sparkling wines

Bubbly in Our Backyard

What truly distinguishes a proper brunch from a hearty breakfast is certainly the beverage you’re sipping. Bloody Marys and other brunch cocktails will always have a place at the table, but bubbly is the staple of any worthy brunch. After all, it’s never too early to indulge in sparkling wine. Most winemaking regions produce some sparkling wine, including those that are right in our backyard. Enjoy spring and make a day trip to these Virginia and Maryland wineries to try some local bubbly. Forget the myth that sparkling wines are only for celebrations and pop open a bottle today!

Cobbler Mountain Cellars
Bubbly to try: 2009 Blanc de Blanc, $45/bottle
This 100 percent chardonnay sparkler showcases ripe tropical fruit, lush apple and pear, and a creamy, rich texture. It’s “semi brut,” meaning it has enough sweetness to be soft on the palate and crowd-pleasing, whether you’re enjoying it on its own or mixing it into a mimosa. Cobbler also produces a semi-sparkling vidal blanc ($32/bottle, $7/glass), which has a light effervescence and is perfect for any spritzers or cocktails. Though not sparkling wines, Cobbler Mountain’s sparkling ciders are also tasty options for your next brunch feast – definitely check out the seasonal Ginger Peach Cider. Cobbler Mountain Cellars: 5909 Long Fall Ln. Delaplane, VA;
Greenhill Winery & Vineyards
Bubbly to try: Blanc de Blancs 2013, $39/bottle
Chardonnay is the signature grape of many sparkling wines worldwide for a reason: it produces elegant, rich wines with delicate fruit flavors. Greenhill Winery’s Blanc de Blancs is no exception. This sparkling wine is creamy and fruity, with notes of ripe apples, pears and freshly baked bread. Pair this sparkling wine with a springtime picnic to enjoy on one of the winery’s several outdoor spaces. Greenhill Winery & Vineyards: 23595 Winery Ln. Middleburg, VA;
Paradise Springs Winery
Bubbly to try: Aprés Sparkling Viognier, $45/bottle
Made with 100 percent viognier – Virginia’s signature grape – and using the traditional champagne method, this sparkling is rich, luscious and aromatic, with fine bubbles and a dry finish. Visitors can also try another sparkling wine in the tasting room: a vintage-dated sparkling made from chardonnay and pinot noir that the winery acquired at an auction of a closed Virginia winery back in 2011. Fans of pink wine should also keep an eye out for a possible 2016 sparkling rosé. Paradise Springs Winery: 13219 Yates Ford Rd. Clifton, VA;
St. Michaels Winery
Bubbly to try: Sparkling Vidal Blanc, $35/bottle
This Maryland wine is made with early harvest vidal blanc grapes from Hemsley Fortune Vineyard in Queenstown, Md. Vidal blanc is a hybrid grape that was developed to combine the elegant flavors of European varietals with the hardiness of American varietals, and is grown throughout Virginia and Maryland.  This vintage is currently in production at the winery – make a trip to St. Michaels to be among the first to sample this year’s wine. St. Michaels Winery: 609 S. Talbot St. St. Michaels, MD;
Bubbly to try: Blanc de Chardonnay, $35/bottle on average
Claude Thibaut and Manuel Janisson have combined the champagne tradition with Virginia terroir with their flagship Blanc de Chardonnay, a sparkling made in the traditional champagne method with chardonnay grapes grown in Monticello. The wine is soft, delicate and fruity, perfect as an aperitif or paired with a variety of foods. You can contact the winery to schedule a private tour, or buy bottles at locations throughout the DMV, including DCanter Wine Boutique in Southeast DC, Glen’s Garden Market in Northwest and Del Ray’s Planet Wine. Thibaut-Janisson: Charlottesville, VA;
Trump Winery
Bubbly to try: 2009 Sparkling Rosé, $32/bottle
Trump Winery produces a variety of serious, vintage-dated sparkling wines made traditionally from estate-grown grapes. This sparkling rosé has won a number of awards, and was rated at 86 points by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Made from chardonnay and pinot noir grapes grown in the foothills of Carter’s Mountain in Monticello, this wine is a beautiful, salmon-pink color, with ripe flavors of strawberry and cherry and a creamy texture – it’s like summertime in a glass. Trump Winery:3550 Blenheim Rd. Charlottesville, VA;

Tess Ankeny

Tess has been writing wine-related features for On Tap since 2014. She is a Certified Sommelier (CS), Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) and a Certified Wine Educator (CWE).