé ($20, 89 points) — The blend for this delightful non-vintage sparkling rosé is 64% Riesling and 36% Cabernet Franc. It’s a high-energy charmat style bubbly that pours a pale salmon colour in the glass with a lively effervescent mouse and aromas of fresh red berries, touch of herbs and citrus zest. It has a steady bead in the glass with a touch of sweetness on the palate but nicely balanced by the juicy acidity and ripe fruits of raspberries, cherries, strawberry patch and citrus zest of the vibrant finish. At 12% abv, a perfect foil for the porch, pool, beach or cottage.
Westcott Brilliant 2017 ($40, 92 points) — This is a traditionally made, 66% Pinot Noir and 33% Chardonnay from the Westcott Home Farm Vineyards that spent 30 months on the lees. It has an attractive creamy/brioche/baked bread nose with ripe pear, apple, lemon curd and mineral tones. It’s fresh on the palate and pours a lively mousse with stone fruit, lemon zest, subtle toastness and a crisp, finessed finish. Great balance, depth and persistence.
A selection of B.C. bubbles
Chronos Brut ($35, 90 points) — This is a blend of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir. The varietals were fermented separately with some lees stirring on the Chardonnay. It was blended for complexity and finished in the cuvée close method. It shows a fine bead in the glass with more upfront fruity notes of citrus, apple, pear and subtle toasty notes. It has a lively mousse and notes of fresh citrus, peach and apple with a vibrant finish.
Evolve Pink Effervescence ($22, 89 points) — The blend on this cuvée clos method sparkling is 70% Chardonnay, 28% Pinot Blanc and 2% Syrah. It was finished with a dash of Syrah to give it a light pink colour. Quite joyous and fruity on the nose with notes of raspberries, cherries and zesty lemon. With just a hint of sweetness on the palate, the ripe red berries are lifted and finessed from the juicy acidity and citrus zest on the finish.
Evolve Effervescence ($22, 88 points) — This bubbly is a blend of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Blanc and made in the cuvée clos method. The components were fermented separately with some lees stirring on the Pinot Blanc. It has a lively bead in the glass with notes of peach, melon, apples and a saline quality. On the palate look for ripe orchard fruits, elegant bubbles and just enough citrus to keep this lively through the finish.
Hester Creek Old Vine Brut 2018 ($35, 92 points) — This is the inaugural vintage of the estate’s Blanc de Blanc crafted from Pinot Blanc grapes selected from the 50-year-old estate vineyard. It’s made in the traditional method and the base wine aged for 24 months before disgorging. It has a big, bouncy nose of green apple, fresh pear, leesy/brioche notes and fresh lemon zest. It has a vigorous mousse in the glass and palate with bright and zesty fresh cut apples, pear and lemon with toasty brioche and creamy autolytic notes all leading to a bright and lifted finish. Can cellar this for further development up to seven years.
Hester Creek Tiamo 2020 ($20, 88 points) — This whole-cluster pressed, Prosecco-style sparkling wine, is comprised mainly of Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Semillon from estate and local Oliver vineyards. Production skyrocketed from 300 to 1,000 cases in 2020, a testament to the popularity of B.C. sparkling wines. This has a fruit-forward nose of peach, honeysuckle, pear and zesty lemon-lime. The tight bubbles on the palate showcase the lychee, orchard fruits and citrus notes with a subtle sweetness on the finish.
McWatters Collection Brut 2017 ($65, 93 points) — This traditionally made blend of 65% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir, and 10% Pinot Blanc is a tribute to founder Harry McWatters and a celebration of his 50th vintage in the wine industry. It was aged for 42 months en tirage before disgorgement. It has a nose of creamy pear, toasty brioche, apple, lemon tart and biscuit with a lively bead in the glass. It’s fresh and lively on the palate with bright citrus notes, green apples, a lovely creamy texture, vitality, leesy/bready notes and an energetic finish aided by an elegant, persistent bead of tiny bubbles. A great tribute to an Okanagan pioneer.
Seven Stars Rigel 2019 ($33, 89 points) — Rigel is named for the 7th brightest and one of the youngest stars in the night sky. Like all the wines in the sparkling portfolio, it’s made in the traditional Méthode Champenoise style with the wine undergoing a secondary fermentation or prise de mousse, where the sparkle is captured in the bottle. This inaugural vintage is made from Riesling from the Fool’s Gold vineyard in North Oliver. The Western sloping vineyard is comprised of sandy clay loam soil, with abundant rocks and gravel, providing excellent drainage. En tirage was for 12 months prior to disgorging and adding the dosage. This fun and fruity sparkler pours a frothy mousse before calming down to a steady bead and reveals a nose of pure lime and peach with subtle leesy/biscuit notes, nectarine and a touch of petrol. It has light effervescence on the palate but bright citrus fruit, apples, pear and subtle sweetness with plenty of zippy acidity to keep it balanced and fresh through the finish.
