Sparkling Wines Better Than Real-Deal Champagne

Sparkling Wine (ThinkStockPhotos)

It’s that time of year to break out the bubbly, but Champagne, which is the label  for sparklers made in the Champagne region of France, is just one of many choices. “Sparkling wine, as one might expect, is the term used for everything effervescent made outside of the Champagne district, even in France," Kelley Wisniewski of H&F Bottle Shop in Atlanta, Ga., told Yahoo Shine in an email. There are plenty of fizzy options from other places around the world that might lack the Champagne name but will save you a pretty penny.

1. La Marca Prosecco. The Italian sparkling wine, under $20 a bottle, boasts an impressive 90 out of 100 score from Wine Spectator. It also gets the thumbs-up from San Francisco Whole Foods’ assistant wine buyer Lyndsay Bazile, who tells Yahoo, “We can hardly keep it in stock.”

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2. NV Schloss Gobelsburg Brut Réserve.The Austrian bubbly, which goes for about $30, has been bottled by monks since the 1100s, according to Julie Cappellano, wine expert at Formaggio Kitchen South End in Boston. “It’s the best non-Champagne wine, ever,” she tells Yahoo. The wine blends the native greener gruner veltliner grape with pinot noir and riesling. “It’s a great drink to pour when guests are just arriving,” Cappellano says. With its creaminess and minerality, it is “very Champagne-like.”

3. Crémant du Jura, Domaine de Montbourgeau.
This variety is from the eastern region of France. It has a fancy French label, minus the Champagne price tag, selling for less than $25. Made from chardonnay grapes, the cold-climate wine is a blanc de blancs bubbly, according to Cappellano, who says with a “nice minerality to it,” it is “totally dry.” Serve it with your favorite French cheese, like Comté.

4. Roederer Estate Brut. The California sparkler is Napa winemaker Michael Terrien’s go-to choice. Plus, it’s a standout with a Wine Spectator score of 91 out of 100. Terrien described the beverage as tasting of apple and citrus. And, for around $20 a bottle, “you just can’t beat the price.”

5. El Xamfrà Cava. This Spanish sparkling wine is a great option if you’re facing a menu with a dizzying number of choices, Cappellano says. Instead of prosecco, which isn’t consistently good, she says, “You’re better off going for cava. It’s about the same price or cheaper [than prosecco], and the quality is better.” One commonly available brand, Freixenet Sparkling Cordon Negro Brut Cava, runs about $12 a bottle.

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Once you’ve chosen your fizzy drink, open carefully; Put a hand towel over the bottle, with the top facing away from you, and hold the cork with one hand while turning the bottle slowly with the other hand.

Remember: Remove the wire basket under the foil when you’re ready to open the bubbly. It’s the only thing between you and a pressurized bottle. Cheers!

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