Toast the 2013 New Year with a Bottle of Champagne

Here's a handy guide to the intoxicating world of bubbles on a budget. Where's the best place in Santa Cruz County to buy bubbly?

The pop of the Champagne cork is as much a part of the New Year’s Eve soundtrack as "Auld Lang Syne" and fireworks. The tiny, tickling bubbles evoke celebratory moods.

But choosing the appropriate sparkling wine for New Year's Eve can make you dizzy before the first sip.

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. However, in the last decade or so, Champagne from small growers has gained some traction with Champagne enthusiasts.

Only sparkling wine from the French region of Champagne can be labeled Champagne. But that doesn’t mean that quality sparkling wine can’t be produced in other parts of France and around the world.

Cremant from Burgundy, Limoux or the Loire Valley, Prosecco from Italy, Cava from Spain, and sparkling wine from Argentina and the U.S. West Coast deliver quality, value-driven sparklers.

Prosecco is chiefly grown in Italy’s Veneto region. It is vinified like Champagne. Unlike Champagne, Prosecco can deliver quality under $20. 

For luxurious vintage Prosecco, the 2009 Bisol Cartizze is an elegant, floral sparkler with layers of citrus fruit, citrus rind, stone fruits and lithe minerality. 

In its native Spain, Cava is the drink of choice on Christmas Eve. It is so value-driven that you can buy enough Cava for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. 

In the end, if you are looking to celebrate the New Year in style, Salon is, shall we say, the Champagne of Champagnes. Or, for a kid-friendly New Year's, try sparkling apple cider. 

If you are looking for delicious options on a budget, try one of these five champagnes for less than $20:

1. François Labet ($17) Burgandy, France

2. Boeckel ($16) France

3. Codorníu Cuvée Raventos ($14) Spain

4. Martini and Rossi ($12) Italy

5. Kupferberg Gold ($9) Germany

Where's the best place in Santa Cruz County to buy bubbly? Tell us in comments.

janey leonardich December 30, 2012 at 03:00 PM
California has one of the best sparkling wine vintners in the nation, Schramberg in Napa Valley. They produce many different varieties . Available at Bevmo and many other places
jeanne December 30, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Chandon Brut Classic, from Yountville, Ca., is my year-round go to sparkling wine. Trader Joe's has it for $14.99 but throughout the year CVS and Safeway will have it for $11.00/$12.00.
Diane Bianconi McNiel December 30, 2012 at 06:26 PM
shop local in Scotts Valley at U Save Leos Liquors
Mike Donegan December 30, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Coppola's Sofia...rocks my socks
Adrian December 30, 2012 at 10:09 PM
All u people are a bunch of wino drunks go to aa mettings
Daddy Yankee December 30, 2012 at 11:53 PM
Look at this ignorant bad grammar having pompous turd judging people over the internet. It's 2013 and you still haven't figured out spell check? Personally I add Naked Juice's Mighty Mango to my champagne instead of regular orange juice for a good mimosa.
Troll Buster 12302012 December 31, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Little girl are you sad because your dad was a drunk? How do you feel about that?
Sunshine December 31, 2012 at 10:51 PM
YUM! Thanks for the idea, Steph!


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