When it comes to champagne, the big name brands inexplicably command the most respect. But if you ask us places like Schramsberg and J in California make killer sparkling wines, using the méthode champagnoise, that rival the French stuff and will definitely impress for less. Sure, you could always just go for the cava or prosecco you find at Trader Joe’s. But if you want to go a step above, here are our picks for the best bubbly you can buy for under $40 from our very own wine country. (The prices below reflect what’s available today at BevMo, and three are under $20.)
J Sparkling Brut Cuvée 20 - $20
The best value you’ll find among California sparklers, and way better than Veuve Cliquot at less than half the price. Creamy and delicious.
Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Brut - $18
A solid bottle with hints of vanilla and berries; great and easy sipping.
Mumm Napa Cuvée M - $14
Easy drinking with some nice complexity on the finish. A good value for the price.
2005 Schramsberg Crémant Demi-Sec - $34
A strange and complex, off-dry bottle that’s great on its own but pairs best with cinnamon-spiced desserts or spicy food. For a splurge, we’d pick their J Schram over Dom any day.
Chandon Blanc de Noirs - $13
Another solid bottle, dry but with pleasant fruit on the finish and a slightly pink hue. If you can spend a little more, we’d also recommend the 2002 Etoile Rosé Cuvée for $35.