With all the December holidays in the rear view, it’s time to start thinking about New Year’s Eve and all the bottles of bubbly you’re going to pop this year. While Champagne by definition must come from the Champagne region of France, we’re using the term below for all sparkling wines, because, well, we want to. These are the bottles that represent the best affordable sparkling wine to pop as the ball drops.
Cantine Maschio Prosecco Brut $12
Prosecco is a sparkling Italian wine made with Prosecco grapes and it’s normally on the sweeter side. This particular Prosecco, Cantine Maschio Prosecco Brut, is a light sparkler with notes of peach, almond and orange blossoms that pairs incredibly well with apps, antipasto and hors d’oeuvres.
Korbel Organic Brut $13
Yes, you read that correctly; Korbel is on the list of best affordable champagne. Korbel has been one of our go-to bottles of bubbly for as long as we can remember. The California Champagne made with organically grown grapes is tasty, cheap and, most importantly, available just about everywhere. Korbel Organic Brut–created in the classic Korbel style “crisp, delicate and bright,” as the winemaker describes it–pulled in a Wine Spectator score of 90 and also made their Top 100 of 2016 list.
Dr. Loosen Sparkling Riesling $13
Dr. Loosen has quite a history. The German estate has been in the same family for over two centuries and produces some of the region’s finest sparkling wines. Their non-vintage Sparkling Riesling is an affordable, entry level bottle to Sekt (German sparkling wine) because of it’s bright, fruity notes and a second fermentation that really puts the bubbles over the top. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s rated above 90 by both Wine Enthusiast and Tasting Panel despite the fact it costs less than an average six pack.
Nino Franco Brut Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Rustico $16
Described by wine tasting experts far more experienced than us as being “one of the top sparkling deals in the world” (Wilfred Wong of Wine.com) and having “a smooth finish that leave[s] the palate refreshed and wanting more” (Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate), Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco Superiore is a non-vintage sparkling wine that’s a superior pick compared to most grocery store options in the same price range. It’s fresh. It’s lively. And it has the citrus notes and fruit flavors you expect in a sparkler. In other words, it will impress your guests without breaking the bank.
Roederer Estate Brut $22
Roederer Estate is a label you’re probably familiar with because they’ve been making highly rated sparkling wines with their own grapes for decades. While we’re fans of all their wines, the Roederer Estate Brut is our favorite because it has a complex, rich body filled with fruit that’s also delicate and nuanced. Don’t just take our word for it, though. It’s rated 90+ by everyone from Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast, to Connoisseurs’ Guide and Decanter, along with being #25 on the Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2017.
Ferrari Trento Brut $25
The Ferrari of Trento might be related to the Ferrari of Maranello in name alone, but Giulio Ferrari spent his entire lifetime building a brand of sparkling wine to compete against the best French Champagnes in the same way that Enzo built a brand to dominate racing. More than a century later, Ferrari Trento Brut is the perfect example of its creator’s legacy with a nose of a floral bouquet and ripe apples paired with a taste that harmoniously combines “a faint suggestion of ripe fruit and attractive hints of crusty bread.” If you can find a bottle, buy it. You won’t regret it.
Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve $30
Made of a combination of different grapes–20% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 40% Pinot Meunier–Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve is an authentic Champagne from Champagne, France, that combines the elegance, delicacy, roundness, structure and fruitiness of all its component grapes to create something greater than the sum of its parts. It pairs well with foods ranging from lobster to chicken, but the floral aroma of white fruits and the flavor of lemon, pastry and blackcurrant also make it a unique, refreshing glass all on its own.
Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs 2012 $30
Though widely available at around thirty bucks, Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs 2012 is a North Coast, California, vintage sparkling wine with a suggested retail price just over forty bucks. It’s at the higher end of the spectrum of what we consider affordable, but this vintage wine has aged as gracefully as our favorite vintage SUVs. Aroma of red cherry, peach, apricot, orange and mango. Palate of raspberry, candied pineapple, guava and ginger. Crisp entry. Balanced acidity. It’s an Editor’s Choice and highly rated by all the wine institutions that matter. Most importantly, it’s incredibly delicious and one hell of a deal at thirty bucks.