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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!

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  1. 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
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/462558
    Fortino California "Champagne" -- some recs and good bubbly lesson from zin1953
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/471573
    True Champagne...incomperable?
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/430435
    Help - a blind tasting for sparkling wine
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/472981
    Mixed Case of Champagne
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/434080
    Wedding Champagne Recommendations
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/349059

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    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.)

    3 Replies
    1. 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.

      1. 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!

        1. re: maria lorraine

          Ooh, the Duval-Leroy Brut is a good one.

          Hunt

        2. 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.

          1. 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.

            1. 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!

              5 Replies
              1. re: jcoz23

                This sounds perfect. And it looks like it JUST sneaks in under my spending limit at $29.95 at the LCBO. Yeesh... alcohol is an expensive habit around here.

                1. re: Juniper

                  Gack! It's US$6.95 a bottle at Trader Joe's. Sounds like the bootleggers need to reverse their routes.

                  1. re: alanbarnes

                    Oh how I wish we had Trader Joe's in Canada...

                    1. re: alanbarnes

                      The Reserva Heredad I've never seen under $17 anywhere in the U.S., and I usually find it at Cost Plus or Bevmo... It's probably the "regular" Segura Viudas you see at TJ's for $6.95....

                      1. re: jcoz23

                        No, it's definitely the Reserva Heredad; the bottle has the pewter bottom and seal. I may be mistaken about the price, though, and will double-check that and post again.

                2. As far as the "versatile, matches many foods and appeals to many palates..." you're not going to do much better than Moscato d' Asti...

                  Very affordable, and great with a very wide variety of foods from appetizer right on through to dessert.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Chicago Mike

                    Moscasto d'Asti can often be cloyingly sweet, 'course I still like Veuve Cliquot.

                    The Siguras is one of those wines I see on shelves when I am not in the market for it.

                    1. re: FrankJBN

                      Jump across the boarder where the CDN $ goes further and pick up a bottle of the 2002 Argyle Brut at $24. Excellent quality.

                      1. re: TonyO

                        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.

                        1. re: maria lorraine

                          Spend the night at the (avoid the tariff), fill up the tank in the US (save a $1.50 / gallon), and feel good about helping the economy of such a wonderful country. We often return the favor by travelling north and dropping a few loons.

                      2. re: FrankJBN

                        If Moscato is cloyingly sweet, how do you feel about Sauternes ?