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The Explore 4 Gift Pack“Alterna-Sparklers” (750mL)

From the Wine Shop

The Explore 4 Gift Pack “Alterna-Sparklers” (750mL)

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“You’ve heard it before: 'All Champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is Champagne.' But there are many great sparkling wines made elsewhere—and many are crafted in the same way as Champagne but cost much less.”

Grow your wine knowledge and drink well while doing it: That’s the idea behind “Explore 4,” our most popular monthly club. Here’s a chance to check it out—no commitment required!

“Explore 4” surveys the vast landscape of wine and breaks it into small, digestible bites. Each month, we select four bottles that fit a theme, allowing members to experience a diversity of styles while developing their own palate preferences. It’s an ongoing exploration of wine through a sommelier’s eyes and there’s no more effective, and enjoyable, way to learn about wine.


In this edition of the Explore 4, offered as a one-time purchase, we assembled an all-star roster of affordable sparkling wines—the best “non-Champagne” options out there. Here’s what’s in the box, which includes a full-color booklet that explains the theme and the wines in vivid detail:

The Region: Treviso, Veneto, Italy
The Wine: La Spinée, Veneto Bianco Frizzante “Pet Nat”

This wine is a traditional style of dry, lightly sparkling (frizzante) wine made in the ancestral method (metodo antico in Italian; pétillant naturel in French), wherein an unfinished wine completes its fermentation in the bottle, leaving behind both effervescence and yeast sediment. In addition to Glera (a.k.a. Prosecco), it incorporates some Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio as well. It is unfiltered, and thus has a cloudy appearance when poured.

The Region: Loire Valley, France
The Wine: Sébastien Brunet, Vouvray Brut Traditionnelle MV

Here’s yet another way to say “Champagne method,” or “classic method”: Méthode Traditionnelle. This wine might otherwise be labeled as Crémant de Loire, but the Vouvray AOC has its own designation for dry, sparkling Chenin Blanc. It undergoes a second fermentation in bottle, à la Champagne. Upon completing 18 months of lees aging, it was disgorged and given modest dosage (sugar addition) of 6 grams/liter.

The Region: Penedès, Catalonia, Spain
The Wine: Avinyó Brut Reserva Cava 2019

The wine is made from 60% Macabeo, 25% Xarel-lo, and 15% Parellada from organically-farmed estate vines planted from 1945 to 2017 at Can Fontanals. The base wine then ferments in temperature-controlled stainless steel. After cold stabilization, the wine begins its secondary fermentation in bottle in March. It is then aged 18 months to 24 months on the lees before being disgorged on demand. Dosage is 6 grams/liter.

The Region: Sicily, Italy
The Wine: Murgo, Metodo Classico Brut Rosé 2019

The Nerello Mascalese grape, the driving force of Etna reds, has invited comparisons to Pinot Noir, and, as expressed in sparkling form, it delivers a great mix of bright fruit and smoky savor. Sourcing 100% Nerello Mascalese from their high-altitude vineyards on the eastern slopes of the volcano, the Murgos macerate the grapes on their skins for about 24 hours to extract the delicate salmon-pink color. This wine was aged on its lees for two years before it was disgorged. 

  • Alcohol14%

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