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Picks on Paper - Top Five Sparkling Wines Under $20 Wednesday, March 30, 2011 ~ 10:54 a.m.

I'm a big champagne girl. Really. I love it, and if I could find an excuse to drink it every day, I totally would. My love affair with champagne really began a couple of years ago at my last job, when I helped do the PR for Moet & Chandon. And yes, as I'm sure you can guess, I'm a big fan of Moet, but I also know that it can be pricey for a lot of people.


Let's be honest, it's difficult to find a good champagne that is affordable these days (meaning $20 or less for a standard 750 ml bottle). Moet & Chandon's Nectar Imperial Rose is my absolute favorite champagne of all time; but it averages about $65-$75 per bottle, and it's pretty difficult to come by. While researching champagnes for this piece, I was shocked to find that Food & Wine's list of the top ten most affordable champagne varieties were all $40 or more! While $40 isn't obscene by any means, I'm not sure I would categorize a $45 bottle of champagne as "affordable."


For those who are like me, and tend to stick with wines under $20 unless it's for a very special occasion, today's Picks on Paper is for you! If you're in the mood for some bubbly and don't want to spend the big bucks, opt for a sparkling wine instead. You'll have a much larger selection of affordable options to choose from, and let's face it, most of us can't really tell the difference between champagne and sparkling wine when put to the test!


Picks on Paper - Top Five Sparkling Wines Under $20


Picks for most affordable sparkling wines under $20 per bottle

5. Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs

This sparkling wine is relatively easy to come by, and averages at about $18 per bottle. It's different than your typical bottle of brut champagne, as it is made up of pinot noir grapes, which gives it a slightly richer, full bodied mouth-feel, much like a glass of red wine does (but with bubbles!). Click here to purchase online.


4. Piper Sonoma Brut Select Cuvee

This is an easy buy for most, and a great purchase if you're bringing a bottle for your host. It's a crisp sparkling wine with flavors of green apple and anise, with a clean, citrus finish that almost anyone will enjoy. Click here to purchase online.


3. Mumm Napa Brut Prestige

If you're partial to drier wines and champagnes, this one could be for you. Coming in at just under $20 for a bottle, this sparkling wine has a warm, almost spicy flavor to it, with layers of baked pear, citrus and vanilla. Click here to purchase online.


2. Chandon Sparkling Wine Brut Classic

My husband and I celebrated our marriage over a bottle of Chandon, and for that reason, this champagne will always have a special place in my heart. Not only is Chandon affordable, but ACCESSIBLE. You can find it in most major grocery stores including Kroger and Safeway, and you won't be forced to trek over to any specialty stores to locate it. Click here to purchase online.


1. South Coast Winery Spumante Diamante

You'll have to forgive me, but leaving this sparkling wine, a Sparkling Muscat Canelli, out of my top five would be just plain wrong. I couldn't even find a decent photo of it, but it's my absolute favorite wine of all time, and I literally go through withdrawals if I don't treat myself to a glass (or two) every once in a while. Spumante Diamante is from South Coast Winery in Temecula, California. It's pretty difficult to come by, but you can purchase it online and have it shipped to you (as long as your state allows it) if you can't make it out to the winery itself down in Southern California. It's a pretty sweet sparkling wine that's easy to drink and just plain DELISH. Try it with a little squeeze of lemon in your glass, and you'll have just about died and gone to sparkling wine heaven! Click here to purchase online.




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