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How To Choose The Best Champagne For Your Budget

howtochooseachampagne

The epitome of celebratory drinks, champagne reigns as the king but you don't have to pay a royal fee to find an enjoyable bottle of bubbly. There are quality champagnes and sparkling wines at every price range that will have you clinking your glasses in joy. We wanted to guide you through the factors to consider when choosing your bottle, so you can get the very best.


storingyourchampagnecollection

Storing Your Collection

Before you start heading out to the store to stock up on the best bubbly beverages, you need a place to store it all because let's be honest, the refrigerator is unacceptable. Even for your inexpensive options, you need to keep in mind that sparkling wines and champagnes are delicate.

They are, like wines, very temperature sensitive so, the best means of storing and bringing champagne to serving temperature is using a wine refrigerator. A wine refrigerator ensures that the ideal temperature is maintained and doesn't fluctuate. A standard home refrigerator has some cold spots throughout the unit and these colder temperatures can actually kill the bubbles in your bubbly!

These are the two most important factors to consider when choosing a wine refrigerator for champagne storage:

  • 1. Shelving - Champagne often comes in larger bottles so, make sure your wine refrigerator has adjustable or flexible shelving that will allow for storage of multiple bottles of champagne.

    We love the Allavino FlexCount Series Wine Refrigerators for this because they have shelves that cradle the bottles and allow for a variety of stacking and configuration options.

  • 2. Temperature Range - While we don't recommend chilling your champagne in a wine refrigerator, it is the ideal method to bring it to a temperature that is almost perfect for serving. You should be cooling down your champagnes slowly because a rapid chilling can destroy the bubbles, defeating the purpose of buying bubbly.

    We recommend a wine refrigerator that can reach a low temp of 41°- 45°F, from there, you can take your champagne out fo the wine cooler and chill it for drinking in a bucket of ice. This ensures your champagne will remain perfectly bubbly and taste perfectly chilled.

  • 3. Temperature Consistency - If you're purchasing wines or champagnes to collect or store long-term for that special occasion, we highly recommend looking for a wine refrigerator that has steady consistent temperature control. Fluctuations in temperature can destroy delicate vintage or prestige champagnes, ruining their complex flavor profile and their carbonation. We highly recommend the Allavino FlexCount II Wine Refrigerators with Tru-Vino Technology. These wine refrigerators maintain a truly consistent temperature with near-zero temperature fluctuations and maintain the ideal humidity for long-term preservation! You can learn more about Tru-Vino Technology here.


choosingchampagnebyprice

Choosing Champagne By Price Range

Whether you're hosting a huge party or celebrating a special anniversary, there's always a reason to pop open the bubbly. There's a champagne for every occasion and every price range, it's all a matter of finding the best tasting and most enjoyable one. We've broken down our tips for choosing a champagne by price range to make it a little bit easier.


cheapchampagnes

$0 - $10 - Cheap but Chipper

Whether you're entertaining for a large crowd or you're on a budget, these sparkling wines will suit your needs but admittedly, you're going to have a tough time finding quality at this price range.

What to look for:

  • Cava - This Spanish sparkling wine is always a great choice for the price.
  • Prosecco - This sparkling wine is produced using the "tank method", which means it is significantly less bubbly than champagne.
  • Domestic Sparkling
  • Choose a Brut or Extra Brut (except for Prosecco) to minimize the sugar intake and chance of getting a headache
  • Look for labels that contain Traditional Method, Metodo Classico, Méthode Champenoise or Méthode Classique because they are produced through a similar method to champagne.

What to avoid:

  • Avoid sweet sparkling wines

goodchampagne

$10 - $20 - The Happy Medium

This is the sweet spot for sparkling wines, where you can get delicious champagne for a reasonable price. This price range is ideal for gift-giving, toasting, and celebrating because there are so many crowd-pleasers within this category.

The champagnes in this price range often have a fruity and fresh profile, which pairs well with many treats. There is a wider variety of good quality styles and options to choose from in this price range.

What to look for:

  • Crémant - There are many variations of this sparkling wine, which is produced with a similar method to champagne. These are dry with a light body and high acidity.
  • Prosecco - This sweet and fruity sparkling wine is a great one to enjoy alone, it a good crowd-pleaser because of its dry brut style and crisp fruity notes.
  • Domestic Sparkling
  • Cap Classique - This premium South African sparkling wine is produced using the traditional method, like champagne, and has a dry fruity profile.
  • Cava Reserva - This a premium version of cava, known as young cava, which has a bright, citrus, and fruity flavor. These aged cavas also have more complexity and nutty notes to them. This will be one of the best bottles of bubbly you can get within this price range.
  • Sekt - This German sparkling wine is a very decent bubbly for the price and it a little sweeter than the other options within this price range. It has strong fruit, floral, and citrus notes.
  • Sweet and fruity varieties like Rosé, Cap Classique, Prosecco, or the term "Extra-Dry', which are great to drink alone.
  • Dry and lean varieties like Brut, Extra Brut, and Brut Nature styles or Cava, which are enjoyable paired with food.

sophisticatedchampagnes

$20 - $30 - Sophisticated Sips

These bottles of bubbly are as close as you can get to real champagne without paying the high price tag! The sparkling wines are a step up from the last tier and are perfect for more sophisticated events, events where you want to impress, or a great gift for someone you want to impress.

