Best for Less: Sparkling Wines for New Years

Have you ever heard of Cheapism.com? I hadn’t until a few weeks ago when I was contacted by one of their representatives about their findings for the best cheap champagnes. Of course, a true Champagne (from the right grape and region of France) is seldom if ever to be found “cheap,” but you can find plenty of lovely sparkling wines (the larger category that Champagne belongs to) in any price range.

Their suggestions?

Experts note that not all sparkling wines pass as a substitute Champagne, and champagne reviews discuss factors such as bubbles, sweetness, and taste. Topping Cheapism’s list of best champagne buys are Roederer Estate NV Brut, Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut NV, and Freixenet Cordon Negro Extra Dry — all priced at less than $20.

And if you try any of them to ring in the New Year, please let me know.

our sparkling wine choices for 2011Todd and I prefer our sparkling wines on the sweeter side, so those Brut recommendations just don’t do much for us. We rang in 2011 with a couple of inexpensive Italian sparkling wines on the sweeter side: one white and one red.

Wait, red sparkling wine? Oh yes, my friends, it’s out there and it’s fabulous!

The red is Costarosa Sangue di Giuda Oltrepo Pavese and is, as best I can tell as the label is 100% in Italian, a blended red wine with just enough bubbles to keep things interesting. It was recommended by the guy in the liquor store when I said I wanted anything but Brut. Good call.

The white is Ca’D’Gal Lumine Moscato d’Asti. Moscato is very popular these days as more are discovering this sweet wine in both still and sparkling styles. I think Moscato is doing quite a lot to dispel the negative opinions many people have of champagne. And we just a bottle of Cupcake M0scato d’Asti with Thanksgiving dinner that was pretty fabulous, too.

And sweet champagne is nothing new–in Europe it’s always been available but not a lot made it to the United States as our palates were, somehow, not interested in sweet wines.

Thank goodness times have changed!

We haven’t decided, yet, what we’ll be sipping when ’11 turns to ’12, what about you?

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