Not all cheap sparkling wine needs orange juice for a crutch. In fact, you should be able to find and enjoy something with some life to it for less than twenty clams.
Sparkling has long been one of the preferred day imbibers and for good reason — it tends to be satisfying and not overly alcoholic, with most offerings coming in around 11% alcohol by volume. Next time you’re feeling festive, hosting brunch, or just want to saber something, try one of these high-value crowd pleasers.
But before you do, a quick note: These are sparkling wines, as Champagne is specific (and pricier) style of sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France.
Varnum Vintners Muller Genuine Craft 355 mL – $10
Hats off to the folks at Varnum Vintners for this brilliant piece of catchy marketing. Turns out, the wine ain’t bad either. The Oregon label uses Willamette Valley Müller-Thurgau grapes, essentially a Swiss offshoot of Riesling. It’s a balanced number that’ll have you thinking fondly about summer.
Lunetta Prosecco – $12
Prosecco is pretty reliable when it comes to sparkling wine and Lunetta is a great example. Perhaps the best bargain of the bunch, this wine is unsurprisingly great in a mimosa but just as good on its own on the deck or with an oyster shooter. Made in Northern Italy and available in most grocers, it’s an agreeable go-to and fantastic with sushi.
Loosen Brothers Sparkling Riesling – $14
Riesling, it turns out, is built for bubbles. This sparkling wine is as clean as they come, made from the reputable Loosen Brothers of the Mosel region of Germany. Dubbed “sekt” in its native Germany, this style features night texture, pure fruit flavors, and a nice acidity for balance. Drink exotically, not necessarily expansively.
Gruet Brut – $15
This workhorse from Gruet Winery in New Mexico is far from extraordinary but perfectly solid. It’s a classic mix of mostly Chardonnay and some Pinot Noir. With plenty of green apple flavors and even a bit of minerality, this brut over-delivers at its modest price point. There’s even a touch of yeast, as is typical with wine made in the traditional Méthode Champenoise style.
A to Z Bubbles – $18
This Oregon sparkler from A to Z Wineworks is juicy and spring-like, reminiscent of a blooming patch of strawberries. Made primarily from Pinot Noir, this one drinks like it looks, with pronounced cherry, berry, and peach flavors. Enjoy it solo or treat it to a touch of Campari for a bittersweet kick.
Split Rail Daft Pink Brut Rosé – $18
This wine is much more than a clever name (though we are fans of the name as well). Assembled by rising Boise, Idaho label Split Rail, this effervescent pink wine shows zesty strawberry notes. It’s a refreshing product of Washington-grown Sangiovese grapes.
Scarpetta Prosecco – $18
Another standout in a crowded Prosecco field, Scarpetta’s is quite tasty. Made from Italy’s newest DOC region for the style, Grave del Friuli, this wine blends Chardonnay with Glera grapes for notes of melon and spring flowers. I can’t argue with the producer’s spec sheet, which recommends a bag of chips for pairing with this flexible wine. Increasingly, you can even find it in a can format.