Champagne is a wine I can never get enough of (don’t worry, I’ve got myself pretty well under control) but it’s no surprise to anyone that it can be a bit pricey. I’m certainly not a cheapskate when it comes to wine, but once in a while you want to have a toast with an affordable bubble. For example to usher in the life of your new goldfish or to celebrate it’s Tuesday.
In a nutshell for those who didn’t know (no shame) Champagne is made from prestigious grapes, usually a mix of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. After creating the basic wine and the first alcoholic fermentation, a second fermentation takes place on the bottle. This creates the carbon dioxide, the beautiful bubbles in your glass. After this second fermentation, the Champagne continues to ripen for a few years! The method of making Champagne is called the Traditional Method. It is a process that takes a lot of time and effort, and that comes at a price.
If you are looking for nice sparkling wines that are more affordable, I have highlighted my three favourites below.
Sekt is the German version of sparkling wine. It is usually made from Riesling grapes and has a bit of a bad reputation. Nowadays there are amazingly good Sekt wines on the market, but unfortunately mainly the Germans know about this. They consume 80% of their Sekt themselves!
The better versions are similar to Champagne and can be recognized by the letters b.A on the bottle. This means that the wine is made in one of the 13 official wine regions. The method you have to look for is of course the Traditional Method, the same method that is used for making Champagne.
Cava is slightly better known than Sekt, but still has the same bad reputation. In my opinion there are Cava’s that taste as good as a good Champagne and that’s why I have chosen to include Cava in this list.
Cava is made using the Traditional method, just like Champagne, so a good Cava has had a second fermentation on the bottle. You can find this wine in the region west of Barcelona and it is made from the Spanish grapes Macabeo, Xarel-lo and parellada. You can buy a top Cava under 20 euro/dollar and that makes it very attractive!
My personal favorites are the Cava’s of Raventos i Blanc and those of Agustí Torelló.
Crémant is a sparkling wine from France, which, unlike Champagne, is produced throughout the country and not only in the Champagne region. The method is again the same method used to make Champagne, which gives it its refined taste. There are seven regions in France that make Crémant, the Crémant de Bourgogne, Crémant de Loire and Crémant d’Alsace are the most famous. What makes Crémant so delicious for me is that you can drink it day in and day out without having to dig deep into your pocket!