Photo: © StockFood / Kröger & Gross
We all want to live the Champagne life, but if you’re looking to spend less than $20 it might be hard to pop those bottles. Not to worry! There are plenty of sparkling wines beyond Champagne that are incredibly delicious and much more affordable. These will be your new best friends this holiday season—and beyond.
This Italian sparkling wine is usually peach-flavored, big-bubbled, and high-value. Made from the Glera grape (which used to be called Prosecco, hence the name of the wine), it’s a fun, no-fuss bubbly. Prosecco is my go-to party bottle or for making sparkling punch. Here are some labels to try.
Bocelli, $19: As if Andrea Bocelli’s family isn’t busy enough hearing him sing around the world, they also make wine in northern Italy. This Prosecco is one of my favorites for its intense summer-ripe peachiness.
Mionetto, $15: A great light peachy option, this is widely available. Basically: easy to find and easy to drink!
Lamberti, $15: With its fresh white peach and yellow apple notes, this one’s slightly more elegant than others on this list. So if that’s your style, Lamberti is the one.
The absolute best-kept secret in all of bubbly, crémant is made the exact same way as Champagne, but since it’s not from the Champagne region in France, it can’t share the title. Both white and rosé crémants from Alsace are my favorites and can be found for almost half the cost of pricey Champagne. I’ve never met one I didn’t like, but here are two I had recently that were great.
Dopff & Irion Blanc de Blancs Brut, $20: Made with the light and lovely Pinot Blanc grape, this is light and elegant with a nice mix of green apple and lemon flavor.
Lucien Albrecht Brut Rosé, $20: Made with all Pinot Noir grapes, this has great strawberry and raspberry notes with a lot of minerality and hearty bubbles. Totally delicious.
Cava is Spain’s answer to sparkling wine. Less fruity than Prosecco and less nutty than Champagne, it’s a good go-between and a great value. The one to try:
Juve y Camps, $16: This is the bubbly of choice of Spain’s royal family, and hands-down my favorite Cava producer. The Reserva de la Familia has great green apple and toast flavor, and the rosé is even better—100% Pinot Noir, full-bodied and almost savory. It’s awesome with a festive charcuterie plate, especially one that has lots of really good jamon.
You can find sparkling wine made right here in the U.S. It’s often made with the two grapes used mainly for Champagne, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Scharffenberger Brut Excellence, $20: This one’s from California’s Anderson Valley, which because of its cool temperatures makes it ideal for growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The flavor? Creamy vanilla and almond notes.
Mumm Napa Brut Prestige, $20: All of the grapes for this label were picked at night and early morning by hand in order to maintain acidity—crucial for sparkling wines. Complex with white flowers and apples, this one will fool your guests into thinking it’s much more expensive than it really is.
One last tip: Sparkling wine prices get competitive around the holidays, so you’ll often be able to find bottles for a few dollars less than normal. It’s the wine world’s holiday gift to bubbly lovers!
Alyssa Vitrano is a wine expert with certification in Viticulture & Vinification and Blind Tasting from the American Sommelier Association. She is also the founder of Grapefriend.com, a website that combines her love of the grape and of pop culture.
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What’s your favorite kind of sparkling wine?