Early in my wine drinking career, I was mistaken to believe (as many are wont to do) that the only good sparkling wines were Champagnes. So I dutifully bought Moet and Veuve Cliqout for celebratory occasions. And I loved them. But I quickly learned two things. First...bubbly isn't just for special occasions. And that there were lots of sparkling wines from around the world that are delicious. And, since I decided that bubbly was a perfect drink for almost everyday imbibing, that, luckily, a lot of them are quite affordable.
And that brings us back to the list. Two of my favorites were there.
- Segura Viudas Reserve Heredad Cava: This one runs about $18. It's crisp and packed with effervescence. No skimping on the bubbles here. It's a great gift also...the pewter-trimmed bottle looks like you spent a lot more than you really did. (There's also another version by this winery that costs about $10. It's perfect for parties where you'll be pouring quite a bit.)
- Lucien Albresht Cremant d'Alsace: This one is French, but not a true Champagne. For me, its name belies its best quality. It's creamy. Perfect to sip alone, but also great paired with just about anything you throw at it. It also costs right at $20.
- Gruet Brut: Also a bargain at around $15, I might make too much of the fact that it's made in New Mexico, but I think this one is wonderful with spicy foods.
- Schramsberg: On our Napa pilgrimage, the other half and I fell in love with this winery and all their offerings. As a part of their wine club, we get some of their great $100 bottles and cellar them for very special occasions. But it's well worth the splurge to find one of their $40 bottlings to raise a toast to 2012.