Affordable champagne alternatives

February 10, 2010 4:59:44 PM PST
Champagne alternatives that are easy on the wallet! Enjoy wine without confusion or pretention.

Champagnes featured in segment:

Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco ($16.99) from Italy
Gruet Blanc de Noirs ($14.99) - From New Mexico
Roederer Estate Brut ($18.99) - From California
Jansz Premium Rose ($19.99) - From Australia

All these are available at


There are many great Champagne alternatives out there. Two very well-known styles that are seen as value are Cava and Prosecco. Both are typically great values with retail prices under $20.

Cava is typically very dry, made in the same style as Champagne, while Prosecco uses a different method and can be more fruity in flavor with slightly less fizz.

More "up and coming" alternatives are sparkling wines from Argentina, where sparklers are dry and crisp, and offer a little something different. Two of my favorites include Vida Organica Sparkling Chardonnay ($12) and Ernesto Catena Selections Siesta Extra Brut ($18).

Australia, puts out some lovely bubbles under $25 too, like Jansz and Taltarni.

Looking for something different, delicious with great value? Try Gruet, a well-established sparkling wine producer in New Mexico. That's right, New Mexico! Created by a family from Champagne, Gruet has become a standard in fine sparkling wine in the US.

If you're a Champagne region loyalist, some good true French Champagne producers that will not run up the cost like Dom Perignon (149!) or Cristal ($200+) include Gosset ($36.99), Piper Heidsieck ($39.99) and Nicolas Feuillatte ($35).

Keep it local, keep it delicious. Wonderful values and sparkling wines come from California. Roederer Estate (from the Champagne house of the same name) makes delicious bubbles from Anderson Valley ($19). Iron Horse is quality sparkling wine from Green Valley ($33) and Gloria Ferrer in Carneros makes a great blanc de noir ($20) at an even better price point.

About Gwendolyn Osborn:

Gwendolyn holds an advanced certificate from the London-based Wine & Spirit Education Trust and will soon achieve the Diploma certification from the same organization.

Previously, she was the education coordinator for the Wine Spectator School, an online wine education program that teaches and promotes wine appreciation. She also worked extensively in the New York and San Francisco area with Uncorked Events, teaching seminars in wine and helping to organize larger tastings.

More recently, she opened and managed's Retail Outlet in Berkeley, CA. Her educational pursuits in wine have led her to travel extensively in wine regions, including France, Italy, Oregon, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Australia and of course, California, meeting with top winemakers around the globe.