According to a recent Decanter story, worldwide Champagne shipments have plummeted more than 20 percent worldwide. Apparently people are realizing that $180 for a bottle of wine just might be a bit...much...in these economic times.
Still, we have to buy our bubbly for the holidays. I'll probably drink some over Christmas, too, but New Year's is kind of a no-brainer for sparkling wine. Here's my advice: skip the Champagne, but skip the Cook's on the bottom shelf, too. Here are eight of my favorite holiday sparklers that taste delicious but won't break the bank. Best of all? Most of these bottles are easily attainable at any store, so you could walk in with this list and score most of them.
See the complete list after the jump.
1. Segura Viudas Brut Reserva ($9) is a Cava from Spain, made in the traditional Champagne method for just a fraction of the cost. The Segura Viudas is delicious and sophisticated on its own or with a splash of pomegranate juice.
2. Korbel Brut Rose ($10) from California is a pretty, strawberry-flavored bubbly with just a hint of sweetness. My husband likes to call it our breast cancer awareness bubbly.
3. Domaine Ste. Michelle's sparkling wines--Cuvee Brut, Blanc de Blancs, or Blanc de Noirs--are all delicious. This Washington-based winemaker also produces a Frizzante, which you should totally get if you dig sweeter wine. All are priced around $12.
4. Would you believe that good sparkling wine can come from New Mexico? Gruet's Brut sparking wine ($14) may be hard to find, but if you do spy it, snap it up. It's deliciously complex and sophisticated.
5. Rotari's Talento Riserva ($19), an Italian bubbly made from 90 percent Chardonnay and 10 percent Pinot Noir, is aged an extra two years to give it a delicious yeastiness and a pretty gold color. It's a little more expensive than most of my recommendations, but worth it for the extra complexity gained from longer ageing.
6. Lunetta Prosecco ($13) is another Italian bubbly made from the Prosecco grape. It's lighter and more lively than complex Champagne.
7. Barefoot Bubbly Brut ($10) tastes exactly like a green apple Jolly Rancher. It's made in the Charmat method, which produces less refined bubbles than the traditional method, but this wine would definitely appeal to a wide variety of people at a party.
8. Friexenet Cordon Negro Brut 375-mL bottles ($4) are perfect for those times when you're popping the cork alone. Friexnet is a Spanish Cava, and it's easy to find in its signature black bottle. The wine inside is fresh and lively, an absolute steal for the price. It comes in full-size bottles as well.
Do you have a favorite budget bubbly? Please share!
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