The sound of corks popping as people stride forth to ring in the new year with a glass of bubbly can get pricey. While a top-notch bottle of champagne can cost upwards of $100, experts say consumers can still get great value for far less.
Before heading to the liquor store ask yourself how much you’re willing to spend. Then choose whether you are going for champagne or sparkling wine. All champagnes are sparkling wines, but not all sparkling wines are champagne.
“The word champagne would be important to start off with [because] that will denote that this is truly the finest sparkling wine made on this planet from the champagne region of France,” says Jason Yamasaki, a sommelier from Chambar restaurant in Vancouver.
According to Yamasaki, there are some “incredible sparkling wines that are made in the same style of champagne that could probably exceed the value of certain champagnes.” He says just the opposite is also true. There are some bottles from the Champagne region that don’t “merit the word or price tag associated with it.”
For around $16 a bottle, Yamasaki says Jaume Serra Cristalino will offer you exceptional value made in the same traditional method as the great wines from France’s Champagne region. It’s made in Spain and has a citrus, toasty flavour.
“Bone dry and it is an exceptional value,” says Yamasaki.
For just under $25 a bottle, British Columbia has a sparkling wine to offer that can be a great alternative to champagne. Blue Mountain Gold Lables Brut from the Okanagan Falls region is also made in the same method as champagne. Yamasaki says it has crisp flavour reflecting the cooler climate region with a whisper of Champagne finesse to it.
Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs is produced California’s Napa Valley region and is priced around $52. It is richer, broader and slightly creamier in style.
Yamsaki says these wines are inspired by the region of Champagne.
Michel Loriot is a well-known small grower-producer that specializes in Pinot Meunier. It’s not as powerful as a pure Pinot Noir, but Yamasaki says it provides a “beautiful supple texture” that is “slightly fruitier in style.” Prices are generally under $60 for a bottle.
If you’re willing to splurge on that once- a-year Champagne, Yamasaki recommends the Bollinger R.D. Champage.
“This is simply one of the greatest wines on planet earth,” he says.
“Beautiful flavour of citrus, and lemon and a slightly creamy curdy quality that will finish off with those luxurious nuances of freshly, baked croissants.”
But it will cost you. Prices range from $430- $500.
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