Affordable and Versatile Sparkling Wines
I've purchased a set of champagne flutes for a friends' housewarming gift and would like to also bring a bottle of sparkling wine to complement the flutes. Since I've already spent a fair amount on the flutes, I'm hoping someone can recommend a relatively inexpensive (say, under $30) and versatile (i.e., matches many foods and appeals to many palettes) sparkling wine. A white or rose would be preferred over a red, though red is not completely out of the question either. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
re: Chicago Mike
US$ and CDN$ are equal now, as of this date.
Certainly our OP, if she has the time and this is not a NYE gift, may be able to make the run for the border.
The OP may have a greater selection in Buffalo at Premier Wines and will be able to obtain her bubbly at a lower cost given the Canadian taxes, but will the border tariff upon returning and gas costs make her trip worthwhile? Perhaps only if she buys a case or three? I don't have enough information to answer this.
Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad is a really good Spanish cava and comes in a beautiful bottle with a pewter crest and bottom. It makes a nice gift and usually runs about $20, sometimes a little less. I've given this bottle many times just because the bottle is so beautiful, and everyone that has received it has enjoyed the cava inside as well!
Grongnet, RM, Blanc de Blancs, Brut. I got mine for $28 a bottle, and it is as good or better than a long list of things that cost 2-3 times the amount.
This is a grower champagne that was a "real find" recently. It compared favorably to a Billiot we had at the same time (particularly as a value, I mean, the Billiot *was* better, just more expensive), and is probably the best under $50 champagne I've had since the 70s when wines like vintage Schramsburg were under $20.
Alas, one of my old favorites, Veuve Cliquot, finished near the back of the pack *again* for me recently. I remember when it was $35 a bottle for the orange label and still great, but sometime in the mid to late 90s it started to slip, and continued the slide in recent years. 1995 Veuve was the last bottle of vintage I bought from them. It is most disappointing to see such a canonical champagne house produce anything less than a high quality product.
To add to Maria's suggestions...
The Nino Franco Faive Rose Brut @ $21.95 *might* be very good. I've not had it but I've had their 'Rustico' Prosseco, and that is one of th ebetter Prossecos on the market.
The Huet Brut Vouvray 1999 @ $25.95 might also be an excellent choice. This is another example where I am familiar with the winery -- and quite a big fan, actually -- but I've never had this particular bottling.
The subject has been well covered, especially lately.
What seems to come up again and again in your price range (USD) are the
Mumm Napa Blanc de Noirs, about $12, on sale now
Roederer Estate Brut, about $17, they also make a Rose sparkling wine, on sale now
Argyle, from Oregon, about $24
Gruet, from New Mexico, about $15
Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve, about $30 at large volume wine store
Laurent-Perrier Brut Champagne, about $30...
But, of course, there are many others.
Here are some helpful threads:
Domestic Bubbly Recs
Fortino California "Champagne" -- some recs and good bubbly lesson from zin1953
Help - a blind tasting for sparkling wine
Mixed Case of Champagne
Wedding Champagne Recommendations
Ah, I have just now noticed you're from Toronto. Add this from the LCBO to the list:
Duval-Leroy Brut Champagne $25.05
(Prices seem much higher where you are compared to California.)
re: maria lorraine
The Duval-Leroy Brut Champagne at $25.05 is 375 ml, not an entire bottle, but enough to break in those glasses!
Domaine Chandon Brut Cuvee $24.15 750 ml
Mumm Cuvee Napa Brut Prestige $28.45 750 ml
--and my vote--
the Roederer Estate 25th Anniversary Brut Sparkling Wine at $27.95, 750 ml.
re: maria lorraine
Yes, our government really loves to tax alcohol. So while I've read through some of the other posts on the topic, many of the options referred to in those posts end up being above my $30 limit once the LCBO comes into play. But it sounds like I have some excellent options given here by you and others. Thanks very much to everyone for the input!