By Chris Morris
December 27, 2017

Bubbly is a critical part of most New Year’s Eve celebrations. Celebrating the departure of one year (even if you’re glad to see it go) and welcoming a (hopefully) better one calls for something more than a beer or glass of wine. But champagne and sparkling wines aren’t something everyone buys regularly throughout the year. And the options can be overwhelming.

As with a good red or white, price shouldn’t be your sole consideration when picking a champagne. Go too cheap and you’ll regret it – not only due to taste, but due to the next morning’s headache. But a high price tag hardly guarantees quality.

We’ve assembled a few can’t-miss options for people of all budgets. Whether you’re looking to save money after a busy holiday season, celebrating a once in a lifetime event, or simply starting 2018 off with a mimosa, you can’t go wrong with these.

Affordable bubbly

Sterling Vineyards Blanc de Blancs 2016 ($28) – Sterling is a go-to winemaker for many varietals, but they’re lesser known for their sparkling wines. The Blanc de Blancs is a refreshing bubbly made from 100% Napa Chardonnay grapes. It’s fruit-forward and coats the mouth with a good mix of sweetness and acidity.

McBride Sisters Brut Rosé ($20) – Rosé was the wine of the year for 2017, seeing its popularity explode. And it makes for a great sparkling beverage as well. This particular one hails from New Zealand. You’ll pick up strawberry, cherry and other fruits along with floral notes. It’s a good way to make the midnight toast stand apart from other years.

Windsor Vineyards Brut ($27) – Citrus and green apple burst onto the tongue with this California sparkling wine (made using the Methode Champagneoise). A Chardonnay/Pinot Noir blend, it evolves into a sweet/tart combination, much like a raspberry, before finishing with hints of lemon.

Domaines Paul Mas Côté Mas Blanc de Blancs NV ($16) – Hailing from France (but not from the Champagne region), this Blanc de Blancs is especially effervescent. It’s loaded with floral notes and a nice lemon-like finish.

High-end champagnes

Finca La Fideuera Gran Reserva 2007 Brut ($125) – Cava prices usually don’t run this high, but Finca La Fideuera’s 2007 Brut was one of just 12 wines to earn the Cava de Paraje Calificado seal, signifying that it’s one of the best in the world. It’s a limited run, but if get your hands on some, the 2007 Brut is worth your time. The nose brings pepper and bay leaf to mind, but the taste is a mix of pear, fennel and other Mediterranean flavors. It’s amazing now and will only continue to improve if you opt to cellar it instead of opening it this year.

Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires 1995 ($250) – A true champagne (from the world-famous region in France), this is a rare find. (The winery has only released the Blanc des Millenaires three times, bypassing other years as it felt the Chardonnay grapes weren’t good enough.) There’s citrus and creaminess, yes, but there’s also the slightest hint of almond and caramel. And there’s a nice earthy tone to the champagne. But it all finishes clean – and is hands down the most delicately carbonated of all the bubbly we tried.

Prosecco choices for New Year’s Day mimosas

Tommasi Filodora Prosecco ($18) – If you’re making a New Year’s Day mimosa, there’s no reason to break the bank on a high-end sparkling wine. Tommasi’s is crisp and fruity, lacking the cloying sweetness that accompanies some proseccos.

Prosecco Superiore DOCG Bellenda Sei Uno Brut 2014 ($15) – You’ll get strong apple notes in this sparkling wine, which pairs well with the OJ, as do the slight hints of rosemary and mint. It’s a sparkling wine that’s perfectly suited for the night before, but can work equally well the next morning.

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