It’s finally (finally!) Time to say Goodbye by 2020.
On this occasion, you might want to celebrate in style by drinking a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine on New Year’s Eve.
And while these drinks can be notoriously expensive, it’s actually possible to find bargains that taste great too. It’s just about knowing what to look for.
We spoke to some experts about their best tips when it comes to finding a decent bottle of champagne that is still affordable.
Champagne vs. Champagne: what’s the difference?
To make an informed decision when shopping for your festive bubbles, you must first understand the difference between champagne and sparkling wine.
Not all sparkling wines are champagne, but all champagnes are sparkling wines, according to Michael Bottigliero, Founder and Head Sommelier in Detroit Bottles of nation.
Champagne is a sparkling wine made using the traditional method from grapes grown and fully ripened in French Champagne. This is also known as “sur lie aging”. This is when the wine is allowed to age with dead yeast cells, which gives it its distinctive roasted aromas and flavors. The longer it stays with these dead yeast cells, the more complex the wine becomes. It must be at least 18 months old to be named champagne.
“These wines have been known across Europe for centuries, and that has proven itself to this day and established them well on the market,” said Bottigliero.
8 tips to help you find good, affordable sparkling wine
Here are a few more things to look out for when shopping for a bottle of sparkling wine or champagne.
Do you understand vintage vs. Non-vintage sparkling wines
You also need to understand the difference between vintage and non-vintage sparkling wines when purchasing your sparkling wine.
Non-vintage sparkling wines may be mixed with wines from previous seasons. According to Bottigliero, this creates a uniform taste for every publication. Vintage wines are made from grapes produced in one growing season or one year. These are usually more expensive as they tell the bigger story of that growing season.
In addition, some wines are special vintage, which means that they are only made in extremely high-quality growing seasons. These are brands like Dom Perignon and La Grande Dame that are extremely expensive.
“Pricing is all about marketing, quality, and supply and demand,” said Bottigliero.
Look for clues on the bottle
The bottle itself should be made of thick, dark glass – otherwise you might end up with stale grape juice rather than a tasty wine, says Haith Razuki, owner of Buy my liquor in San Diego.
The labeling also contains keys to the quality of the wine. There are three classes of champagne: classic, reserve and prestige. If you’re looking for a budget-conscious factor, try one of the classic champagnes on the shelves. There are six levels of candy – from dry to super sweet – so choose one based on your taste preferences.
“A good, inexpensive bottle to try would be Luc Belaire Luxe,” said Razuki. “They have several varieties, including a rose, so you can explore the range and find something you like.”
And the label itself can also be a quality indicator – the emphasis on “May”.
“Label care is often a good sign of quality, although fancy labels can also be found on poor quality wines,” said Amie Fields, sommelier, director of marketing and education, and partner at Botanist & Barrel Cidery and Winery in Asheville. North Carolina.
Are you looking for sparkling wines from specific growing areas …
“If you get a wine that just says’ Bourgogne ‘or’ Burgundy ‘compared to a smaller name in Burgundy like Nuits St. George, Gevrey-Chambertin, Chambolle-Musigny, etc., it tells the newbie that’ Hey , this wine possibly has an individual microclimate and terroir, which makes it something special than grapes from all over the Bourgogne region, ”said Bottigliero.
Best of all, they also tend to be cheaper.
… and check out wines from less known regions
Be open to exploring wines from areas you may not already have on your radar, like Australia, South America, and New Zealand, as all can produce good to great quality sparkling wines that are inexpensive, says Shawn Paul, Winery Director at Foxcroft Wine Co.
Also, do not discount wines from the USA. We have many regions that also produce good quality wines.
Look for breeder champagne
You might also want to look for champagne, which Fields says is grown and produced on the same estate. These are available in a wide range of prices, from expensive to affordable.
You can tell if the bottle you are looking at is Champagne by looking for the initials RM (Récoltant-Manipulant) in the fine print on the bottle’s label.
Look for small, independent brands
Small, independent chateaux specialize in a few grapes and are sold through direct visits and little to no export or sale to other markets.
Huge brands, on the other hand, tend to mix different grapes from different manufacturers to meet demand from their marketing departments, says Yoann Bierling, founder of Y beerling, an international consulting company. Bierling’s family produces champagne in France.
“A good bottle of champagne from one of the many independent producers in the Champagne region costs around $ 20 – or $ 30 for a special bottle (late harvest or other prestige mix-up), while brand-name champagne with no special flavor is in can soar. but better branding and marketing, ”said Bierling.
Be open to different types of sparkling wine
You might want to opt for sparkling wines like Cremant de Bourgogne, Cremant de Elsass, Cremant de Jura, Cremant de Limoux or Cremant de Loire. These are all made using the traditional champagne method, but they were made in different regions of France.
“These wines are made from local grape varieties and are cheaper than champagne, but you can still enjoy the same level of quality,” said Amanda Goodwin, sommelier and founder of The Real Housewine blog in Pennsylvania.
You might also want to try a sparkling wine like pétillant naturel (or pét-nat), made using the process used to make the first sparkling wines. You may also want to try those made from new grape varieties. Fields goes even further and suggests being open to things like a dry apple cider or pear instead of a traditional grape wine.
Pét-nat wines and ciders are cheaper without sacrificing quality. You can find an amazing bottle of Pét-Nat on the shelf for $ 15-25. Since they are bottled younger in their lives, it costs less to produce, Fields says. They are fresh, lively and full of expressive aromas, a real snapshot of this time in the vineyard or orchard.
Ask the pros
When in doubt, turn to the professionals. The best way to discover new sparkling wines is to speak to an experienced wine professional in a retail store and ask them for suggestions. They should be able to help you find a quality sparkling wine that fits your budget.
Danielle Braff is an employee of The Penny Hoarder.
This article originally appeared on www.thepennyhoarder.com