New Year’s Eve Champagne for Every Budget

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It’s almost time to toast in 2011! So here are our bubbly picks to help you ring in the New Year.

Sparkling Wine under $15

Korbel Brut Rose: Korbel offers affordable sparkling wines made in the traditional way for many decades. While most aren’t too nuanced, they are solid offerings with pleasing flavors and textures. The brut rose will bring a splash of color to your celebration along with the melon flavor and moderately dry character.

Francois Montand Blanc de Blanc: This sparkling wine comes from a wine-growing region outside Champagne, which is why it isn’t officially called a champagne. But it’s a real bargain for a decent quality French sparkler. It’s a great pick if you like dry champagne. If you prefer it sweeter, the mineral notes on this one might disappoint.

Sparkling Wine for $15-$20

Scharffenberger Brut (non-vintage): Hailing from California’s Anderson Valley, this sparkling wine is creamy and dry with hints of crisp apple and vanilla. At about $17, it’s a good value for a refined-tasting bubbly.

Domaine Chandon Blanc de Noirs: This is a California sparkling wine made by French wine producers. It has mild berry flavors and a nice soft finish. For about $15, this is a high-quality wine with a very reasonable price tag.

Sparkling Wine for $25-$35

Ariston Apasie Carte Blanche Brut: This is a great $25 find from one of the Champagne region’s smaller producers. It’s dry and fruity with a beautiful dark color and a light touch on the tongue.

Schramsberg Cremant Demi-Sec: Although dry “Brut” sparklers usually dominate New Year’s, there are also wonderful sparkling wines that are sweeter. This $30 demi-sec has some tropical fruit sweetness without going over the edge into sticky sweet territory.

Champagne for $40 and Up

Veuve Clicquot Brut: This classic champagne (it is actually from the Champagne region of France) can hold its own against many much more expensive bottles of bubbly. It has great acidity and fruit flavor … not to mention beautiful tiny bubbles. At about $40 a bottle, it won’t break the bank for a small celebration but probably isn’t the pick for a large party unless you have a generous champagne budget.

Jean Milan Blanc de Blancs Brut Grand Cru Reserve: Delicate bubbles and a toasted-oak finish are your reward if you pony up the $55 for this champagne. The floral and apple notes combine to make for a balanced champagne perfect for ringing in a new year.

Try some Champagne Cocktails for New Year’s Eve!
Photo by Waldo Jaquith.

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