There’s a Bubbly for Every Budget!

Champagne, Crémant, Cava, Prosecco…. let’s talk Sparkling wines!

There are quality sparkling wines to suit every budget if you know what to look for.  Champagne is the epitome of sparkling wines and has become synonymous with celebrations and luxury but it comes with a jarring price tag.

In a nutshell here are some recommendations on Sparkling Wines that won’t break the bank.  How do these other bubblies compare to Champagne? We are going to explore:

  • Cava from Spain
  • Cremant from France
  • Prosecco from Italy
  • and our own Ontario sparklings

Including Ontario sparklings is not just being ‘hometown proud’.  Ontario has a climate very similar to the Champagne region of France and we excel at producing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir- the main Champagne grapes.  We also share lots of limestone soil with the Champagne region.  Hmmm…. may make you look at Ontario sparkling differently from now on!

If you want to learn more about how you make sparkling wines and how they compare check out What Makes a Good Sparkling Wine?

Champagne  

Price range $64 +++

There is no denying that the region of Champagne has earned its reputation having perfected the ‘methode champenoise’, known as the traditional method outside of the Champagne region. But that comes with a price tag.  Current offerings in the LCBO start at about $64/ bottle and top out at $3,440 for Cristal Brut Champagne 2007. ‘Nuff said – let’s move on to our alternatives.

Crémant

Price range $20-$45

Crémant simple refers to a sparkling wine from France (and one designation in Luxembourg) that is not from the regulated Champagne region of France.

Crémant de Bourgogne- this is an excellent alternative to its pricey neighbour Champagne.  Crémant de Bourgogne uses  the same main grapes varieties as Champagne, namely Chardonnay and/or Pinot Noir. And the area harvested just south of the Champagne region.   This sparkling only requires 9 months on aging on the lees so it will be less complex than a Champagne with 15 months on the lees but it is nevertheless very good quality. Crémant is bottled at a lower pressure than Champagne so bubbles will be larger.  Some argue that is a good thing….

Other Crémants from other regions can may use different grape varietals.  The Loire region is the biggest producer of sparkling wines in France outside of the Champagne region.

DUFOULEUR PÈRE & FILS BRUT CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE
Traditional method (AC, Burgundy, France) 

631762 (D) $19.95

BAILLY LAPIERRE RÉSERVE BRUT CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE
Traditional method, AC, Burgundy, France

991562  750 mL (D)   Score 91  $19.95

Chateau De Chaintres Cremant De Loire Blanc De Noir
299726   750 ml        $27.55

JEAN GEILER BRUT CRÉMANT D’ALSACE, Traditional method,
(AC, Alsace, France)

624783 (XD)      $21.95
Score: Gold Medal (Concours Général Paris, 2017)

3 bottles of Cremant

Cava

Spanish Cava is recognized as an outstanding value in sparkling wines.  Cava production follows the same method as Champagne but is available for a fraction of the price. Cavas are dry, elegant and fruity with slightly larger bubbles than Champagne.
CONDE DE HARO BRUT CAVA 2015 (Traditional method, DO, Muga Spain)
168559 (XD)      Score: 90  $19.95
Segura Viudas Heredad Reserva Brut Cava
558825  750 ml    (D)    $32.95
Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava
216960  750 ml    (D) $15.95
3 cavas

Prosecco

Price range $14-$26

Prosecco is a light fruity low alcohol sparkling with aromas of white peach, meyer lemon, honeysuckle, and creamy vanilla. Drink it young and enjoy.  Look for Proseccos referencing the region of Valdobbiadene or Prosecco Superiore which has slightly higher standards than basic Prosecco.

Zardetto Molín Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore 2015

 514521    750 mL bottle   Score 91  $18.95

Nino Franco Brut Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore
349662 | 750 mL bottle     Score 92    $23.95

Val d’Oca Prosecco DOCG

340570   750 mL bottle   $18.95

3 bottles of prosecco

 

Ontario Sparkling Wines

Price range $15-$50

As stated above, Ontario has a similar climate and soil profile  to the Champagne region.  That is the not-so-easy-to-control part so employing the same Traditional Method is a cinch after that.  Niagara region has a number of wineries noted for their sparkling wines, Angel’s Gate, Kew Vineyards, Henry of Pelham. Hinterland in Prince Edward County specialized in sparkling wines as well and is worth a visit if you are in the area.  For more check out Rick Van Sickle’s 40 Ontario and BC Sparkling Wine recommendations.

Selection of Kew Sparkling Wines

Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Carte Blanche Estate
315200  750 mL    Score 93              $44.95
Reviewers are saying this wine has set the new standard for Ontario Sparkling wines.

FLAT ROCK RIDDLED SPARKLING 2011 Traditional method ( VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada)

383315    750 mL (D)      Score 91   $34.95

MEGALOMANIAC BUBBLEHEAD SPARKLING ROSÉ Traditional method
(VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada)

363655 750 mL (D)   Score 91    $34.95

Hinterland Whitecap VQA  (Charmat Method)
332809  750 mL (M)   bottle    $22.25
Vieni Momenti Sparkling Wine (Canada’s version of Prosecco)
 435784  750 mL bottle  $13.95
ontario sparkling wines

 

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