$30 and below sparkling wines
Looking for recommendations for your favorite sub $30 sparkler. (Looking for less expensive alternative to giving champagne for holiday gifts).
In the last year, I've had Julien Fouet Crémant de Loire, which I didn't like at all; the 2007 Josep Maria Raventós i Blanc Cava L'Hereu Reserva Brut, which I didn't love, but thought was a steal at $16 a bottle; and the NV Domaine du Clos Naudin, Philippe Foreau Vouvray Brut, which I thought was quite nice for $24.
Looking to expand my horizons.
Article reviewing a number of California sparklers. Most are under $30.
Article review a number of "international" sparklers under $20.
Personally, I can recommend the Gruet sparkling wines, from New Mexico of all places. The Gruet Blanc de Noirs made the Wine Spectator's list of the 100 best wines of 2011and sells for around $15.
I think a Prosecco would be a good alternative. Have enjoyed the inexpensive Sorelle Bronca (Prosecco Superiore di Valdobbiadene) & look forward to trying the Rebuli (Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Extra Dry) next time.
Think the Piper Heidsieck, which I've read is good, is currently on sale at Costco for approx. $22.
I actually got really turned off to Prosecco last year after trying the Sorelle -- way too sweet for my taste. The San Francisco Chronicle article that DavidT references above says that too many Prosecco producers use sweetness as a crutch and the article recommends the NV Borgoluce Brut Prosecco Superiore Valdobbiadene at $16 as a truly dry Prosecco. I might give that a try, although I'm leaning toward the Lambrusco that the same article recommends since it sounds so scintillating and I adore Lambrusco.
Hard to beat the Loire for value. Huet is right around $30. Call Wine Country in Signal Hill/Long Beach to see what they have. They have good selections, usually.
Also, Wine Expo has one of the largest Champagne selections in the country. See what Roberto has in your price range. He started carrying Spanish wines a couple of years ago.