The Difference Between Value & Cheap Sparkling Wine


Whenever I get together with friends and cook my wife and I always love to start with a sparkling wine. Even the act of pulling off the cork signifies that it’s time to celebrate. Years of history have put that front and center. However when you are hosting a dinner party there is so much to think about, so many things to buy, and so much to put out on the table. Sunday brunch doesn’t always call for a premium bottle, especially when some of your guests have designs on a virgin Mimosa or Bellini. And when you’re throwing a dinner party, greeting guests with a premium glass of sparkling wine could be considered a premature crescendo. There is a slew of value sparkling bottles hidden in various corners of the globe that show exceedingly well and oftentimes rival their premium colleagues. The most important thing about buying value sparkling wine is to get a recommendation – say, from an article like this one. There is a difference between value and just plain cheap.  Imitation “Champagne” and “Prosecco” are banes of the wine lover’s existence. Do your research, and be sure to check out the end of this article for a suggested holiday brunch spread to pair with these wines. Cheers!
Desiderio Jeio Prosecco Brut NV

Light, floral and inviting nose of green apple, lemon, tangerine and pear. Prickly and lively palate of mixed citrus fruit notes of lemon, grapefruit and tangerine, great acidity and minerality, finishing with a warm peach and apple note that is lightly spiced, creamy and decadent. 90 pts. $14

Côte Mas Cremant de Limoux Rose Brut NV
Look to Limoux, located in France's Languedoc, for incredible sparkling wine values. Floral, grapefruit, cranberry and cherry aromas. Nicely fruited on the palate with cranberry, ripe cherry, strawberry and fresh watermelon with a pleasant mousse and bright acidity keeping the palate bright and zesty, with a creamy note towards the finish that brings a light herb and sweet spice along with it. 90 pts. $16

Côte Mas Cremant de Limoux Brut NV

This uses Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir, Mauzac. The white Mauzac grape is the Limoux’s signature. Clean, light and honeyed with floral notes of blossom and hints of peach. Dry, spicy and full of sharp acidity and a pleasant dried fruit note coming through, apricot and melon, peach and ripe apple with a soft finish of lemon and grapefruit. Excellent freshness, citrus zest and a good complexity. 92 pts. $16

Willm Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rose NV

Cremant d’Alsace is arguably one of the sparkling wine world’s most terrific values. Always made from 100% Pinot Noir in the traditional method, they bring colorful flair to any occasion. This one brings sweet spice and fresh cherry aromas with lightly floral notes and crisp strawberry fruit. Full, bold acidity with expansive mouthfeel and crisp fruit flavors of watermelon and strawberry, tart cherry and an herbal, earthy resinous note towards the finish. $18

Tenuta Villa Crespia Brolese Extra Brut Rose Franciacorta NV

Franciacorta has been called the next Champagne with good reason. While many Franciacorta bottles can be found at the premium level there are opportunities to unearth value. This one’s got butter cookie and brioche aromas with strawberry and tart cherry on the nose. Tart cranberry, strawberry and cherry fruit on the approach with perky acidity and lemon zest on the mid palate amidst melty butter and almond cookie notes with fresh green apple towards the finish. Smooth and approachable yet elegant. $20

Jean-Baptiste Adam Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rose NV

Cranberry and watermelon aromas with soft oak spice and a toasted yeast note. Sweet spice and bright cherry flavors on the the palate, lightly syruped and quite creamy with a delicate mousse, herbal strawberry notes and a tart finish of creamy yeast and light watermelon. $22

Lucien Albrecht Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rose NV

Light cherry, strawberry and raspberry aromas. Zesty and lively palate with rich strawberry flavors, fresh cherry and cranberry notes coming through the mid palate and a fun mixed berry note on the finish. $22

Gustavo Lorentz Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rose NV

Intriguing herbal notes of light eucalyptus, also fruity with watermelon, cherry and strawberry. Tart and fresh on the palate with full bodied flavors of licorice, creamy cherry syrup, watermelon and lemon zest. Very unique and different. $25

Castello di Gussago La Santissima Brut Franciacorta

Bitter and tart grapefruit pith on the nose with softer aromas of green apple and pear. The citrus pith returns on the palate, set against bracing acidity, concentrated lime and grapefruit notes and a sharp aged cheese note on the finish. $25

Recommended holiday brunch spread to pair with one or more of these sparkling wines:

Warm Pear with Cinnamon Ricotta
Baked Apples Stuffed with Dried Fruit & Pecans
Fettucine with Swiss Chard & Dried Fruits
Salmon & Watercress Quiche

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