Seven Stars Polaris 2018 ($36, 91 points) — It’s named in honour of the North Star so prominent and bright, which has guided ships at sea for centuries. It’s a blanc de blanc brut made from 100% unoaked Chardonnay sourced from the south Okanagan Valley. The wine was left en tirage for a minimum of 18 months and after riddling, it was disgorged and a proprietary dosage (6 g/l) was added. It shows a steady and elegant bead in the glass with a nose of biscuit, pear, green apple, lemon toast, subtle brioche notes and autolytic notes. On the palate, look for flavours of apple skin, baked bread and lemon tart with a creamy texture and a pristine, fresh finish.
Seven Stars Equinox 2017 ($52, 93 points) — This single vineyard sparkling brut rosé is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes sourced from long time organic and biodynamic growers, Sperling Vineyards. One of the longest grape growers in the Okanagan, their site was first planted to grapes in 1925. The wine was left en tirage for 30 months with a small dosage. It pours a pale salmon colour with a lively bubble in the glass. The nose shows a complex array of brambly raspberries, field strawberries, rhubarb and quince notes with toasty biscuit and cream. It’s elegant and fine on the palate with a soft mousse and a creamy texture and then a mélange of red berries, subtle savoury notes, melba toast with underlying leesy notes and a long, finessed finish. A delight!
Seven Stars Sirius 2015 ($80, 94 points) — Named in honour of the brightest star in the evening sky, Sirius is the top sparkling wine in the Seven Stars collection. The Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes are 100% from the estate’s south Langley vineyard and were harvested, pressed and fermented together. The wine was left en tirage for a minimum of 60 months and a dosage (4 g/l) was added for complexity and depth of flavour. It shows a lovely golden hue in the glass with a lively mousse and aromas of fresh baked bread, apple pie, lemon chiffon, creamy notes, pear, brioche and complex autolytic notes. It’s quite fresh and zippy on the palate with firm, elegant bubbles, a creamy texture and flavours of ripe apple, pear and lemon, a touch of flint, brioche, tingling acidity and finessed on the finish.
Seven Stars Vega 2018 ($33, 90 points) — This is the inaugural vintage of this traditionally made sparkler from 100% Viognier, sourced from the Fool’s Gold Vineyard in Oliver. It shows a vigorous mousse in the glass with lovely notes of pear, bright apple, citrus, lemon cream, grapefruit and toasty/yeasty undertones. It’s generous on the palate with a healthy bubble and revealing a fleshier, rounder profile with peach, apricot, apple, pear and toasty/creamy notes that lead to lively finish.
Sperling Organic Speritz Pét Nat ($30, 90 points) — The varieties in the Speritz include estate Perle of Csaba, Chardonnay and Bacchus. This is a natural wine, vegan friendly, wild fermented in the bottle, with no additives and does throw some sediment in the bottle. It has a hazy golden glow in the glass (depending if you shook the bottle prior to opening) and shows a pure fruit-driven nose of peach, citrus pulp, honeysuckle and nectarine. It has decent effervescence on the palate with bright and juicy orchard fruits, savoury notes, citrus rind and a perky finish.
Sperling Organic Ruby Pét Nat ($30, 88 points) — This is a blend of Marechal Foch (85%) and Pinot Noir (15%). The Foch was whole cluster fermented for five days then pressed and blended into the Pinot Noir parcel. Like the Speritz above, this, too, is a natural wine with zero additives and will show sediment in the bottle. The colour is deep purple in the glass with some haze and shows a soft effervescence. It’s a bit more reductive than the Speritz with dark cherries, forest berries, wild blueberries and cassis. The palate reveals earthy-reductive notes, savoury red and dark berries, subtle pepper and herbs and a mellow finish. This is a funky rendition of the pét-nat style at Sperling.
TIME Brut 2018 ($35, 92 points) — This Pinot/Chard sparkler, made in the cuvée clos method, was fermented in neutral French oak barrels, stainless steel barrels and stainless steel tanks. There was some lees stirring in the barrels. It shows an energetic bead in the glass with an attractive nose of peach, apple tart, piecrust, lemon zest and toasty notes. It’s lively and fresh on the palate with notes of fuzzy peach, lemon zest, pear, bready/lees notes, a creamy texture and a long, fresh finish.