Sparkling Wine For The Summer - Never Go Wrong!
Summer is the time for happy hour on the patio, steaks sizzling on the grill, and bubbles in your wine glass! Break out the best bubbly cans and bottles with this list of sparkling wines made for sipping poolside … or wherever your summer adventure takes you.
If there’s one thing we know about sparkling wines, it’s that these cans and bottles are a crowd pleaser. After all, it’s hard not to love a refreshing glass of vino on a hot summer day, and the little bubbles make the summer drinking experience extra fun. That’s exactly why sparkling wines are so popular for big celebrations like weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries, but you don’t need a marked day on the calendar to enjoy a great glass of bubbly!
In our opinion, good weather and spending time with family and friends is reason enough to break out your favorite sparkling wines. And thanks to all of the great sparkling wine producers around the world, now there are plenty of options to choose from. Even if you can’t find these exact bottles, you can probably find similar styles at your local liquor or grocery store. Ask a store associate for a recommendation that fits your budget and your taste preference, and then enjoy all that sparkling wine has to offer this season.
FIND AN AFFORDABLE SPARKLING WINE
A big myth (that needs to be debunked right now) is that sparkling wines are expensive. This might be true in the Champagne region of France, but that’s because those wine makers must follow an intensive process to get the word “Champagne'' on their fancy labels. While these wines really are all that they are cracked up to be, you shouldn’t get discouraged while shopping for sparkling wine! There are plenty of other great sparkling wines around the world worth trying — at a fraction of the price, and that look just as good on your outdoor table.
Picking an affordable wine starts with the label. If your budget is top of mind, stay away from sparkling wines labeled Champagne, and look for sparkling wines labeled as Cava or Prosecco instead. These bottles hail from Spain and Italy, and have a lighter flavor that is perfect for summer. Keep in mind that sparkling wines under $10 will often be really sweet, perhaps too sweet for your taste, while wines around $20 will be significantly better. These affordable wines will often have fruity flavors that pair well with summertime dishes and lighter desserts like strawberry shortcake and sorbet.
PAIR YOUR SPARKLING WINE WITH FOOD
We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again! The best part about sparkling wine is that it almost always pairs well with food. Hearty summer dishes like pulled pork, fried chicken, and creamy pasta salads all taste better with a glass of bubbly in hand. That’s because the bubbles help to break up the fat in the dish, and wine is lighter than beer so you don’t feel as full after enjoying the meal. Even a platter of French fries works well with sparkling wine, and don’t even get us started on burgers and brats!
So instead of thinking about what food you should make, enjoy whatever dinner is easiest with a glass of sparkling wine in hand. The only time you might want to switch to something else is with rich and sweet desserts like a scoop of ice cream with fudge sauce, chocolate peanut butter pie, or apple crisp. In those cases, grab a dessert wine, or bring out an after-dinner cheese, fruit, and cookie board that pairs best with bubbles.
ENJOY THESE SPARKLING WINES THIS SUMMER
Sparkling Riesling — If you’re enjoying a potluck lunch with family and friends, a sparkling Riesling might be the perfect fit. Rieslings are fruity and have sweeter tasting notes than other wines, and offer up great flavor for summer spreads. Fruit salad, cheeses and figs, and vegetable platters work well with Rieslings. This off-dry sparkling wine from Dr. Loosen gets great reviews and can be found for less than $20 a bottle.
Sparkling Rosé — Just when we thought regular rosé couldn’t get any better, producers went ahead and made a sparkling version! Blush colored wines aren’t always sweet, though they tend to be fruitier than white wines, and are informally known as the wine made for summer. This Rosé with Bubbles is an award-winning wine and our personal favorite. Plus, it comes in a can so you can bring it anywhere without the risk of glass breaking on the pool deck!
Prosecco — Prosecco is one of those year-round favorite wines, but in the summer it makes the best brunch wine. Mimosas on the patio? Yes, please! Making a batch of mid-day Aperol spritzes? Of course! Prosecco is sweet and fizzy, making it the ideal wine to have on hand during your summer day-drinking adventures. La Marca is a great buy that is easy to find, and the Tiffany blue label looks extra elegant when displayed at home … but it’s hard to go wrong with any Prosecco! You’ll probably be mixing it with something else anyways.
Cava — If you love Champagne in the summer, but just thinking of the price of your favorite bottle is making you sweat, then give Cava a chance! Cava is made almost the same way as Champagne, but with different grapes. Characterized by Brioche tasting notes and more minerality than sweetness, this wine is similar to the “real deal” at only a portion of the expensive Champagne price. A great bottle of Cava, such as this one from Segura Viudas is around $25 … but Vivino has a whole list to get you started on this sparkling wine from Spain.
Champagne — While you can find more affordable summer sparkling wines than those from Champagne, sometimes a special occasion calls for a special wine. Keep the cost of the bottle under $100 by choosing a non-vintage wine, such as this top-rated bottle from Veuve Clicquot. Its description claims vanilla, brioche, fruity, and almond tasting notes, and costs about $70 — a reasonable price for an authentic Champagne wine.
The Summer Collection — For a summer of sipping sparkling wines AND sipping margaritas (yes, you read that right) you can’t go wrong with this kit that includes both White Wine with Bubbles, Rosé with Bubbles, AND a cocktail kit! That’s right — now you can have your sparkling wine and your cocktail too. And since the cocktail kit uses wine, you’ll also get a 12-pack of red and white wine. It’s a total of 36 bottles of wine and two cocktail canisters for a summer of sipping delicious drinks with friends.
HOW TO SERVE SPARKLING WINE
Pouring the perfect glass of bubbly begins by popping the bottle of wine … but it shouldn’t really be a pop, unless you're cool with wasting some of the wine in the process. Luckily, we have a guide so you can open a bottle of bubbly like a real sommelier, and avoid wasting wine or injuring anyone in the process.
The other factor is temperature. Make sure the wine is chilled before you open it. Sparkling wine should be served at fridge temperature for the most crisp and refreshing drinking experience. Do your friends a favor, and always serve them cold sparkling wine! If there’s any left in the bottle after pouring the first glasses, stick it in an ice bucket or the fridge so the second glass is just as good.And speaking of pouring … pour the wine gently into a wine glass that gives the bubbles room to rise. This can be accomplished through a flute, Riesling glass, or even couple-style glassware with a deep space in the center. Or you can do it our favorite way (and the easy way), and enjoy wine from a can. Just crack the top and you’re set! Like a can of beer, a can of wine with bubbles is refreshing and perfect for summer … so wherever you enjoy your sparkling wine, you can enjoy it in a matter of seconds. Cheers!
Erin Hooker is a writer with experience creating wine, food, and interior design content. She began contributing to Graham + Fisk’s blog in 2021.