5 Great and Affordable Sparkling Wines for the Holiday Season

By: Michele Wolfson

Did you know that there are 49 million bubbles in one bottle of champagne? I learned that fact the hard way when I guessed the wrong answer in an intense game of Foodie Fight, a trivia game designed for Foodies that I bought from The Filling Station in Chelsea Market. While it's a known fact that I hate losing, I was fascinated to learn that this New Years Eve (probably sooner, who am I kidding?), I will be sipping on approximately 9,800,000 bubbles if mine is one of five glasses from a bottle.

I also learned that Champagne is considered to be a true wine. Champagne and other sparkling wines are in fact a category of wine and that are typically derived from a blend of grapes such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier. The difference between Champagne and other sparkling wines is that Champagne comes exclusively from the Champagne region of France and claims the honor of being the most famous of the sparkling wines.

Technically, it is the only sparkling wine that may be referred to as "Champagne." Bubbly from all other regions in the world are simply referred to as "sparkling wine," "prosecco," or "cava." However, countries like Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. can give France a run for the money by producing some fantastic sparkling wines and they are often less expensive.

Here is a list of our Top 5 Sparkling Wines that are delicious and affordable. They are the perfect buy this time of year whether you are going to a party as a guest or throwing a festivity of your own!

NV Canella Prosecco di Conegliano ($15)

This prosecco is from Veneto, Italy, an area that is among the foremost wine-producing regions and is known for both for quality and quantity. The region counts over 20 DOC zones and a variety of sub-categories. Many of its wines, both dry and Spumanti, are internationally known and appreciated. Fruity aromas of this sparkling wine are peach, apple, pear and citrus fruit like Meyer-lemons. The palate of this prosecco gracefully balances zingy acidity and a subtle hint of sweetness, richness and silky-smooth texture.

NV Ombra Rose di Pinot ($16)

Pinot Noir gives this subtly strawberry-flavored rose from Italy's Veneto region its pretty ballerina-pink color. It's rich aroma of toast and earthy scents paves way to a wonderfully fruity palate. It is very well balanced and structured and if you like pink Champagne, you will love this. It is a great value and this extra brut (very dry) wine goes very well with cold cuts, first courses, and roasted white meats.

NV Scharffenberger Brut ($19)

A blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, this California Brut is creamy and full-bodied with tropical flavors. Since this sparkling wine part Pinot Noir, it produces a red fruit forward nose (cherry and plum). The Chardonnay style adds citrus, anise, and creamy vanilla characters, producing a round and full-bodied wine. Pair this with a piece of Scharffenberger chocolate and you will have a California combination that will please your taste buds immensely!

Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad, Catalonia, Spain ($20)

This is a great sparkling wine to raise a glass and bring in the New Year with. After all, Cava is the name the Spanish give to their sparkling wines for get-togethers. This Cava is refreshingly dry and wild flower-scented. It is remarkably complex for its price.

Lucien Albrecht Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rose NV, Alsace, France ($20)

More red than pink, this stunning sparkling wine comes from a 600-plus-year-old winery. It has an elegant strawberries-and-cream flavor as well as cherry notes. Without a doubt, the best value for money in non-Champagne French fizz comes from Alsace. Along with an earthy richness this sparkling wine has a fine citrus finish.

Photo: bernat

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