Where to Find the Best Champagnes and Sparkling Wines

What are the best champagnes and wines for popping on new year's?

It’s a New Year’s Eve tradition: Toasting out-with-the-old and in-with-the-new with a glass (or two) of champagne or sparkling wine.

With so many sparkling wines to choose from, picking the best bottle can be daunting. 

Prices for sparkling wine range from less than $10 to more than $500 per bottle. Keep in mind that while you usually get what you pay for, there are some great options for those of us on a budget. 

Large “negociant” champagne houses that purchase much of their fruit, such as Veuve Clicquot, Bollinger, Roederer, Taittinger, Perrier Jouet and Nicolas Feuillatte, dominate the market.

In case you’re wondering what the difference is: Champagne comes from the Champagne region of France. Sparkling wine is bubbly from other parts of the world.

If you’re interested in supporting Virginia wineries, here are a few options. You can find most in the “Virginia” section of your local wine shop. Try stopping by Opera House Gourmet for these or additional recommendations.

If you’re more globally-minded this New Year’s Eve, here are some champagne and sparkling wine suggestions from all over the world at different price points. If you can’t find these exact bottles at your local wine store, ask for similar recommendations.

Top-Rated, High-Priced Champagnes

1997 Champagne Salon

Cost: $500

“Fans of grand cru Burgundy will be thrilled by this penetratingly minerally Champagne,” according to Food and Wine.

Champagne Armand de Brignac Brut Gold

Cost: $300

“The Champagne inside this gold-plated bottle with pewter labels is made only from Premier Cru and Grand Cru-rated grapes. On the nose, it offers soft floral notes,” according to Gayot.com.

Under $100

Moet & Chandon Imperial Brut

Cost: $75 - $85

“A foaming, lively wine, the nose says “Champagne” loud and clear via biscuit, citrus and white-flower aromas of appealing delicacy,” according to Cuisine.

Under $50

Iron Horse Brut Green Valley Classic Vintage 2007

Cost: $39

This sparkling wine won a spot on Wine Spectator’s list of the 100 best wines that they tasted in 2012. One reviewer on cellartracker.com wrote, “The palate is light, lively, apple, peach, floral, good acids. Well made and very enjoyable.”

Under $25

Mumm Napa Brut Prestige

Cost: $20

“With elegant acidity and crisp structure, this medium-bodied sparkling wine displays an excellent mousse and a rich, lingering finish,” according to Wine.com.

FairfaxMango December 31, 2012 at 05:19 PM
For an even more reasonable price point, try Albero's Cava (Spanish bubbly) at Trader Joe's. Under $8 and very well balanced.


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