Twinkling lights, shimmering ornaments from delicate to enticingly plump, and fat, velvety bows are everywhere. And that includes the LCBO, with walls of mesmerizing sparkling wine bottles lined up like bubbly little soldiers of merriment. Bottles that are shiny gold, silver and metallic pink. Bottles tucked inside ornate and elegantly streamlined boxes. And bottles with pretty labels coloured Tiffany blue, midnight black and wedding-party pink just daring you not to have a good time once their corks are popped. It’s a marketer’s triumph and a shopper’s delight.
To rifle through all the alluring bottles is pure joy, but if you are short on time or feeling a tad overwhelmed, we’ve listed a few of our favourite bubblies – for all budgets – below.
Cave Spring Blanc de Blancs Brut, VQA Niagara Escarpment, ON NV
$29.95 LCBO 213983
100% Chardonnay, this remarkably champagne-esque bubbly is made in the traditional style. Aged sur lees for 30 months before disgorging, it packs plenty of punch for this exceptional price: lemon loaf and pie crust on the nose, the palate is complex and full with flavours of citrus, apple and orchard fruit with a supporting mineral note. Focused, fine bubbles lead to a soft mousse and fresh acid keeps this tight and bright. Terrific length. 90 points.
Oyster Bay Brut Cuvée, New Zealand NV
$21.95 Vintages 163634
What great value in this 100% Chardonnay sparkler. Peach and pear notes dominate the nose, while the palate is soft and approachable with fruit salad flavours. Easy drinking and highly enjoyable, this makes for a great party wine. 88 points.
Jackson-Triggs Méthod Cuve Close, VQA Ontario, NV
$14.95 LCBO 217769
Prosecco fans will love this bright, fresh and fun off-dry fizz that’s filled with ripe peach, orange, grape and floral flavours. Riesling is added to the otherwise traditional blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, giving a fruity zeal that can be gulped on its own or act as a terrific mixing partner for mimosas or Kir Royals. 86.5 points.
Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava, Spain NV
$13.95 LCBO 216960
Cava, by law, must be made in the laborious champagne method, so it’s a wonder how this classic Spanish sparkler can consistently offer such exceptional value. Made with native, local varietals, the nose shows flint, citrus and a hint of sulphur on this particular bottle. Lively and fresh on the palate with lemon-lime and wet stone flavours, no one would guess it’s such a steal. 88 points.
Veuve Clicquot Brut, Champagne, France NV
$69.20 LCBO 384412
Can we talk about the adorable packaging? Every Christmas Veuve, like many other Champagne houses, kicks up the marketing a notch to increase their gift-worthy attraction. Mission accomplished here. This intriguingly stylish mailbox was actually designed by Canadian Eileen Ugarkovic, and it features a To/From envelope and working flag.
Alright, back to the actual wine. Dry and rich with notes of brioche and biscuit, lemon pastry and a slightly bitter lemon pith finish, this classic champers will impress guests for both sipping and gift giving. 88 points.
Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Rosé Brut, Champagne, France 2004
$102.95 Vintages 588475
Every girl’s favourite fizz, the Widow really impresses here with a gorgeous copper-tinged bubbly that offers soft mousse, fine bubbles and loads of elegant freshness. Red apple and mineral flavours, this is delicious. 91 points.
Moet Chandon Rosé Impérial Brut, Champagne, France NV
$78.50 LCBO 424770
We are suckers for rosé – both bubbly and otherwise – so this elegant sipper caught our attention, not just for the decidedly pretty packaging, a stylish metal canister that word has it can be chilled to keep your champers cold for up to two hours, but also for the bubbly in the bottle. Pouring a delicate apricot colour, there’s a seductive, yet fun loving quality here – like the pretty girl at the party who dances like no one’s watching even though everyone is. Red berries – raspberry, cherry and strawberry – are the dominate flavours in this rich bubbly that shows soft mousse and lively, fresh acidity. 90 points.
Tarlant Rosé Brut, Champagne, France NV
$62.95 Vintages 664680
Siding more on orange than pink in colour, there’s an intense aromatic nose with apricot, yellow apple and a hint of red berry. The palate offers generous fruit with an undercurrent of mineral and streamlined acidity. 88 points.
Louis Roederer “Premier” Brut, Champagne, France NV
$69.95 Vintages 268771
Bright and agile with lively flavours of tart green apple, lemon and a vague vanilla note, there’s a freshness here that also offers clean elegance. A beautiful wine for oysters. 88 points.