Champagne is one of the few wines that can be enjoyed any time of day or night. The only problem with top Champagne brands is that they’re expensive. Fortunately, you can find a few great sparkling wines with similar profiles to the high-end Champagnes that are much more wallet-friendly.
Here are the 7 top Champagne brands and some great alternatives for those who like to go off the beaten path.
How much should I expect to spend on Champagne?
Champagne is a protected name for sparkling wine from the Champagne region in France. Because of demand, expect to pay a minimum of $35 for Champagne, whereas sparkling wine from somewhere else is often much less.
Dom Perignon Champagne $150
Dom Perignon is a prestige cuvee owned by Moët & Chandon. DP is aged at least 7 years before release to ensure maximum deliciousness.
Roederer Estate Brut $20
Roederer Estate Brut is a sub $20 sparkling wine from California. It is the faux fur of Dom Perignon; Remarkably similar look, purpose and feel… from across the room.
Veuve Clicquot Champagne $40
Veuve Clicquot’s yellow label is perhaps the most well marketed Champagne on the face of the planet.
J. Laurens Brut Cremant de Limoux $14
A great Cremant de Limoux or Cremant de Bourgogne will be equal to or even beat ‘Yellow Label’ for less that $20. We love Lucien Albrecht, J. Laurens and Martinolles.
Ace of Spades Champagne $299
It’s easy to disregard Jay-Z’s hyped Champagne brand, but Armand de Brignac is actually quite well made. It has creamy bubble finesse and almond-orange notes.
Ruinart Blanc de Blancs $59
Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. Ruinart is a prestige Champagne, but at $60 a bottle, it’s less than half the price.
Bollinger Champagne $60
Bollinger is produced with a blend made primarily of Pinot Noir. Fruity and smoky flavors are more common in wines made with black grapes.
2008 Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs $33
Schramsberg finds their Pinot Noir in Alexander Valley and Carneros, CA. A slightly fruitier version but with the same crisp undertone.
Cristal Champagne $199
Cristal has a golden hue and honeyed nuances that carry on in a lingering finish. Cristal is a prestige vintage Champagne by family-owned Louis Roederer.
Berlucchi ’61 Brut $20
Franciacorta is Italy’s answer to Champagne. While slightly less golden than Cristal and more simple on the palate, the style is just as rich.
Perrier Jouet Champagne $38
Perrier Jouet is offered at a value price for most Champagne at just under $40 a bottle. Perrier Jouet tastes of pear and a touch of creaminess. It’s slightly sweeter than Veuve Clicquot.
Adami Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Brut Bosco di Gica $20
Prosecco has come a long way from being a headache-giving sweet wine. This Valdobbiadene Prosecco hints at sweetness while maintaining a clean dry flavor.
Krug Champagne $140 – $220
The process of making both Krug and Salon is a serious time investment. Aging Champagne imparts more tertiary aromas of croissants and frangipane.
A truly great creamy Trento D.O.C. from Italy made in the same arduous style as Krug and Bollinger Grand Annee.