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Domestic Bubbly Recs

We enjoy Argyle Brut (just bought a 2002). The Argyle runs about $23. Any other favorites that represent good value ?

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  1. I haven't had it but I've heard good things about Gruet. Also, Schramsberg...and Gloria Ferrer.

    2 Replies
    1. re: domaine547

      Gruet is perhaps the best of the "bargain" US-produced sparkling wines -- you can find in the the $12-13 range . . . not as great of a bargain as when it was $8.99, but still --

      Gloria Ferrer is one of California's best (as opposed to New Mexico's best) "bargain" methode champenoise wines -- you can often find their "regular" Brut and Blanc de Noirs for as little as $10.99 on sale. But it's their Royal Cuvee that is exceptional -- in the $24-27 range. (Note: they have a relatively new "reserve" sparkling wine, called "Carn Cuvee" -- it's approximately $60, and I've not had it.

      Schramsberg was great in the 1960s, hit a rough patch during the mid-1970s through 1990s, but is once again making very fine wines. Not very good value, though (IMHO). Their wines range from the mid-to-high $20s for their "regular" wines, to as much as $80 for their J. Schram top-of-the-line . . . clearly NOT bery good QPR.


      1. re: zin1953

        Jancis Robinson did a nice write up on Gruet a couple of months back; its a free read on her web page...

    2. I think Argyle Brut is one of th ebetter domestic sparklers.

      Mumm's Napa Blanc de Noir is one of the best deals going on domestic sparklers. I buy it buy the case at $11.80/bottle at Safeway whenever it goes on sale. Even at $20 (the normal price) it is a very good deal.

      All of Schmsberg's wines are good, but they can be a bit too pricey for what they are.

      Perhaps the best deal for a domestic sparkler is Soter Brut Rose of Pinot Noir. It is $50 -- not cheap. But it is a *GREAT* bottle of wine and worthy of consideration over a similarly priced Rose Champagne.

      3 Replies
      1. re: whiner

        The Mumm Napa bubblies are fantastic buys when on sale, as they will be shortly. Can't be beat at $12.

        The other great buy is the Roederer Estate Brut at $16, as mentioned below. That would be my first choice for bargain bubblies, though I have never seen it at that price. Now, of course, I'll have to keep my eyes peeled.

        Will have to try the Argyle as it is not on my radar. Anything above $23 and I turn toward the great buys in grower Champagne (capital C). Cheers.

        1. re: maria lorraine

          We had the 2002 Argyle Brut over the weekend. It really is a nicely done bubbly.

          1. re: TonyO

            Yes it is. Champagne, it's not. But Argyle makes wonderful sparkling wines . . . .

      2. I like the Roeder Estate Brut (Anderson Valley). Picked up some last night for $15.99 on sale. The Rose is also good for a few dollars more.

        3 Replies
        1. re: scrappydog

          I agree - and that's a good price!

          1. re: MMRuth

            Yes, I have not seen it at that price for a while. Purchased at Bevmo in SOCAL, on sale for $6 off their regular price. Accordingly, it is widely available for that price in this area. Not sure how long the sale goes on.

            1. re: scrappydog

              I know I paid less than $20 for it, but it's been a while since I've seen it at "your" price.

        2. We've loved Glenora Brut (from upstate NY) and had it fairly regularly. Unfortunately, they weren't carrying it in the last few months at Vintage NY where we usually purchase these things. So we went with Chateau Frank Brut, also from the Finger Lakes region, and it was quite good too. Both are good values for under $30.

          5 Replies
          1. re: LNG212

            Really??? Hmmm, perhaps I'll have to try another bottle. Every time I've had Glenora, I've -- well, let's just say I've been really disappointed. It's been a couple of years though; perhaps I should try it again.

            1. re: zin1953

              Well, the Glenora Brut was the only one of theirs we had. We've not had the rose or the fruit flavored ones. We liked the Brut. We thought it was light and crisp. But I'm not nearly the Connoisseur that you all are.

