Champagne Quality Without The Champagne Price

By / Magazine / April 16th, 2012 / 2

I am a firm believer that we all need to drink more sparkling wine. It seems that too many people look at sparkling wines only as a way to celebrate a special occasion or ring in the New Year. The reasoning may be that when people think of sparkling they think Champagne, and most good quality Champagnes are not conducive to the pocketbook for everyday drinking.

But there are so many great quality sparkling wines that can be enjoyed everyday without the big hit to the wallet. Prosecco from Italy and Cava from Spain may be the best known value sparklings, but quality bubbles at great prices can be found in most of the world’s wine producing regions.

So instead of waiting for a special occasion, pop open a bottle of sparkling and make any occasion special. In fact, we should all resolve to make time to celebrate life. We all work hard and life seems to fly by fast. We deserve to celebrate more often. It’s amazing how a good glass of bubbles can lift your mood, whet your appetite and get the party started.

To help you get started, here’s a list of Champagne-quality sparkling wines without the Champagne price. Fifteen sparklers under $50 to celebrate life. Remember, you’re worth it.

Tenuta S.Anna Rosato ‘il Rosa Petillant’ NV, Veneto, Italy ($18.99)
Lovely fresh blend of Merlot and Pinot Noir with aromas and flavours of cherries, plums and citrus, a soft creamy texture and juicy acidity on the clean finish.

Tenuta S.Anna Prosecco Frizzante NV, Veneto, Italy ($19.99)
Lively with a full texture, aromas and flavours of citrus, apple and peach, beautiful balance and delightfully fun. A tremendous value.

Castillo Perlada Cava Brut Reserva NV, Penedes, Spain ($22.99)
Hints of hazlenut, brioche and citrus with a lively texture, bright acidity and a finish that lingers with enough body to stand up to light hors d’oeuvres and fried seafood.

Ruggeri Prosecco Superiore ‘Santo Stefano’ NV, Veneto, Italy ($27.99)
Beautifully elegant and fresh, with aromas and flavours of peach, apple, pear and citrus, a gorgeous texture, delicate and refined with just a hint of ripe sweetness on the lifted finish.

Graham Beck Brut NV, Western Cape, South Africa ($28)
Mature aromas of baked bread, roasted hazelnut and fig with apple, citrus zest and spice flavours that linger for a toasty finish.

Raventos i Blanc Cava Brut Reserva ‘L’Hereu’ 2008, Penedes, Spain ($29.99)
Lovely fresh flavours of apple, nut, cream, honey and toast with refined bubbles, fine texture and bright acidity.

Domaine Chandon Blanc de Noir, California ($34)
Consistently well made with aromas of Asian pear and brioche, flavours of baked apple and yeasty hazelnut that lead to a lingering, crisp finish.

Raventos i Blanc Cava Rosado ‘de Nit’ 2008, Penedes, Spain ($34)
Nice shade of pale pink with aromas and flavours of cherry, apple, spice and honey, a lightly creamy texture and racy finish.

Roederer Estate Brut NV, California ($35)
Rich toasty aromas and flavours with full bubbles, apple, citrus and hazelnuts with elegance and finesse and a long, bready finish.

Ruggeri Prosecco ‘Giustino B’ DOCG 2009, Veneto, Italy ($36)
Beautiful, fresh, delicate and extraordinarily well balanced, showing apple, peach, citrus and grapefruit with a soft creamy texture and lovely minerality on the delicious, elegant finish. A benchmark for Prosecco.

Argyle Brut 2005, Willamette Valley, Oregon ($38)
Toasty, honeyed almond notes with citrus and fig, powerful yet graceful, with a long, lingering finish. Arguably the best sparkling wine producer in North America.

Highfield Brut Cuvee ‘Elstree’ 2005, Marlborough, New Zealand ($45)
Aromas of toasted brioche with a hint of smokiness with flavours of pear, spice and citrus, lively bubbles and an elegant toastiness. Hard to distinguish from real Champagne.

Road 13 Sparkling Chenin Blanc ‘Home Vineyard’ 2007, Okanagan, BC ($48)
Bright and lively with aromas of baked brioche and apple pie followed by flavours of apples and pears, a rich texture, a touch of yeastiness, beautiful complexity zippy acidity on the finish. Possesses loads of character.

Marotti Campi Xyris 2010, Marche, Italy ($28)
Dangerously quaffable, unique, fun and versatile red frizzante, really exuberant with amazing aromas of roses, extreme fresh fruit and tons of juicy blueberry, black cherry and blackberry flavours, soft and fresh with only a hint of natural sweetness, but far from being sticky sweet.

D’Arenberg Sparkling Red Chambourcin ‘The Peppermint Paddock’ NV, McLaren Vale, Australia ($34)
Ripe and fizzy red sparkling with grapey aromas and flavours of black cherry, wild berry, spice with a hint of fresh herbs and a lively character.


Editor-in-chief for Quench Magazine, Gurvinder Bhatia left a career practising law to pursue his passion for wine and food. Gurvinder is also the wine columnist for Global Television Edmonton, an international wine judge and the president of Vinomania Consulting. Gurvinder was the owner/founder of Vinomania wine boutique for over 20 years (opened in 1995, closed in 2016) which was recognized on numerous occasions as one of the 20 best wine stores in Canada. Gurvinder was the wine columnist for CBC Radio for 11 years and is certified by Vinitaly International in Verona Italy as an Italian Wine Expert, one of only 15 people currently in the world to have earned the designation. In 2015, Gurvinder was named by Alberta Venture Magazine as one of Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People. He is frequently asked to speak locally, nationally and internationally on a broad range of topics focussing on wine, food, business and community.

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