With the exception of eggnog, no other adult holiday beverage is as associated with the holidays as Champagne. But many feel that Champagne – the appellation given to sparkling wines produced exclusively in the Champagne region of France – is costly, confusing and stuffy.
Today, though, savvy oenophiles can enjoy the crisp, bubbly joy without the cost and complexity thanks to domestic and foreign alternatives.
Sparkling wines from the US (“New World Sparklers”) are fair alternatives with broad pricing. Expect to spend $20-$30 for a solid sparkler for your holiday festivities.
Prosecco is a well-known Italian sparkling wine, generally sweet but less complicated than Champagne. It’s a ubiquitous component of the Bellini and is used in other cocktails. It’s made from the Charmat method and not intended for long-term storage. You’ll want to determine which wine you prefer and if you lean toward dry, extra dry or brut. But that’s not hard since decent Proseccos can be found for $15 and up. Opt for those marked with a “DOC” or “DOCG” as good indicators of quality.
Cava is a Spanish wine similar to Prosecco. It also comes in various levels of sweetness and is meant to be consumed, not aged. Although often less common than Prosecco, it also comes in a broad range of price points with the less expensive usually being sweeter.