              1. re: LNG212

                connoisseur - schmonnoisseur . . .what's important is what YOU like!

                And I'll see if I can't find a bottle of Glenora to try again. Happy T-day!

            2. re: LNG212

              Glenora also has a Very good Blanc de Noirs, made from Chardonnay & Pinot Noir. Such an interesting change of pace!!

              1. re: LNG212

                Second Chateau Frank Brut, in general they do spakling well. The vintage stuff ages nicely.

              2. Not a huge fan of domestic bubblies but Schramberg's blanc de blanc(Trader Joes $22) and Roederer's Brut Rose (you'll have to look around or call Roederer) are both decent...
                I saw someone mention a wine in the $50 range and for my money, although not domestic, I'd go with the Veuve Cliquot Vintage Reserve for bubbles in the $50's - can not be beat!! As I recall J also makes some decent domestic bubblies. Enjoy!

                1. Argyle IS one of this country's best producers of methode champenoise/methode traditionelle sparkling wines.

                  By good value, are you looking for a particular price point, or merely for a wine that "outperforms" others in its price range? In other words, are you looking for a wine under, say $20, that's really good, or a great wine at (e.g.) $50 that's better than most $100 bottles?

                  Of the large(er) scale producers of methode champenoise/methode traditionelle sparkling wines in the US, the "best for the least" is the already mentioned Gruet and Gloria Ferrer. These can be had in the $11-13, and they're hard to beat.

                  The three best large(er) scale producers of methode champenoise/methode traditionelle sparkling wines in the US (regardless of price) are, IMHO, Roederer Estate in the Anderson Valley of California, Domaine Carneros in the Carneros District of California, and Argyle up in Oregon. (Well, it's "up" from where I live.) Across their respective lines, the quality is excellent.

                  This is the "right" time to buy, of course, as with the holidays coming up, many sparkling wines (AND true Champagnes) are available at their lowest prices of the year. Roederer Estate's wines, for example, generally run from the mid-$20s through the $50s or higher. But I've seen Roederer Estate L'Ermitage on sale for as low as $34.99. (That said, you can also find a lot of tasty French Champagnes in the mid-$30s, so it's more of a "personal taste" decision as to which you pick up this time of year.)

                  Then again, of the SMALL producers, I have no doubt that Equinox makes the finest sparkling wines in the US, period. That is, regardless of price. And while I can certainly find true Champagnes for the same or less, I find that Equinox remains a great value, even with its high price tag.


                  4 Replies
                  1. re: zin1953

                    "Argyle IS one of this country's best producers of methode champenoise/methode traditionelle sparkling wines." <--- agreed. you've started with the best!

                    1. re: TBird

                      Thanks all. I think I will keep it simple and buy a few more Argyle. 2002 is supposed to be an exeptional year for their Brut. I have had other vintages that were excellent. Enjoy your holiday, one and all.

                      Tony O

                      1. re: TonyO

                        i served argyle brut at my wedding, at a california winery that wouldn't allow any other wines to be brought in, but had to concede since they did not make a sparkler. i was VERY happy with that little glitch. ;-)

                        1. re: TBird

                          Before I even saw the OP my answer was going to be Argyle also.
                          I was in their tasting room only a couple of weeks ago.

                  2. Roederer Estate and Argyle are my favorites. I prefer them to the Gruet from New Mexico. I haven't had it recently but I've previously had a decent bubbly called Pacific Echo, also from Mendocino like Roederer.

                    1. Larry Mawby's Talismon Brut is under $30 and has been picked as one of the best 40 wines made in North America in a recent book. Seems like nobody outside of Michigan ever tries it. You can order from the vineyard.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: davebough

                        It is very nice, but my problem is that I can get "real" (true) Champange at that price.


                        1. re: zin1953

                          I agree Jason, and tend to drink Champagne in the $40-50 range. The question though was about domestic bubblies, not champagnes/

                      2. Public Service Announcement: Mumm's Napa is currently $11.70 at Safeways in Northern CA.