Sparkling wine has always been one of Diana’s favorite beverages, but it can be pricey. Thanks to our sommelier friend, we learned about a great, reasonably priced alternative to French Champagne. We invite you to try our tasting suggestions below, which can be a great way to share a new experience with friends and family over the holidays. Besides, champagne goes with everything, it’s a fact.
Hosts No More
Being homeless, all of our seasonal celebrations this year involve meeting friends at a bar or restaurant or at their house. Moreover, we are not generally in a position to prepare any food to bring with us. We don’t want to arrive empty-handed, so some kind of sparkling wine is a good choice. For Thanksgiving this year, our host asked us to bring some champagne, specifically Veuve Clicquot, a highly regarded, pricey and mass-produced champagne. I was happy to oblige. Having been introduced to Cremant de Bourgogne as a bargain alternative to champagne a few years ago, I decided to bring a bottle to facilitate a little taste test.
The format was straightforward. Three of us would taste a glass of each bubbly and try to pick out the Veuve. None of us had sampled any Veuve for 6 months, so we couldn’t cheat by familiarity. It turned out to be a difficult task. We each *labored* for over 5 minutes trying to discern which was the more expensive libation. There were clear differences, but nothing that indicated obviously which was the Veuve. In the end, two of the three guessed correctly, but we also came away with the opinion that the alternative, Cremant, was no less enjoyable, just different. For me, I found the Veuve was a little thicker, the Cremant was a little crisper.
Wine of any stripe is very individual, but when the Veuve rang in it at $45 and the Cremant at $10, we all felt the Veuve wasn’t worth the price difference. I made this purchase at Trader Joes, but you can find Cremant de Bourgogne at wine retailers like BevMo and Total Wine, among others.
Be sure to look for Cremant de Bourgogne. This is from the Burgundy region of France, just below the Champagne region. The soil (terroir) and weather are very similar, hence the similar product quality. The difference in the name drives the price of Cremant down and you benefit. Note that you might find Cremants from other regions like Loire or Limoux. These areas are further from Champagne and will not be as similar, but you may like them just as well.
Who do you want to try some Cremant with?