Nothing screams celebration like a glass of bubbles. You don't have to look far to find affordable, locally made drops. The burgeoning Australian sparkling wine scene makes it increasingly easy to fill your glass with home-grown fizz. From Victoria's Yarra Valley and King Valley, and Orange and Tumbarumba in New South Wales to South Australia's Adelaide Hills and Tasmania, there's plenty of diversity bubbling away across the nation. Traditional-method fizz, bright prosecco-styles, moscato, adventurous pet-nats – there's a world of options to explore. Better yet, these forward-thinking producers make great sparkling that won't break the bank.
La Prova Prosecco 2021
King Valley, Vic $26
Winemaker Sam Scott is based in the Adelaide Hills but looked to the alpine King Valley when sourcing fruit for his prosecco. After several trips to the region, he formed a friendship with Chrismont Wines' Arnie and Jo Pizzini and their winemaker and viticulturalist Warren Proft. "I have been buying their fruit ever since 2015," Scott says. "The King Valley is a great region for prosecco and they have championed the variety since inception – by refining the Australian style and committing to it in their vineyards. It is now synonymous with their region from their efforts." Scott's La Prova drop is light, bright, citrus-packed and gobsmackingly good value. As day starters go, it's better than Berocca. 11 per cent alcohol.
Find it at: laprova.com.au
Sinapius 2017 Blanc de Noirs
Pipers Brook, Tas $65
The small, devoted team at Sinapius Vineyard don't make much sparkling but what they produce (using fruit from their Tassie vines) is spectacular. Their first release was a 2006, 100 per cent chardonnay left on lees for more than 10 years. Their second (the 2017 Blanc de Noirs) was made from pinot noir and pinot meunier grown in the vineyard's coolest pocket. It has an intensity and elegance about it. Baked strawberry tart, mixed spice and delightfully delicate bubbles. Just 1788 bottles were produced. "With our high-density planting and low yields, we have been more focused on our still wines," says proprietor Linda Morice. "But we love the opportunity to release these sparkling wines when we can, as one-offs and with a point of difference in style. They're not what people may expect when they think of Tasmanian sparkling." Sinapius has a NV 2018/2019 to follow. Now that's something to look forward to. 12.5 per cent alcohol.
Find it at: sinapius.com.au
NV Billy Button Wildflower Prosecco
King Valley/Alpine Valleys, Vic $22
Winemaker Jo Marsh is no new kid on the block (she was formerly the sparkling maker at Seppelts) and now makes her own range of Billy Button wines. Marsh has a thing for Italian varieties and she and winemaker hubby Glenn James aren't afraid to experiment with alternative varieties sourced from local growers. The couple usually sources prosecco from the Alpine Valleys but the fruit was destroyed by smoke taint so this year's NV prosecco is 100 per cent King Valley fruit. The bright-as-a-button prosecco is particularly good value. It's juicy (embrace those nashi pear flavours) but finishes dry so is utterly moreish. At this price, you'd be wise to invest in a couple of bottles – or you'll be left high and dry, glass empty and craving more. 10.5 per cent alcohol.
Find it at: billybuttonwines.com.au
Grey-Smith Blanc de Blancs NV
Mount Gambier, SA $50
If ever a wine summed up the winemaker, this is it. Ulrich Grey-Smith is quite the creative character. Based on South Australia's Limestone Coast, he's a cheerful chap, and this sparkling chardonnay emanates similar charm. "It spent five years on tirage (on lees in the same bottle), was hand-picked and made using traditional methods," he says. "I love the blanc de blancs style. It is a true expression of chardonnay. This is different to a lot of the traditional sparklings on the market, like champagnes and proseccos. It's a fresh wine but has some really good aged characters." Zippy, textural and dry (thanks to zero dosage, the sugar or sweet wine liquor often added to sparkling wine after fermentation), it's a disarming little number. A fine mineral bead tickles the tongue, and nectarine, white peach, lemon zest, fresh-baked bread and subtle gin and tonic characters are a delight. 12 per cent alcohol.
Find it at: grey-smith.com.au
Chalmers Col Fondo
Heathcote, Vic $35
The Chalmers family are champions of alternative, climate-appropriate varieties (many of which are tongue twisters) and this col fondo is a great example of what can be done with aglianico, the black grape from southern Italy. This aglianico rosato is aged on its lees and left unfiltered, resulting in a wine that looks cloudy in the glass. Embrace the sediment. The drop's second fermentation took place in the bottle (akin to champagne) and the result is dry, savoury and fine on the fizz front. It's a vagabond of a wine – wild and adventurous. The tart, red fruit flavours beg for sundowners by the beach or a barbecue with mates.13 per cent alcohol.
Find it at: chalmers.com.au
Dawning Day Misty Morning Pet Nat 2021
Southern Highlands, NSW $33
This refreshing, flavour-packed, bright pet nat is like diving headfirst into a watermelon. Rose petals flutter in the air. The head-turning mix of grenache, arinto, zibibbo, and pinot gris (some of which was sourced from Ricca Terra Farms in South Australia's Riverland) were co-fermented on skins and finished fermenting dry in the bottle to give it maximum fizz (open carefully – she's a frother). This is a heartening example of pet-nat (naturally sparkling wine) done really well. Dawning Day Farms is a small family-owned and operated micro-vineyard located in Exeter in New South Wales' Southern Highlands. The family donates 10 per cent of Dawning Day wine sales to those in need (through organisations such as Oz Harvest, Rainbow of the Southern Highlands, and Shoalhaven Homeless Hub). Bubbles with a side of social conscience. Bravo. 12 per cent alcohol.
Find it at: dawningday.com.au