I always try to keep my every day wine and sparkling budget under $20. Since I enjoy my sparkling wines, this always “limits” my choices to a sparkling wine other than champagne. But it does not mean that I must sacrifice taste and enjoyment when I drink other sparklings. Plus, why open a bottle of $60 to $100 bottle of champagne when I can only drink about half of it each evening?
Most of you know I am partial to both sparkling wines, called cremants, from Loire, and our own California sparkling wines. In most cases, the cremants are in the $9 to$14 range, and the California sparklings are in the $30 to $40 range. If I spread the cost over two evenings, my investment is minimal.
One big change has occurred in Italy, where Prosecco rose’ is now legal, as of January 1. Prior to this, “Prosecco’s Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) status didn’t allow for rosés. Wineries found a work-around by labeling pink fizz as spumante, but no longer. New regulations allow for actual Prosecco rosé, as long as it’s made from Glera (the grape of Prosecco) plus 10% to 15% Pinot Noir (hence the color). The Prosecco consortium estimates that total production of Prosecco DOC rosé may climb to 30 million bottles per year; cue the cheering from rosé and Prosecco fans alike.”
While I still prefer cremants and California sparklings over Prosecco, there are some reasonably well priced ($12-16) bottles. I tried one from Trader Joe’s, but was not impressed. Perhaps you have tried one and can recommend it to me.
A good every day Napa Valley sparkling is the NV Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut Sonoma Valley at only $22. For a brut rose’, try the NV Scharffenberger Brut Rose’ Excellence ($23).
If you want to wander off the beaten path, try one of these:
NV Steller’s Jay Sparkling Rose’ ($27) from the Okanagan Valley (BC)
Really offbeat: 2017 William Chris Vineyards Petillant Naturel Rose’ Texas ($25)
France’s Limoux region has been making sparkling wines as early as 1531. The Aimery cremant de Limoux is a bargain at $14. It has become my every day sparkler.
My special occasion California sparkling wine is a Domaine Carneros brut ($24) or brut rose’ ($33), the Laetitia Vineyards (Arroyo Grande) brut ($29) or brut rose’ ($35).
And my special occasion Champagne is Taittinger Brut La Francaise ($50), and the Taittinger Prestige Rose’ Brut ($65). And when things get really crazy, the Comtes brut rose’ ($260), but usually in a nice restaurant. I was in Amsterdam and shared a bottle with a local television celebrity and his wife.
But whatever you do, and whatever your budget, enjoy what you like. I am only offering suggestions, or what works for me. Taste, affordability, and bubbles are the three key ingredients to my bubbly obsession.