To celebrate his new book on Sonoma, photographer Andy Katz invited me to a casual dinner at his home in Alexander Valley, where he toasted the release with Domaine des Baumard’s non-vintage Crémant de Loire Carte Turquoise Brut. Crisp, refreshing, vibrant and delicate, this Chenin Blanc-based sparkling wine, with touches of citrus and green apple, is worth going out of your way to try.
Wine drinkers often forget that there are grapes beyond Pinot Noir and Chardonnay—two of the key varieties in Champagne—that can make great bubblies. Too many also overlook France’s Loire Valley for great reds and whites. If you’re curious to try something from the Loire, Domaine des Baumard makes a slew of great wines and its name on a label is usually a good sign. (Baumard is best known for its Quarts du Chaume, a sweet Chenin Blanc that my colleague James Molesworth once called “a jaw dropper.”) Its sparkling wines don’t necessarily reach those heights but are more affordable; this Carte Turquoise was 88 points, non-blind, and about $19.