When we mention sparkling wine, many of us immediately think of toasting in the new year or splurging on a pricey bottle for a celebration. Well, I am here to let you know that sparkling wine is not limited to Champagne or special occasions, and it doesn’t have to break the bank.
One of my favorite backyard sights — chilled bubbles on ice!
What Is Champagne?
So, what exactly is Champagne? To officially label a bottle of sparkling wine, Champagne, not only does it have to come from that specific region of northern France, but it also has to be crafted under very specific guidelines. Combined with the fact that the Champagne region is relatively small, it is nearly impossible to find a bottle of Champagne for under $30 these days.
France paved the way for quality sparkling wine production, but like many other wine-making countries, the US has responded to the challenge. Here are a few of my favorite domestic sparklers, each a gem at its particular price.
Sparkling wine is bottled under intense pressure. Chilling the wine extra cold before serving will reduce the risk of a popped cork and bubbly spray.
7 Great Value Sparkling Wines
- Michelle, Brut, Columbia Valley, WA, NV, $10 - Balanced, approachable, with notes of golden delicious apple and lemon.
- Piper Sonoma, Brut, Sonoma County, CA, NV, $13 - bursting with bright, ripe apple and peach.
- Gruet, Blanc de Noirs, Albuquerque, NM, NV, $16 - rich mouthfeel, creamy texture, with notes of red cherries.
- Mumm, Brut Prestige, Napa, CA, NV, $19 - crisp, with notes of toasty vanilla, spice, and ripe melon (try their Cuvée M, if you like a sweeter style).
- J, Cuvée 20, Brut, Russian River Valley, CA, NV, $22 - bright apple, lemon curd, with herbaceous notes (their Brut Rosé is outstanding, as well).
- Roederer, Brut, Anderson Valley, CA, NV, $25 - nutty undertones, notes of freshly baked biscuits and crisp, ripe pear.
- Schramsberg, Blanc de Blancs, North Coast, CA, 2011, $33 - tropical fruits, baked brioche, with a mineral-driven finish.
Although Champagne flutes showcase the bubbles in sparkling wines, I tend to use a traditional coupe or white wine glass to better experience the aromas.
Do you have more questions on the various styles and levels of sweetness of sparkling wine from around the world and how to decipher a sparkling wine label? Read Mary's informative post: Bubbles Galore!
What to Pair with Bubbly: Recipes from the Kitchn
What are your favorite domestic sparkling wines — in particular, any under $10 that you love? Do you have any favorite pairing suggestions for bubbles?
(Image credits: Jayme Henderson)