Ever since my kids grew up and I didn't have an excuse to buy toys I wanted to play with, the best thing about the holidays is drinking bubbly. On the West Coast, we drink as much California sparkling wine as we do Champagne, perhaps even more. It's hard for us to resist those crisp but sunny flavors.
Since this week and next are crazy for all of us, I'll cut to the chase. You want recommendations and I got 'em. I focused on wines under $50 with your holiday budget in mind. For a more complete list of sparklers, check out "Bubbling Up," in the June 15 issue. Those wines are mostly current.
Below I've offered an amuse-bouche, or small taste, of each wine's official tasting note. WineSpectator.com subscribers can read more detailed reviews by clicking on the links.
Domaine Carneros Brut Rosé Carneros Cuvée de la Pompadour NV
A delicate blush with crisp and supple raspberry notes.
Gloria Ferrer Brut Carneros Royal Cuvée Late Disgorged 2007 (91 points,
Rich and creamy, with has an appealing touch of age.
Iron Horse Wedding Cuvée Green Valley of Russian River
Valley 2011 (90, $44)
Delicate and refined with raspberry and gingerbread notes.
Mumm Napa Blanc de Blancs Napa County Reserve NV (91, $42)
Sleek and rich with creamy accents of spiced hazelnut and tart apple.
Roederer Estate Brut Anderson Valley L'Ermitage 2007 (93, $48)
Impeccably refined with floral aromas of fresh brioche, baked apple.
Schramsberg Brut Rosé North Coast 2012 (93, $43)
Floral strawberry and brioche aromas meet plush flavors.
Scharffenberger Brut Rosé Mendocino County Excellence NV (89,
Fresh and festive with floral strawberry aromas.
Korbel Brut California Organic Grapes NV (87, $14)
Crisp and lively with easygoing flavors.
Domaine Chandon Brut Rosé California NV ($24)
Soft flavors and lovely rose petal and raspberry notes.