Baller Budget Bubbles

So at the end of the year, everyone is looking for a nice bottle of Champagne. I love it because it’s a truly under appreciated wine. Sparkling wine in general. A lot of people think of it as only a celebratory wine because it’s “expensive.” Naahhhh. There are some incredible sparkling wines that are totally wallet friendly. First of all, let’s talk about sparkling wine itself.

Most people us Champagne is used as an all encompassing word for sparkling wine. They could mean Champagne, but chances are they are looking for Prosecco or something to make Mimosa’s with at brunch. Here are the basics:

Champagne only comes from the Champagne region of France. That’s right, it’s a region and not a grape. True Champagne is usually above $40 a bottle depending on the producer. Any other sparkling that comes from France is usually referred to as Cremant. Prosecco is Italy’s version of sparkling wine. It’s extremely popular in restaurants around town(Shreveport-Bossier) and usually ranges from $9-25. There are some exceptional higher end Proseccos around. Cava is Spain’s sparkler and also is usually very affordable. Much like the others, it’s crisp and dry. North America doesn’t actually have a name for it besides Sparkling Wine. There are some pretty great ones out there and they range all over in price


These are a few of my favorite “Baller Budget Bubbles:”

Monmousseau Brut Etoile, Loire Valley, France $12

This little gem has been one of my favorites for years. It’s remained pretty consistent in price and always consistent in flavor. It’s made with one of Loire’s best varietals, Chenin Blanc, and it’s produced with the same method that Champagne is. It has stone fruit flavors(green apple/pear), plenty of minerality, and it’s sweet. Just a bit fruity from the Chenin Blanc.

Serenello Prosecco Extra Dry, Italy $16

This is the Prosecco that we pour by the glass at Wine Country Bistro. It’s not super dry but has beautiful aromatics of white flowers and stone fruit. High acidity and a clean finish make it great for everyday.

Montmartre Brut, Tournan, France $9

This guy right here. Inexpensive and over delivers. That’s a deadly combo. This is what’s called “Blanc de blancs” which means only white grapes, like Chardonnay, were used to make this wine. Montmartre is bone dry and has a fresh, slightly fruity feel. This is super easy to drink solo or great for sparkling wine cocktails like Mimosas or French 75s.

Sparkling wine doesn’t just have to be for special occasions. If you look, there are some great quality ones available in our market that won’t give you a headache after one glass or cause you to have to break out the credit card. Bubbles are meant to be consumed everyday. I don’t think anyone’s day would be worse if there was a glass of bubbles waiting for them when they are done.

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Don’t Celebrate, Just Drink Champagne

A lot of people think that Champagne is only a celebratory beverage. Personally, I think a small victory Tuesday morning, is worth celebrating with bubbles on Tuesday evening. That being said, I’m going to say something you need to hear: It’s okay to drink sparkling wine anytime you want!

So let’s shed some light on sparkling wine.

First of all, I’m sure you’ve seen the word “Brut” on a bottle of bubbles. Basically, that can let you know how dry the wine inside is. From driest to sweetest it goes like this: Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry, Sec, Demi-Sec, and Doux. So if you like it really dry and crisp, go with Brut. If you like it kinda dry with just a little bit of sweetness, grab a bottle of Extra Dry. Side bar: I always thought it was weird that Brut was drier than Extra Dry. Maybe next time they make laws, they’ll ask me what I think. They won’t.

Not all sparkling wine is Champagne. It can only legally be called Champagne if it is from Champagne, France. That’s right kids, Champagne is actually a place in France right next door to Paris. “Well, what do they call sparkling wine that comes from France thats not made in Champagne?” Glad you asked. They call that sparkling wine Cremant and it usually comes from the Loire Valley or Burgundy and is pretty damn good.

The rest of the wine world has their own names for the sparkling wines they produce.Some of the more popular ones outside of France are Italy’s Prosecco or Spain’s Cava. Both have more attractive price points than Champagne. Usually $9-16.

torre-oria-cava-brutI’m personally a fan of Torre Oria Cava Brut ($8.99). Delicious in flavor and price. Torre Oria is crisp and easy. It’s dry but not bone dry. If you’re into fresh bubble guzzling without dropping a lot of money, this is your winner. It’s also a perfect ingredient for Champagne cocktails like a Man-mosa. A Man-mosa is a cocktail my friend Kevin showed me whilst day drinking in Austin, TX a couple years back. I may or may not have tweaked the recipe. Day drinking and cocktail experimentation can make details a bit fuzzy. For a tasty treat, add a shot of your favorite gin or vodka to your Mimosa and there you have it. I prefer gin, it adds a nice botanical freshness to breakfast.

I should let you know, I’m not hating on Champagne. Some of my favorite wines I’ve ever tasted are full-blooded Champagne. Like Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose ($100). Seriously, Dionysus kissed the vines in that beautiful soil of northeastern France and made one of the finest sparkling wines in the world. Light and elegant with subtle, seductive raspberry flavors.Billecart-Salmon-Brut-Rose

 

There are other countries producing some great bubbles. These days, South Africa is killing it. Look for Graham Beck Brut or the Rose. They make it the same way they do in Champagne. And of course Cali does a bang up job with stuff like Domaine Carneros Brut.

Since I can’t afford to drink Billecart Rose on a regular basis, I’ve had to find some lower tier juice thats delightful and affordable. I hope this sparks an interest in bubbles for you.

If you need suggestions on wine for the holidays, have any other wine questions or need day drinking tips, email me at beardandbarrel@gmail.com.