What to look for:

  • Domestic Sparklers
  • Reserva or Gran Reserva Cava - These very premium Spanish wines are aged and then barrel-aged, which is why they are excellent quality. These will have a fruity, bright, citrus flavor. These easy to drink dry sparklers that can pair with a range of foods.
  • Crémant - Made with the same process as champagne and in France, these are touted as excellent alternatives to champagne. They come in many varieties that span a range of flavor profiles to suit your preference.
  • Franciacorta - This Italian sparkling is fruity, dry, and highly acidic in its flavor profile. You can find good quality wines of this variety and it pairs extremely well with fried foods.
  • Blanc de Blanc - This is a great quality French sparkling that is made of entirely white grapes instead of a blend. You can find great quality for the price of this variety of bubbly that has a crisp, fruity, and clean taste.
  • Sekt - There are good versions of this fruity and floral German wine in this price range.
  • Research how long the wine has been aged "on the lees", which is a maturation phase during fermentation. The longer it has been aged on the lees the more developed and complex the flavor profile will be.

brandnamechampagnes

$30 - $50 - Premium Pairings

In this price range, you're getting the real deal brand-name champagnes. These name-brand labels are popular non-vintage champagnes for those who love the finer things and want to share that with someone special or celebrate something special.

If you avoid the Champagne region, you will find top quality, single vintage, aged sparkling wines. You can also find premium domestic sparkling at this price point that is top of the line.

What to look for:

  • Brand-Name Champagne label notes:
    • Veuve Clicquot - A strong green apple aroma with subtly sweet ripe fruit, melons, nuts, and orange blossom honey notes.
    • Moët & Chandon - Stong green and apple and citrus notes with a fresh minerality and white floral aroma. Deeper flavors of nuts, cereal, and brioche.
    • Taittinger - Fruity and floral in aroma with notes of fresh fruit, honey, peach, white flowers, and vanilla pod.
    • Piper-Heidsieck - Strong notes of fresh pear and apple with a hint of citrus. A crisp and clean flavor notes of grains and brioche.
    • Deutz - A soft floral aroma with strong notes of apple and brioche with underlying notes of apricot, lemon, and ginger.
  • Italian Methodo Classico - These artistically produced sparkling wines stand up to the champagnes at this price range. Look for Franciacorta or Trento on the label.
  • Grand Reserva Cava - You can find excellent cavas at this pricepoint with strong notes of toasty almond and fresh apples.
  • Champagnes from Côte des Bar - This is a newer region producing champagne, which means you can get exceptional bubbly for a good value.
vintagechampagnes

$50 - $100 - Splurge and Savor

These the opulent bottles of bubbly are a big splurge but they won't ever disappoint! These champagnes are the ones you save for truly special occasions, the ones you'll remember forever. Share these with people who have a strong knowledge of wine because they appreciate how special these are or make sure you let those you're sharing these with that they are partaking in a monumental moment.

You will also find non-vintage grower champagne that is excellent. These champagnes are made from the grape growers, who know and understand their product well. They craft these sparkling wines to embody the spirit of their grapes.

What to look for:

  • We recommend doing a lot of research before committing to purchasing a bottle.
  • Some regions to look for:
    • Montagne de Reims - Classic and rich blends with more complex and evolved tertiary aromas.
    • Côte des Blancs - This region is home to the top Grand Cru Chardonnay vineyards, delivering premium quality champagnes.
    • Vallée de la Marne - A region that delivers a unique and interesting funky mushroom-forward personality to their sparkling.
prestigechampagnebrands

$100 + Prestigious Picks

Hey, big spender! These pricey prestige bottles aren't for casual drinking. When you're checking out bottles within this price range, these are for some serious collector's or maybe a retirement party. These champagnes and sparkling wines are what royalty sip on and when you start to understand the process that goes into crafting a bottle of this caliber, you'll understand why.

Obsessively crafted by chef de cave, or a master winemaker, they're often referred to as "tête de cuvée" or "top of the batch." These champagnes are sometimes aged up to seven years before they're released onto the market, the long aging process is what brings the price up so high.

You will often find these top-shelf prestige champagnes to have a complex rich, fruity, creamy, and nutty flavor profile. With larger brands opting for a toasty, biscuity style. While smaller brands may opting for fruit-forward flavor profiles.

What to look for:

  • Brand-Name Champagne label notes:
  • If you're investing this much money into a special bottle, we highly recommend doing your research! Look up the tasting notes, reviews, and wine professional opinions on the region, vintage, and maker.