Springtime Sparklers

Unconventional grapes for a classic style of wine

Don't tell Champagne we let you in on this secret: Sparking wine does not need to be made with the trifecta of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier.

Using varietals rarely infused with bubbles, these three wines are so delicious, you'll quickly be refilling your glass:

Esoteric winemaker Randall Grahm has bucked tradition again. The 2010 Bonny Doon DEWN Sparkling Albariño ($32 for 750 ml via the Boony Doon online store) has an aroma of lime zest and a refreshing acidity, as if it were a drinkable snapshot of the Santa Cruz mountains in springtime.

Russian River Valley's Salinia Wine Company may be known for its Pinot Noir and Syrah, but its unique "Twenty-Five Reasons" Pétillant Sauvignon Blanc ($23 for 750 ml from Bi-Rite Market) has captured our imagination. Rich with tropical fruit aromas and a tart, yeasty finish, this skin-fermented sparkler is anything but ordinary.

Off-dry and spicy, the NV "Tout'en Bulle" Pétillant-Naturel from Côtes du Rhône producer Domaine Gramenon ($28 for 750 ml from Arlequin Wine Merchant) is made from a blend of Clairette Blanche and Viognier. Its nose of toasty baked apples is balanced against bright acidity, making the wine an ideal opener (or closer) for Sunday brunch.