The holiday period (including New Year’s Eve!) is traditionally a time for celebrating with sparkling wine. While the first sparkling wine that comes to mind may be Champagne there are plenty of other types of sparkling wine. Some are produced by the same methods as Champagne but others are not and are worthy and less expensive. Below I have put together some alternatives to Champagne from a batch of bottles that have been sent to D Headquarters for review. I’ve included approximate prices. The opinions are mine. Go.
Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Cava, Spain. ($8). This is made the same way as Champagne but a fraction of the price. This wine has a lean, racy style that makes it a good match with seafood as well as a celebratory quaff on its own. At this price it is a bargain.
Cupcake Vineyards Prosecco D.O.C. ($12). We went north to Italy for this one. Prosecco is made from the Glera grape variety and comes from a protected area near Venice. It is a simple, pleasant type of wine and cupcake is a good example. Peaches and lemon flavors are prominent flavors in the mouth from this wine. It is thoroughly unobjectionable and likely to prove popular among casual wine drinkers. Prosecco uses a simpler process than Champagne to produce the bubbles which helps to keep the price down.
Toad Hollow Vineyards, Risqué, France. ($15). It seems that just about everything about this wine is unusual. First, it comes from the remote southwestern village of Limoux, near Carcassonne (ever had a wine from Limoux? Me neither). Second, it is made using the méthode ancestrale, a method of making sparkling wine that is hardly ever seen (it involves bottling partly fermented wine so that the fermentation completes inside the sealed bottle). Third, it is 5.9% alcohol (about half the level of most sparkling wine). Green apples are the flavor note with this example.