Inexpensive Sparklers

Getting into sparkling wine, but I don’t have the money for the really top of the line stuff

I had a 2012 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs about a week ago that really impressed me, for $24, and I’ve never yet had a sparkler that good.
Some sparklers that I’ve liked (though markedly less than that Schramsberg):
Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace Brut Rose
Dibon Cava
Castellroig Brut Cava
Gruet Blanc de Noirs NV
Roederer Estate - Brut NV
Nino Franco - Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Rustico NV
Scharffenberger - Sparkling NV

Some sparklers I found decent but a bit “meh”:
Jaume Cristallino
Charles de Fere Blanc de blancs Brut
Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut
Cave L’aurance Cremant Rosé

Some sparklers that I don’t like:
Korbel Brut (gave me a headache)
Cook’s (gave me a headache)

What should I be taking a look at? Thanks.

I am still trying to recall the Cava we sold back in 2005/6 when I was at the wine shop. Unfortunately, there are a million different ones!

It was like a Sumo wrestler ballerina!!!

The cava that I fell in love with were those from Raventos i Blanc in both the L’Hereu and the De Nit bottlings. While prices have crept up a bit you can still find them in and around $20/btl retail.

Some sparkling Vouvray is really nice.

If you liked the Roederer Estate I’d also take a look at their sparkling rose.

If you liked Roederer, Scharffenberger and particularly Schramsberg, it’s worth tasting through some of the other CA usual suspects like Domaine Carneros, Mumm and Chandon. I like the Carneros quite a bit but I usually go back to Roederer Estate Brut and Rosé. If you like the Schramsberg best of those above, I’m not sure if you’ll find much better in that price range or below. I need to try it again. I liked it quite a bit when we visited but haven’t had one recently.

Mionetto Prosecco is rock solid

Yes, definitely worth trying. Unlike many other sparklers, it’s not imitating Champagne, and you’ll get a much more appley element to it. Pinon’s version is the one we get (now in vintage rather than NV form - a local shop stocks it, so we buy what they can get). The NV used to give good complexity with 3-5+ years in the cellar. Price-wise it should be half the price of the Roederer, maybe even less.

Trento Brut worth a try if looking for another Champagne style wine, Ferrari the big name, with a broad range from ~ $25 up to ~ $100 (the latter has a decade sitting on the lees).

Your “good” list is pretty good. From CA I’d add the Piper Sonoma Blanc de Noir.

Murgo from Sicily is excellent for the money.

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Chidaine and Foreau sparkling Chenin Blanc. Delicious and less than $25.

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This is actually where my wife and I spend most our wine budget, by far. We buy a lot of champagne for the cellar, but our “everyday” wine tends to be Cava. We love it.

Some others that I would add to the list:

  • Juve y Camps Reserva de la Familia - for under $20 (price recently went up a bit) I still think it’s about as good as it gets.

  • Gramona La Cuvee - Again, for under $20, about as good as it gets.

I go back and forth between the above two as favorites at that price.

For even less…(yes, we drink $10/btl wine)

  • Frexinet
  • Cordineau

I would call both of those good, to ok. More like ok. But…way, way better than competing US wines at that price. And they are available most everywhere.

Anything more than $20, buy Champagne. It is markedly better starting at ~$30.

Weird timing. A half an hour ago I reached out to Rob Panzer at DTE Wines for more Chidaine and/or Foreau. He is out and suggested I try the Cava he sells - Pere Mata.

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If you can find Weingut Fitz-Ritter Sekt Trocken (sparkling riesling) I highly recommend it. Had it at an industry tasting today, on WS for $20 or less in most places. Amazing QPR.

Not sure if available in the US but:
JL denois brut tradition

The 2014 Argyle Brut is very good and sells for 18-20 at most places . I have also had their extended tirage high end bottling which is pretty impressive.

I would try some dry Lambruscos. Most are under $20 and can be had in red or rosé. There are Beserker members that know these well and hopefully they chime in with nice choices to try. Every summer I like to have Cleto Chiarli’s Vecchia Modena on hand for any occassion. My spouse discussed these in a couple of blog posts with links … http://enoviti-hanumangirl.blogspot.com/search?q=lambrusco .

I’ve greatly enjoyed the blanc from Patrick Piuze called Val de Mer. It’s grapes from just outside Chablis made into sparkling wine at his friend’s estate in Champagne. Really minerally, delicate and one year in the cellar does wonders.

Several suggestions

• Aria Estate Brut Cava

• Zardetto Z Brut Prosecco DOC

• +90 Cellars Prosecco – Lot 50, probably 51-52 now

• Champy Sparking Wine Brut

• Jose Dhondt – Blanc De Blancs Brut


Cheers!

Roederer Brut ($17 at Costco) is our house favorite and their Brut Rose is a great alternative.

Next is the Graham Beck Brut Rose from South Africa around $20.

The 2015 Argyle Brut is fantastic for $20. May unseat Roederer as my house sparkler.