These are the best bottles of Champagne to bring to your holiday parties

The holidays are a time to toast to friends, family, and good fortune in the new year. But first you’ll need a great bottle of Champagne — and when it comes to the bubbly, there’s a balance to be struck between quality and price.

We talked to Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator‘s senior editor and tasting director, to get her recommendations for bottles that will impress your peers without breaking the bank. Wine Spectator does blind taste tests of more than 18,000 wines a year, and Napjus personally reviewed about 2,500 wines in 2016, including 500 sparkling wines.

She also gave us some tips on what to look for when selecting a bottle. 

“The really big divide in sparkling wine, in terms of price, would be between vintage versions and non-vintage,” she said. “Vintage is more expensive, and it’s supposed to be symbolic of that year. Non-vintage is better for price, and it’s the majority of what you’ll see in the supermarket.” 

Non-vintage wines are typically blends of several different vintages that a producer makes as a signature sparkling wine each year. Non-vintage bottles are not usually labelled as such — you can recognise one by the absence of the word “vintage” on its label. 

Other terms that might signify a higher price point: “blanc de blancs,” “blanc de noirs,” and “rosé.”

“Those are more expensive as well because they’re using a specific type of grape, and they’re often a small production, so there’s a supply and demand situation,” Napjus said. “Production process also affects the price of the wine.” 

Here are Napjus’ best-value sparkling wine picks, arranged in ascending order according to Wine Spectator’s ratings. While some of the more highly rated sparkling wines are Champagnes (meaning that they come from the Champagne region of France), others are Proseccos from Italy, Cavas from Spain, or sparkling wines from California. 

Each of these wines can be had for $55 or less.

Freixenet Cordon Negro Extra Dry Cava ($12)

Saying hello to the holiday season.

A photo posted by Freixenet Cava (@freixenetusa) on

Wine Spectator score: 86/100

Region: Cava, Spain

According to Wine Spectator’s tasting notes, this Cava boasts flavours of “smoke, plum, tangerine and spice.”

Ca’ Furlan Cuvée Beatrice Prosecco Extra Dry ($10) 

Wine Spectator score: 87/100

Region: Prosecco, Italy

Wine Spectator describes this Italian Prosecco as “balanced and lightly juicy.” 

2012 El Cep Marques de Gelida Gran Reserva Brut Cava ($14)

Wine Spectator score: 87/100

Region: Cava, Spain

Prominent flavours in this sparkling wine include apple, almond, and lemon curd.

Nino Franco Brut Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Rustico ($18)

Wine Spectator score: 88/100

Region: Prosecco, Italy

Nino Franco Brut Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Franco Brut Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Rustico ($18)

This Italian Prosecco has hints of white peach, Thai basil, sliced almond, and lemon pith. 

2011 Juvé y Camps Brut Nature Cava Gran Reserva de la Familia ($16) 

Wine Spectator score: 89/100

Region: Cava, Spain

According to Wine Specator, this Spanish Cava is “a firm, focused version, with a smoky streak of mineral underscoring the flavours of fresh-cut pear, mandarin orange peel, vanilla biscuit, and pickled ginger.”

Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blancs Carneros ($22)

Gloria ferrer blanc de Ferrer Blanc de Blancs Carneros ($22)

Wine Spectator score: 90/100

Region: California

If you’d rather go for a California sparkler, this wine has both crisp and creamy flavours.

Ferrari Brut Trento ($26)

Ferrari trento
Ferrari Brut Trento ($26)

Wine Spectator score: 90/100

Region: Trentino, Italy

Wine Spectator dubs this sparkling wine “very drinkable,” with notes of “Asian pear, ground ginger, hazelnut and lemon zest.” 

Ployez-Jacquemart Brut Champagne Extra Quality ($43)

Wine Spectator score: 91/100

Region: Champagne, France

It’s a bit pricier than the sparkling wines that come before it on this list, but this Ployez-Jacquemart Champagne is said to have notes of apricot, orchard blossom, and pastry dough.

Lanson Brut Champagne Black Label ($45)

LansonBrut Champagne Black Brut Champagne Black Label ($45)

Wine Spectator score: 91/100

Region: Champagne, France

Also hailing from the Champagne region of France, this sparkling wine is minerally and smoky.

Pol Roger Brut Champagne Réserve

Pol Roger
Pol Roger Brut Champagne Réserve ($50)

Pol Roger Brut Champagne Réserve ($50)

Wine Spectator score: 92/100

Region: Champagne, France

This Champagne has flavours of poached pear and toast.

2008 Moutard Père & Fils Brut Champagne Cuvée des 6 Cépages ($55)

Wine Spectator score: 92/100

Region: Champagne, France

According to Wine Spectator, this Champagne is best enjoyed with a meal. They describe it as “balanced and juicy, featuring smoke and spice notes on the plush finish.”

Bérêche & Fils Brut Champagne Réserve ($46) 

Wine Spectator score: 92/100

Region: Champagne, France

This Champagne is acidic, with notes of blackberry, toast, licorice, and mandarin orange peel.

Alfred Gratien Brut Champagne ($50) 

Wine Spectator score: 93/100

Region: Champagne, France

This Champagne is described as “rich,” with a “firm acidity and an airy mousse.” 

2009 Domaine Chandon Brut Yountville Vintage ($45)

Wine Spectator score: 93/100

Region: California

Wine Spectator calls this sparkling wine “polished and graceful,” with “floral aromas of Asian pear, fresh ginger and brioche.”

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