In an ideal world, I’d have the Wine Guy drop some Champagne/sparkling white knowledge bombs on ya’ll, but I’m not sure that’s going to happen in time. Luckily, the good folks over at Slashfood have put together a compendium of suggestions for New Year’s Eve. They have rated eight brands of bubbly of varying tastes and low price points, so if you are clueless, you should find this helpful. They even have a bottle of champagne that tastes decent and costs, yes, $4.
Personally, I enjoy a good Spanish Cava or Prosecco from Italy. If you’re looking for something domestic, oddly enough New Mexico is one region in the US that is at the forefront of sparkling whites. It’s almost hard to believe, but one of my favorites (which made the Slashfood list) is Gruet’s Brut. It might be difficult to find, but it’s only $14 dollars and worth the money.
Either of those three will do and neither will give you that awful hangover in the morning. Unless you drink too much. And unlike good Champagne, neither of these sparkling whites will run you more than $15 dollars or so. Still, if you’re struggling and not sure what to pick out for a pre-party or for the stroke of midnight any of these eight bottles will do.
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?