Bubblies for the Budget-minded

Bubblies for the Budget-minded

Everyone’s budget is a little tighter these days, but it’s still possible to celebrate with a bottle of bubbly. Which ones offer the most bang for the buck?

First, look beyond Champagne. Almost all true Champagne—made by the Methode Champenoise in the Champagne region of France using three specific varietals—starts around $30, so be prepared to get adventurous and expand your sparkling wine horizons. Virtually every wine region in the world produces bubbly: the U.S. makes sparkling wine from myriad varietals, Spain produces Cava from primarily local grapes and Italy uses the Prosecco grape for its famous sparkler. And French bubblies aren’t limited to Champagne: Alsace, Burgundy and the Loire Valley are just a few regions that make tasty, affordable sparklers called crĂ©mant using local grapes. While you’ll give up the rich, yeasty flavors of a classic Champagne, it’s still possible to get a pleasant mouthful of bubbles from a sparkling wine. RosĂ© in particular can be a great value; a full-bodied rosĂ© sparkling wine can be found for as little as $10 (compared to $50 and up for a rosĂ© Champagne).

Don’t be fooled by the lower price tags; these seductive sparklers are just as festive as Champagne.

Bellussi Prosecco di Valdobbiadene
This lively Italian sparkler, made by the Charmat method, has fresh lime aromas and tropical fruit flavors. ($14)

Louis Bouillot Cremant de Bourgogne RosĂ© Perle d’Aureore
Rosé lovers may be seduced by this creamy, well-priced Burgundy sparkler made from Pinot Noir. ($11.99)

Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace Brut RosĂ©
A full-bodied sparkling wine from France’s Alsace region, this strawberry-scented Champagne alternative is made from Pinot Noir. ($18.99)

Marquis de la Tour Brut
This crisp Loire Valley sparkler, made from Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, is bursting with apple and brioche flavors. ($9)

Mumm Napa Cuvee M
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Meunier come together in this demi-sec from California, with a slightly sweeter flavor of peach and a slightly floral nose. The sweetness makes it a perfect pairing for dessert. ($20)

Scharffenberger Cellars Brut NV
Made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, this elegant California sparkling wine has loads of fruit and vanilla. ($20)

Schramsberg Mirabelle Rosé
Another California sparkler made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, this lovely strawberry-scented rosé is full-bodied and worth the slightly higher price tag. ($25)

Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava
This buttery yet light sparkler from Spain is a great value—and the heavy pewter base on the bottle makes it seem a little pricier at the party. ($8.99)

Sofia Sparkling Blanc de Blanc 2007
A lively blend of Muscat, Pinot Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc, this fruity sparkler from California is alive with lemon flavors. ($19)

Yellowglen Pink Sparkling Wine
This Australian sparkling wine is made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay using the Charmat method, and packs crisp flavors of peach and strawberry. And with a name like Pink, it’s definitely a party wine. ($8.99)

To see our editors’ reviews of sparkling wine, visit our online buying guide at buyingguide.www.winemag.com .

Published on May 27, 2009
Topics: BubblyBudgetSparkling