Bubbles for Every Budget

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again—sparkling wines are so versatile and food friendly, it’s a shame most people think of them as special occasion bottles. But the simple fact is that bubbles (especially Champagne) will always be connected with those occasions and celebrations. We’re guessing more corks fly on New Year’s Eve than any other day of the year. Who are we to argue? So, if you’re looking for the real deal, we’ve got some great buys on several true Champagnes.

Check these out:

  • Pol Roger Brut, $49.00 (reg. $60.00)
  • Drappier Carte d’Or Brut, $34.95 (reg. $49.00)
  • Aubry Brut Premier, $34.95 (reg. $45.00)
  • Zoemie De Sousa Brut Classique, $34.95 (reg. $44.00)

If Champagne isn’t your thing (or doesn’t quite fit your budget), Spanish Cava is a great alternative. Torre Oria is one of our best buys. We have it in both Brut and Brut Rosé for just $10.99. If you’re looking for an even better buy, may we suggest the Segura Viudas Brut Réserva, priced at just $15.99 for a 1.5 liter magnum. It’s an amazing value.

A big step up in quality (and price) are the sparklers from Raventós i Blanc. Wine production there started in 1497, and they produced the first Cava in Spain in 1872. The estate as it is now was founded in 1984 by Josep-Maria Raventos, whowanted to create a small, quality oriented winery that would stand apart from the large cooperatives in the area. As a part of that philosopy, for the current vintage and going forward he has chosen not to label his wines as Cava. We have his excellent 2012 L’Hereu Reserva for $18.99, and his outstanding 2012 L’Hereu d’Nit Reserva Rosado for $24.00.

Italy’s Prosecco makes for another affordable alternative. The Zuccolo Prosecco Extra Dry and the Primaterra Prosecco Brut are two of our favorites, both priced at a very affordable $12.99. Chile’s Undurraga produces a very good Brut as well that sells for just $9.99. It definitely outperforms its price point.

California’s terroir has attracted the attention of some of Champagne’s top houses including Louis Roederer. Their Roederer Estate consistently produces top quality sparklers for about half the price of entry level Champagne. Try their $23.00 Brut, or if you prefer pink, the $28.00 Brut Rosé. Moving north to Washington, Syncline is making some of the most intriguing wines from grapes grown along the Columbia Gorge. Their Scintillation Brut Rosé is no exception. A blend of 58 percent Pinot and 42 percent Chardonnay, it’s on Member Sale for just $24 (reg. $30.00) while in-store supplies last.

When you think of New Mexico, you probably don’t think wine—think again. That state’s Gruet Winery specializes in Methode Champenoise sparklers that are amazing values.  We have their Brut, $15.99, Blanc de Noir, $15.99, their Brut Rosé, $16.99 and the Sauvage Blanc de Blanc, $17.99.

Back to France, Alsace is home to Lucien Albrecht and their Cremant d’Alsace Brut Rosé which offers another very affordable alternative to Champagne at just $20.00 a bottle. But it is the holidays, and if you can afford to splurge, here are a few, price no object, Champagne suggestions:

  • Bollinger Special Cuvée, $89.00
  • Billecart Salmon Brut Rosé, $99.00
  • 2004 Pol Roger Brut, $99.00
  • 2000 Egly-Ouriet Brut Grand Cru, $120.00
  • 2004 Bollinger La Grande Année, $154.00
  • 2004 Veuve Clicquot La Grand Dame, $155.00
  • 2002 Nicolas Feuillatte Palmes d’Or Rosé, $215.00
  • 2000 Krug Brut, $279.00

If you can afford any of those, then it’s time to break out the caviar. As an aside, the spring waters in our own Hagerman Valley close to the Snake River are home to native sturgeon that produce some top quality caviar. Definitely worthy!