Winebits 160: Holiday sparkling wine

A look at what some of the rest of the wine world is recommending that we drink as bubbly season nears its zenith:

? French bubbly that's not from Champagne: Eric Asimov of the New York Times lists 10 French sparklers made elsewhere in the country, and his choices include some of the Wine Curmudgeon's favorites — several from Alsace and the Bonnard from Burgundy. What's really interesting about these is that many of them are less than $20, and represent real value.

? Wine Spectator recommends Cristalino: Yes, the world's greatest value bubbly is listed in the magazine's sparkling wine story, albeit it at the very end and with an 85. Even Korbel is in there, and with an 86 (yet another example of why scores are silly, since there is no way Korbel is more interesting than Cristalino). In fact, I'm beginning to worry about the Spectator, since the list had several wines that I regularly recommend. if the Spectator and the Wine Curmudgeon find common ground, the world must be upside down.

? 10 great Champagnes: From Jon Bonne at the San Francisco Chronicle, and don't be surprised if you haven't heard of most of them. This is a truly a Champagne-ophile's wish list, and some of them will be almost impossible to find (assuming you can afford them).